MANILA, Philippines -- Just in time for the start of the new season of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the sports video game "NBA 2K13" hit stores in the Philippines and the rest of Asia on Friday, a few days after its launch in the United States.
Initially available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and Windows PC, the 2K Sports title was executive produced by rapper Jay-Z, who personally chose the 24-sound soundtrack and lent his artistic vision to the game's interactive menus and other features.
The cover features NBA superstars Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose.
|The sports video game "NBA 2K13" is now available in the Philippines.
"We received reports already that it is doing well in stores now," Heidi Anne Mendita-Garayblas, chief operating officer of X-Play Online Games Inc., which is distributing "NBA 2K13" in the Philippines, announced during the video game's launch on Friday at the National Sports Grill in Makati City.
X-Play Online Games, a subsidiary of IP e-Games, promised to have the title available in other platforms soon. "Moving forward all other platforms you can think about in gaming, we will be there and this brand will be there," general manager Ronald Aquino said.
This includes Nintendo's new Wii U, which will have its own set of exclusive features.
"NBA 2K13" can also be played as an application in iPads and other tablet computers as well as in smartphones running on iOS and Android. It will also be made available on Facebook.
"It's an application so it's not the same experience as playing it on a console," explained Allen Amparo, product manager for packaged goods at X-Play Online Games.
But even gaming purists may want to try out the app if only to collect virtual currency called "2K coins" -- one of the new features of the game.
"Every time you have an achievement, whether on your console, on your iPad, on your Android, you will be earning coins. And these coins you can spend on clothing, accessories, skills and others. So this is something really new on '2K13'. It's not just about playing the game," Amparo said.
Moreover, a player's activities and achievements in the game can be linked to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.
Early reviews for "NBA 2K13" have been excellent.
Gaming website IGN calls it "the pinnacle of basketball gaming on this generation of consoles."
"It’s both scary and exciting to think how good a game we might get if NBA 2K actually had a serious competitor pushing it to new heights. But even when left with a clear, unobstructed path to the basket, 2K13 throws down a monster jam with this year’s edition – probably the last one developed solely for this generation of consoles. It’s obviously the best hoops game out there, and it might even be the best sports game of all, period," IGN said.
The Gamers Hub, which gave it a score of 4.5 out of 5, said: "NBA 2K13 looks and flows like a basketball game should, and with the music that fits it perfectly, there isn’t much room for improvement from 2K Sports."
Amparo said he tried the game on Thursday night and didn't sleep until 4 a.m. "Sobrang excited ulit ako maglaro at humawak ng controller. That's how great this game is compared to the '2K12'," he said.
"Intro pa lang, 'pag bukas pa lang ng screen ninyo, may hip-hop theme na. So that's how different it is," Amparo added.
Meanwhile, another much-hyped feature of "NBA 2K13" is that the game will answer the question on who would win a head-to-head duel between the 1992 Dream Team and the 2012 US Men's National Team.
One of the key differences between "NBA 2K13" and its predecessors lies in the control stick, which makes player movements "life-like."
"For the first time, all dribble moves have been mapped to the right analog stick, as well as shooting, passing and post-moves. String together devastating crossovers and clutch shots for maximum control and effectiveness," according to the press statement.
"Using the control stick gives gamers a chance to break down individual defenders with dazzling precision, with every movement looking so life-like that it's likely to scare you a little bit," the website Bleacher Report said in its review.
"It's something that you have to experience firsthand to really understand. Players are just more loose; there is nothing remotely robotic about them," it added.
Those who have the Microsoft Kinect can even call out plays and strategies like a real coach using the game's voice recognition feature.
But be careful: profanities can get you a technical foul.
Make your own shoe
Those who are not die-hard basketball fans may still be drawn to the new game because of its "shoe creator" feature.
Using templates of established brands worn in the NBA such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Converse, players can design their own shoe, putting together the different parts and selecting colors and materials.
"You'll spend hours designing your own shoes," Amparo said, adding that those who have a Nike ID can even have their in-game shoes made by the shoe brand.