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NBA2K21 Review – Same Old, Brand New Game

 
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Overview
 

Published by: 2K Games, 2K Sports
 
Developed by: Visual Concepts
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
 
Genre(s): Sports
 
Mode(s): Single, Multiplayer
 
Game Type: ,
 
FG RATING
85%
85/ 100


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Raves


- A great basketball simulation game. Still plays close to the real game.

Rants


- Microtransactions. It's still pay-to-win in the game's competitive features. - More or less the same as NBA2K20.


Bottom Line

  NBA2K has been the only basketball simulation video game in recent years. It’s an annual sports simulation game that has outperformed the competition and continuously offered a good basketball simulation game year after year. I’ve been a long-time fan of the NBA2K series and I’ve eagerly anticipating the release every year. I play the game […]

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Posted September 19, 2020 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

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NBA2K has been the only basketball simulation video game in recent years. It’s an annual sports simulation game that has outperformed the competition and continuously offered a good basketball simulation game year after year.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the NBA2K series and I’ve eagerly anticipating the release every year. I play the game alone, casually with friends and at times participating in local tournaments, so it’s safe to say that I know my 2K. Haha.

NBA2K21 is probably the only game in the series that doesn’t veer away from it’s predecessor. As you load the game, you’ll notice the visual changes in the interface but as soon as the game starts you’ll notice that it’s pretty much the same game.

IT’S TIME TO RELEARN THE GAME

 

This year, NBA2K21 has changed the gameplay and introduced the new-shot stick aiming mechanic. Previously, you shoot through either the square button or the right stick. In NBA2k21, the game forces you to use the right analog stick as shooting with the square button entails a penalty or a lower shooter percentage.

In shot stick aiming, you tap the right stick button and direct it to either the right or left side where the shooting box/area is. Yes, this new shooting mechanic is difficult as it sounds. This new mechanic has received polarizing reactions from gamers. Some are saying that this is has been the best shooting mechanic in 2K while some have gone as far as claiming it is broken.

NB2k21-Jimmy-Buckets

It’s a good thing that the developers are listening to their fan base and has released a patch allowing players to turn off the shot stick aiming and return to NBA2k20’s shot assist.

NBA 2K21_Nikola-Jokic

 

Both casual and experienced gamers would have a bit of learning curve with this new show mechanic. NBA2K21 is no longer a simple couch game wherein you pickup the controller and go. To have a good gameplay experience, I highly suggest investing time in 2KU, the game’s tutorial section.

NBA 2K21_Jamal_Murray

 

The first few games in NBA2K21 wouldn’t be a good experience but as is with any game, it gradually improves over time.

KACHING! KACHING!

NB2k21 vc

No. That is not the sound of your shot going it. It is the sound of how much you’ll need to spend on this game. Every year, gamers have highly criticized the microtransactions in this game. While it’s true that the game’s VC (virtual currency) is grindable through playing any of the game modes but you only earn crumbs before you’ll be able to purchase anything in-game. From clothing to shoes, rides (yes! you read it right, you can purchase scooter, bikes and skateboards to stroll in the Neighborhood), and improving your skills, everything has a price, including the cards in My Team.

With the amount of money you need to spend on VC’s to improve your player in My Career, it would take you months or even may be up to a year in grinding (depending on how you play the game) to come up with a decent basketball player here.

NBA 2K21_Tatum

Microtransactions is a minor inconvenience in this game. 2K does not force you to purchase VCs to enjoy the game. There are still plenty of other options to enjoy the game such as Quick Play, Online or play your own season in My League. However, if you wish to participate in the game’s competitive features, microtransactions are inevitable.

A SHADOW CAST 

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NBA2K21’s single story campaign this year is titled as The Long Shadow. You play the role of Jr, a basketball player who was always plagued by comparison with his legendary father from his high school until college career. The story mode features actors Djimon Hounsou, who plays as your high school coach and Michael K. Williams, a family friend who later offers himself as your agent. However, it is sad to see how to these great actors were under utilized as the story had dwelled  to much on Jr’s love interest instead of building relationship with these characters.

If you aren’t compelled with the story, NBA2K21 let’s you skip this mode and move straight to the draft.

NBA 2K21_Doncic

FINAL SHOT

Sadly, NBA2K21 feels more of a DLC rather than the a brand new game. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s only the number has been changed this year. I’m not saying that it is a bad game but rather a better version of NBA2K20.

With the looming arrival of the Playstation 5, it is quite understandable that the developers might have focused their attention on the next generation version of the game. Though, I’ve read reports that different teams have worked on the PS4 and PS5 editions.

NBA 2K21_Anthony-Davis

Another factor we have to consider is the ongoing pandemic. This pandemic has impacted not only our daily lives but also affected industries such as games and entertainment. Usually, 2K games follow the NBA calendar that’s why some of the features in the game like NBA Today is not available until the start of the next season.

To be honest, I’m thankful that the game wasn’t delayed even if the NBA season had stopped. I believed that developers used the assets that they have because they would have more difficulty doing scans and motion captures during the lockdown.

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NBA2K21 despite the lack of new offerings is still a good and solid basketball game. With the lockdown still in place, NBA2K21 is still the next best thing to the real game.

[This review is based on a retail copy of  the game provided by the publisher]


Ryan Villanueva

 
Your resident all around Flipgeek, from comics,movies,games,toys,music and even sports. A big Spider-man fan raised in the ways of the Jedi,who listens to punk rock and a sucker for chick flicks.


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