STACK Plays NBA 2K12

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Pro hoops fans are deeper in the doldrums now that commissioner David Stern has canceled the first two weeks of the NBA season. But they can perk up by picking up a copy of  2K Sports' latest basketball simulation, NBA 2K12.

Leading up to the release, STACK covered different aspects of the game, including the announcement that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would be cover athletes; the addition of 15 NBA legends to the game; and our first impressions after playing the demo. Needless to say, we've been excited about playing NBA 2K12 for quite some time.

The addition of more legends gave 2K Sports some room to be creative with the game's intro. Dirk Nowitzki pops up, shooting a jumper over LeBron James to the tune of "Basketball," by Kurtis Blow. Dikembe Mutombo comes out of nowhere in his Nuggets jersey to throw the shot away and give his famous "No, No" finger wag. During the rest of the intro, legends keep popping up, tossing the ball to each other like the Harlem Globetrotters.

When you're done admiring the glitzy intro, you can quickly move into playing a game. In previous reviews, we've discussed 2K12's realistic TV-style presentations. The warm-ups, starting line-ups and player intros are eerily like a marquee match-up on national television. Even the sportscasters' dialogue is fluid, unlike the halting mix and match in other sports games, where the system has to pause to find the right words: "Tonight we have the… Boston Celtics… and the… Cleveland Cavaliers." Not in 2K12. Everything runs smoothly.

The shot stick allows you to create a shot from any angle. Combined with the left analogue stick, you can make your player hesitate, cross over, spin and slam it home—or put together any combination you can dream up. Choose from a plethora of options to attack the lane, put points on the board and win the game. Post play also gives you the freedom to fake out your opponent and make a slick move to the bucket.

Unfortunately, the game falls victim to the lockout, too. No draft picks are available on any team rosters. 2K Sports plans to issue roster updates once the labor dispute is resolved. Meantime, this is a great game to add to your collection.

If you're a baller, NBA 2K12 will help get you through the lockout and entertain you throughout the season. Pick up your copy today, and we'll see you on the hardwood!

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock