Joakim Noah flies in from behind to swat a layup, and then bolts the other way for the fast break. Derrick Rose grabs the rock, dribbles between his legs, then rewards his big man for running the floor with a sick behind-the-back pass that leads to a two-handed Noah jam.
I’ve been controlling Noah for the past couple of plays, holding down turbo almost the entire time as the frenetic action pushes up and down the court, and while I’m playing “NBA 2K13” on the big screen in front of me, all I need to do is tilt the Wii U controller slightly up to see all the players on the small screen inside the controller change form from polygonal skin to biometric readouts. That’s right, using the Wii U controller, you can not only instantly tell who’s tired by the amount of liquid flowing through his body, you can tell who’s hot (players turn red), who’s on a cold streak (players turn blue), and who needs to take a seat on the bench thanks to the new Gatorade Biometrics Scan.
“When a player is fully rested, they are completely full of the liquid, and if a player is, say, 50 percent fatigued, he would be roughly half-full,” explains the game’s producer, Ben Bishop. “This is all a part of the main view that you can see while game play is active. If you tap on a player, everything freezes and you get a more detailed, close-up look. This includes things like shooting numbers, the player’s signature skills, and a pressure check. At this point you can also cycle through all of the players to see their detailed information.”
I tap on Noah’s image utilizing the touch screen, and while my big man is on a hot streak, he’s also pretty tired, so I decide to swap him out for Taj Gibson. With the Wii U, forget pausing the game to make substitutions, as all you have to do is look down at the controller, hold it flat, and three menus pop up: Substitutions, Quick Plays and Strategy. Simply use the touch screen to press who you want to ride the pine, and Gibson hops up off the bench and is ready to roll.
These are just a couple of the cool enhancements being made to the “NBA 2K13” experience thanks to the Wii U controller, and I have to say, I was impressed. Nintendo fans finally have a strong hoops game that looks and plays as fluidly as it does on the 360 and PS3, with a couple of added benefits thanks to the innovative touch-screen controller.
One huge benefit to the controller is when you play as your created character in My Career, where everything is focused on your individual player. So while everything on the TV screen in front of you looks the same as it does on other consoles, glance down at the touch screen and you’ll see everything from a shot chart displaying your shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor (hot spots shown in red, cold spots shown in blue), to all of your individual stats, your teammate grade, and even your dynamic goals.
“One of the biggest things to us was to make sure all of the big stuff from game play, the signature skills, and all the stuff in Career mode and being able to connect via Facebook and mobile, that’s all part of the Wii U, as well,” Bishop said. “The only thing you can’t do is purchase additional VC [virtual currency] online, as that’s something we just couldn’t set up with Nintendo in time. The Wii U version is also missing All-Star Weekend, but other than that, everything you see in the other versions of the game, you’re getting here, plus the additional content thanks to the controller.
“It’s great to see our game on an HD Wii console for the first time. Visually, it looks as good as the other platforms, and that’s because this game wasn’t outsourced. It was made here at Visual Concepts by the same team who made the other versions, and you can tell from the moment you first turn on the game to the time you take your first shot that this is everything about ‘NBA 2K13’ that you love to play.”
”NBA 2K13” hits the Wii U on Nov. 18 for $59.99.