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NBA 2K13 review: By Jay-Z, even better

Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin throws one down

Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin throws one down in NBA 2K13, which has a signature skills feature that adds a new wrinkle. Photo Credit: NBA 2K13

It's tough to improve a video game that has been so excellent for the past several years, but 2K Sports has found ways to make NBA 2K13 even better, with some help from the league's most famous owner.

Along with fluid game play, enhanced graphics and a smoother control scheme, this year's edition of the bestselling basketball franchise welcomes rapper and minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets Jay-Z as executive producer.

From the start, Jay-Z makes his presence known. The introduction is like the opening of one of his electrifying concerts, with his "Public Service Announcement" serving as the soundtrack to a medley of highlights, from Russell Westbrook's thunderous one-handed dunk to Josh Smith's soaring alley-oop slam. Jay-Z selected 24 songs for the game's soundtrack, and they feature some of music's top acts, including himself, Kanye West, Coldplay, U2, Nas and Roy Ayers.

But Mr. Beyoncé's star power isn't the only thing elevating this franchise's game. One of the new elements in NBA 2K13 is signature skills, which assigns star players a variety of traits that makes them special commodities. For example, LeBron James has five different traits, including Chasedown Artist, which allows the reigning NBA Finals MVP to chase opponents down to negate shots on fast breaks.

RATING E for Everyone

PLOT Ball time with a soundtrack from Jay-Z

DETAILS Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $60

BOTTOM LINE NBA 2K13 delivers again


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