Slam dunk: There's no lockout in NBA 2K12

In this video game image released by 2K

In this video game image released by 2K Sports, an animated likeness of Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki takes a shot against the Miami Heat in "NBA 2K12" (AP Photo/2K Sports) (Credit: AP Photo/)

This year's edition of the bestselling basketball franchise introduces the new Greatest mode, an enhanced My Player mode and strong commentary, fluid game play and improved animation.

The Greatest features the league's all-time top 15 players, including Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as well as 30 teams from some of the most famous rivalries. The presentation is flawless, capturing the essence of how television broadcasts looked in different eras. A Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers matchup from the mid-1960s, highlighting center Bill Russell, is presented in grainy black and white.

Once you win a game in the Greatest mode, both teams will be unlocked, allowing you to set up games between past and present stars. You can create a head-to-head matchup between Magic Johnson and LeBron James or pit the 1985 Boston Celtics against this year's champion, the Dallas Mavericks.

The most significant improvement in NBA 2K12 is the My Player mode, which lets you build a player from scratch. Rather than starting in Development League, your player is placed in a rookie showcase game. It also delivers improved artificial intelligence on defense and broader offensive skills, plus a precise play-calling system.

NBA 2K12

RATING E for Everyone

PLOT Lockout? What lockout?

DETAILS Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $60

BOTTOM LINE Best b-ball video game yet

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