NBA is A-OK, X-Men is A-Z boredom

NBA fans, rejoice: This game is 100 percent labor-dispute free. I jest, but with little end in sight to the NBA lockout, this is the only chance hoops fans will get to play updated professional basketball in the near term.

Array

Array

NBA 2K12

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PSP

Genre: Sports; Publisher: 2K Sports

ESRB Rating: E, for Everyone

Grade: 4 stars (out of 5)

NBA fans, rejoice: This game is 100 percent labor-dispute free.

I jest, but with little end in sight to the NBA lockout, this is the only chance hoops fans will get to play updated professional basketball in the near term. Since little change can be made to the present-day NBA action (the lockout means no rookies are allowed, only alterations to cosmetic things like uniforms and arenas), NBA 2K12 wisely placed much of the emphasis on past legends of the game.

Last year’s effort was all about reliving Michael Jordan’s career games, and now that roster has expanded to include more than a dozen former stars such as Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Jerry West and Bill Russell. These classic games have all the fine details and trademarks of their respective eras, including short shorts, no three-point lines and even grainy black-and-white camera styles or the hues from the ‘70s and ‘80s televisions.

If the presentation alone doesn’t impress you, the gameplay will. Most of it is a carryover from last year’s already successful game, but a few animation tweaks make the movement and flow more realistic. The AI can still be smarter than it should be (opposing players sure know how to intercept a pass with their backs turned), but for the most part it’s solid.

The My Player and My Association modes have been made more engaging as well. So I’ll continue to ignore talk of collective bargaining, salary caps and profit sharing and instead focus on what this release delivers that real-life can’t: a good game of basketball.

X-Men: Destiny

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii

Genre: Role-playing

Publisher: Activision

ESRB Rating: T, for Teen

Grade: 1.5 stars

The biggest threat to mutant existence isn’t Apocalypse, Bastion or Dark Phoenix. No, it’s games like X-Men: Destiny that portend a grim future where no one cares about these characters because they are moronic and boring.

In Destiny you pick one of three unknown mutant characters and “choose” which side of the mutant war you wish to join — the fractured X-Men (Professor X is dead in this storyline) or Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. This begins a series of poorly meted-out decisions that have little-to-no impact on the gameplay and send you toward a place called Nowhere Fun.

Others have tried variations on games like this with better success (DC Universe Online), and it’s a shame to have a franchise like the X-Men represented so poorly.

Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or email him at game_on_games@mac.com.

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