'NBA 2K12' video game may stand in for the real NBA season

REVIEW - Looking at a potential season-ending lockout, basketball enthusiasts might find their fix from the comfort of their video game consoles...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

October is arguably the greatest month in sports.

As the weather cools down, baseball is within its postseason. Teams in the NFL have begun playing their division rivals. And the NBA … well this year may be a different story. Looking at a potential season-ending lockout, basketball enthusiasts might find their fix from the comfort of their video game consoles.

Related: Why the NBA lockout may be a big assist to international leagues

Enter NBA 2K12. Widely considered the best basketball simulation video game, 2K12 improves on last year’s entry (the perfect 2k11) in every possible way.

Visually it’s impressive. You can easily pick out your favorite perennial All-Star who’s running up and down the court or his teammate who’s holding down the left side of the bench. You will notice perfectly duplicated camera angles and in-game highlights that will make you take a double take as if its Thursday night basketball on TNT.

Last year’s game paid homage to “His Airness,” Michael Jordan, and you were able to relive the moments that made him the GOAT. This year, your dad’s favorite legends join the party. For example, Magic Johnson and the ‘80s Los Angeles Lakers are available to play, and you’re able to replay the classic games that defined the ‘Showtime’ era. Bill Russell’s dominant Celtics make an appearance complete with an in-game camera that is shot with a black and white filter for an authentic old school feel. The detail that was injected in NBA 2K12 is a love letter to basketball.

Nothing has changed drastically in the game-play from last year. That’s a good thing. The right analog stick will let you shoot the ball from a variety of angles, set up post moves, etc. I mention the detail again, because not one basketball move or motion is the same for each player. CP3s crossover is just as ankle breaking as it would be in real life. Dirk’s one-legged fade-away is not pretty to look at, but still unstoppable. The slightly cheap “rubber band AI” defense has been reduced, so you have more of a puncher’s chance to compete.

The time consuming “my player” mode that was the low point the past 2 years has been thankfully slimmed down. You won’t be wasting away playing 40 irrelevant games in the D-league until you get called up to the pros. The emphasis on progression with your created player is obvious with an improved point system after every game that you can easily distribute to each offensive and defensive category. “My player” mode doesn’t feel like a chore to go through.

Unfortunately, due to the lockout, we are left with a few outstanding issues. Each year, the incoming draft class is gauged before going to their drafted team. The lockout has canceled the NBA developmental league and pre-season. So, in the beginning there will be some balancing problems when it comes to initial player ratings. However, even with these minor gripes, the overall product is stellar.

At the end of the day this will be your substitute for hoops until the lockout is lifted…but don’t hold your breath.