NBA 2K13's Facebook, mobile games offer boost for console experience

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Everyone knows about NBA 2K13 on the consoles. It’s the big bad basketball game on the block for a few years running. But how many know that there’s an iPad version? Better yet, do those hard-core fans know that it’s serviceable entry, delivering good-looking visuals that are a step or two below the high-defintion systems?

The mobile sim version is one of three offerings — collectively called NBA 2K Everywhere — that 2K Sports is using to expand the franchise outside of the living room. According to producer Rob Nelson, the idea is to give fans of the series more opportunities for meaningful play whether it’s on the bus or during a break at the office. The company wants to keep players connected to the game.

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NBA 2K13 on mobile devices does have its moments. Look at the detail in Lebron’s face. He looks a little young though.

THE SIM GAME ON MOBILE:The NBA 2K13 title for iOS and Android devices is the most obvious way to do that. Players can control teams with a virtual D-pad and buttons. But 2K Sports is also introducing one-touch controls for the more casual fans. All gamers have to do is tap on an offensive player to steal. Swipe up to block and rebound. Tap on a player to pass. They never control actual player movements; instead, the team moves on its own, controlled by the AI, which is also improved.

It’s a simplified control scheme that opens up the game to more people. One thing I especially liked is how you can call plays just by holding down on an icon in the bottom right corner. On offense, it brings up three options like a screen, iso or a drive to the basket. Pick one and the AI player with the ball executes the command. All gamers have to do is decide when to rise and fire.

Aside from these gameplay improvements, 2K Sports and 2K China added synchronous multiplayer. Now fans can connect via Bluetooth locally or GameCenter to compete against others around the globe. The other upgrade is in the Association mode and the addition of NBA’s Greatest Moments Mode. First off, Association is improved, letting players make trades and continue playing through an indefinite number of seasons. Second, the Greatest Moments Mode lets gamers replay epic games like Kobe’s 81 point explosion against the Raptors. The game will have a set number of these moments available with additional packs selling for 99 cents later on. The mobile game will satisfy some fans when it comes out this fall for $7.99.

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