NBA 2K12’s ‘Legends Showcase’ Hits Hard With Replay Value

Pistol Pete better be unbeatable. He better be out there throwing in wild hook shots from behind the backboard, and tossing in scoop shots from the three-point line. For all of the eccentric stuff the Pistol did in the NBA, he’ll always be remembered more appropriately for his college theatrics, and the trick shots he mastered so completely (Remember all of those old H-O-R-S-E TV programs). Upon playing the “Legends Showcase” for the first time, and jumping immediately into H-O-R-S-E, I thought Pete Maravich needed to come correct. If the 2K developers didn’t arm him with justice, there would’ve been Hell to pay. Thankfully, the Pistol was at his gun-slinging best.

It’s hard to ever truly get sick of NBA 2K12. With all of the trade speculation and “basketball reasons” being thrown around Chris Paul for the past week, it gave the Association an extra boost (Seriously, if you’re like me at all, this got you back into the game, starting up a new franchise with the Hornets and immediately seeing if you could find a better deal for CP). But just in case you have, they recently dropped the “Legends Showcase,” a downloadable add-on for the holidays revolving around the playground, Times Square, artsy graphics and even more NBA legends. And while we offered a sneak peak at this downloadable content a few weeks back, we’ve gotten a chance now to digest a little bit more of what the mode has to offer.

I’ve heard people complain about the cartoonish presentation – it feels very much like a comic book at times – there’s nothing that I found wrong or absent about the player models, the atmosphere or most importantly, the game. It feels and plays exactly like 2K12 and the details are all there, even if in a slightly altered way.

The atmosphere? Awesome. You can feel it right from the start. You’re in Times Square, and the music is bumping, the lights are strobing and the crowds are flooding the streets. The echo from the night’s MCs and the music puts you right in the moment, almost like you’re shelved up in your office next door with the window open, looking down at the court.

I jumped into the 2v2 Teammate Challenge and went to work with Charlotte: Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson. Besides the awkwardness of these two teammates – seriously, couldn’t you imagine Johnson and ‘Zo negotiating their rights to make sure they never ended up on the same team? “Listen guys, whatever you do, don’t put me on the same f—— team as that dude!” – the introduction was sick. The Bad Boys came walking out (Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer) and Laimbeer did this sort of hip-hop cover-esque arm crossing shot. Swagged out in short shorts.

I literally laughed out loud when the screen switched to ‘Zo and LJ, and Johnson jumped back and starting pointing to their opponents in one of the better WTF video game moments.

The first play resulted in a reverse Grandmama dunk, as smooth and authentic looking as you’d expect out of this game. The rest was the same; I was murdering Thomas in the post, hitting him with drop step spin moves, smooth enough to remind me of the first time I popped in 2K12.

The 2v2 Teammate Challenge is cool. It’s basically king of the court, and you have to take on challenger after challenger, such as Shaq/Penny and Reed/Frazier. Each win gets you closer to the end, and each progressive game gets more difficult. Another cool aspect of it is you can save your progress. On first glance, I assumed you’d have to do it all in one shot. But you can back out at any point and come back to it later.

The incentive for winning this is the ability to unlock all of the old school players for use in “Creating A Legend” mode, where you take control of one player’s career, as well as full roster control over all the classic teams.

The 3v3 Era Challenge is pretty similar, except you take on eras rather than teammates. The first game I jumped into, I got a Kobe vs. Jerry West matchup, the two best off guards in Laker history. If you can hold down the court, you’ll get to unlock the NBA’s current stars for use in pick-up games, H-O-R-S-E and 21.

You’ll also be able to start using classic teams online, which should please everyone.

21 was 21, one of those game modes where you can pit the best of the best against each other and see who comes out golden. But the real prize of this package was H-O-R-S-E. It reminded me a little of 2K’s dunk contest: complicated at first and somewhat frustrating, but extremely satisfying once you figured it out. I got destroyed in my first game because the process of making a shot is pretty difficult (It could’ve also been because I used Chris Webber). And when you’re shooting balls at the basket with dropkicks, it should be hard.

You can do basically any trick shot possible: sky hooks, behind the back, scoop shots with your back turned, backwards jumpers, shots on top of trucks… and you can do them from anywhere on the court/crowd. You can even determine the arc of the shot (and whether you want to call glass), which plays into the shot meter.

The meter, I thought, was nicely done. It’s like the typical pitching meter or Madden kick meter. You hold down the button until it reaches a certain point; The closer you get to that point, the more accurate you’ll be, and it always differs in size and placement depending on what type of shot you’re doing, where you are on the court and how much arc you want.

The best part of the thing though was that the designated hot spot didn’t show up until after you started the meter. The smallest little detail gave it some difficultly, and even after one full game, I was still having severe trouble.

Webber didn’t help me out much, and going up against two Hardaways (Penny & Tim) and the aforementioned Pistol, I had my knockout ticket stamped quickly. The rest of the game, played entirely by the AI, was all Maravich knocking down everything he threw up. Thank God for realism.

The “Legends Showcase” add-on might not be a requirement for some people, but the game modes should have great replay value (I’m thinking drinking games). If you’re into getting the most out of this experience as possible, grabbing the extra 45 legends in the download should be worth it.

*…hit page 3 for a photo gallery…*

All photos courtesy of 2K Sports.

What are your reviews for this mode?

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