I hope your all enjoying a safe and festive Labor Day weekend if your in the States. To the rest of the Nation around the world I hope your weekend is enjoyable as well.
To the untrained eye NBA 2K12 may not have that one single gameplay advancement that is overwhelmingly impressive. However, the strength of this years title, could lie in the combined effectiveness of the numerous smaller changes. This polish, and fine tuning, that is usually only accomplished with matured code; can add up to a great gameplay experience.
One of those changes that many may have overlooked is the removal of the force field that kept the offense from going out of bounds.
At first glance, this may not appear to be all that significant. I am of the opinion that it adds a critical and much needed dynamic to the series.
When most gamers speak about control in a digital hoop game. They are generally talking about dribbling the ball and the responsiveness that goes along with it. But there is another type of control that must find it's way into simulation gaming.
Self control !
Not being able to go out of bounds creates a fearless offensive player. It gives the offense an advantage when he should be at a disadvantage. If the user is aware that running out of bounds is not a possibility they can gamble without consequence; and apply pressure to the defense without retribution. This creates an imbalance that can lead to more fouls, clipping and the possibility of baseline exploits.
In these situations, the ball-handlers attempt aggressive drives where they would normally exercise caution. This can also negate the effectiveness of having the defender shade towards the middle of the floor; in an attempt to force his man baseline.
The unintended effect of this design decision creates a virtual no win scenario for the defender. The defense is in danger of having a foul called as well as getting beat; and with no help from the sideline, the best course of action is to retreat and try to protect the paint.
When the sideline witness protection is turned off. You have a completely different dynamic on baseline and sideline drives to the basket.
Now that an offensive player can step out of bounds he must re-evaluate his decision making process when considering a drive in the corner or near the sidelines. The defenders shade towads the middle of the floor can increase pressure on the offense and encourage him to drive baseline; despite the limited spacing available.
As the offense enters the hot box or the hot corner, traps and rotations start to look very inviting. The more aggressive the trap the better, because the offense can only retreat so far.
So, while it does not create much chatter in an insight, and can easily be overlooked. You can clearly see that the lack of an Obi-Wan forcefield can make all the difference between the lines.