Review: NBA 2K13 Wii U is the same great game with some ignorable GamePad features

The best basketball game on the market has brought its talents to South Beach the Wii U. NBA 2K13 Wii U is the same great basketball game available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Ports can sometimes have a few hiccups, though, as details get lost in translation and features get cut. Luckily, that's not the case with NBA 2K13 on the Wii U. The only difference is some GamePad features, but we'll touch on a bit of everything.

nba 2k13 wii u

First of all, the graphics look just as good, if not better, than its 360 and PS3 counterparts. From the presentation and all its glitziness to the on-court action, everything is visually impressive. There was no slow-down or choppiness in the action while banging it out at the boards or running the fast break —  unlike Madden NFL 13 Wii U. Everything ran smooth, and it was obvious why NBA 2K13 is the king of basketball. While having menus that feel blinged out as well might be a little annoying to navigate, Executive Producer Jay Z has his touch all over this game. The soundtrack is one of the best of any sports game. And as the NBA owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Jay Z knows how to make a flashy, enticing product — with or without a Russian billionaire and Dwight Howard.

All of the new mechanics of this year's game are present on the Wii U. The 1992 Dream Team can play against the 2012 squad to see who would win. MyCAREER Mode has been revamped and uses a virtual currency to unlock skills and animations, as well as featuring endorsements, swag and better AI. Signature Skills for some of the league's best players are present, as is the new collision physics created in real-time. But the best feature of all is the all-new Control Stick. All dribble moves are mapped to the right analog stick, as well as shooting, post moves and passing. You can still use face buttons for all of these actions, but the Control Stick makes seamless transitions from dribbling to insane shots. You have so much more control now. The great thing is, whether playing with the Wii U GamePad or the Pro Controller, the controls are just as precise.

nba 2k13 wii u

The differences with the Wii U version of NBA 2K13 come with the GamePad-specific features. Unfortunately, these features are a bit forgettable. First off, the best GamePad feature is the ability to play NBA 2K13 Wii U on the GamePad screen without needing the TV on. The graphics don't really lose much when playing on the smaller screen, and it's great if your significant other wants to watch something while you play, or you have a long toilet session ahead of you and don't want to interrupt your game. Another feature is the Gatorade Biometric Scan, which provides an up-to-the-second look at your player's mood and fatigue, as well as how hot they are at shooting. Simply tilt the Wii U GamePad towards you so the screen is parallel to your body. You can also tap the GamePad screen to make quick coaching options — well, quicker than using the d-pad — as well as substitutions. The problem with all of these is that outside of convenience, it's kind of annoying and distracting to have to look away from the action during the play to use these features. None of these features are that amazing that it makes it worth taking your eyes off of the TV. Also, these GamePad-specific features disappear when you play the game using the GamePad screen, which is to be expected.

nba 2k13 wii u gamepad

NBA 2K13 Wii U is everything great about 2K's basketball franchise. Nintendo console owners can finally have a basketball game that they are proud of. With sharp controls, excellent graphics and no cutting of new features, NBA 2K13 Wii U only has to improve on its GamePad features, which need to feel worthwhile. If you're going to get one sports game during the Wii U launch window, NBA 2K13 should be the one.

You can follow Movies and Culture Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at