Art & Life

Same game, different year: A constant cycle of NBA2K

CONTRIBUTED: The next-gen version of NBA2K arrived back in November along with the new gaming consoles. This franchise was held to high expectations, but fell short in fixing the issues that matter most to their community. Their developers tried to cover this up by providing impressive graphics and a dramatic story mode. However, it didn’t change the fact that it is a recycled game from previous years. 

Soundtrack & Visuals 

As usual, this year’s soundtrack was a hit. The music is a great mix of trap and pop rap – a great fit for their target audience. NBA2K21 also made major aesthetics changes to The Neighborhood, which was a welcome sight for MyPark players. Their new locations added a fresh environment for players to enjoy. This was one of the many visual aspects that changed. Another was the player characteristics and the classic sweat enhancements, which they highlighted in the initial trailer for the game. While these features were solid additions, 2K players can only appreciate these aspects for so long. That is until the problems within the gameplay become the biggest focus. 

MyCareer Mode 

Their story mode is highly anticipated each year. In NBA2K21, players start out in high school as an unknown recruit and work their way to the NBA. This mode typically lets you control the destiny of your MyPlayer, but aside from picking a college, it lacked in overall customization. Many choices were made for the player, in what was an overly dramatic and unrealistic story. After the culmination of the mini movie within the game, players are right back to playing the same MyCareer mode that they’ve experienced before. 2K tried to enhance the plot for created players but ended up nixing elements that provided a sense of realism. 

Competition & Gameplay 

This new version was supposed to bring better animations and strategy. Developers added a new form of shooting that left players complaining about the difficulty. Instead of effectively making tweaks to support the player base, they made some big patches. This completely flipped the shooting mechanic from being too difficult to master, to being far too easy to hit shots. It is very hard to play defense on good shooters, especially when it isn’t a 5-on-5 game. Additionally, they added higher possibilities of offensive fouls but failed to address the overpowered dunk animations. Players still defy gravity in-game. 

Their most played mode is MyTeam. This is where players may go for high-level competition. Unfortunately, it is very much pay-to-win. This means the more money that you spend to build your team, the better chances you have of winning against others. NBA2K21 is already $70, but many people still spend hundreds on in-game transactions. The question becomes: is it worth the money? New players can still have a fun experience, but it’s the same core game as the editions before it.  

2K has no competition in the basketball video game industry. So long as that remains to be true, they will continuously fall short in providing the best possible games for their community. For casual players, there is not enough new features and improvements to justify purchasing NBA2K21 when previous installments provide the same components. Avoid what feels like a yearly subscription to the same content. Save money and just stick to playing older versions with friends. 

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