When it comes to NBA 2K I have come to the decision to not expect big things. Over the past few years, they have really lent into the identity of being a pay to win type of game. HOWEVER!! NBA 2K21 has taken good steps in the right direction. I was pleasantly surprised, although the game still has gaping holes, with the biggest being Virtual Currency. It seems this year they have gone more for a quick fix than a complete overhaul.
NBA 2K21 – Mycareer
One of the main drawing cards for NBA 2K21 is the career storyline. Every year it is one of the main reasons people buy the game. Last year’s storyline, however, was overly forgettable. They seem to keep coming out with the same type of stories again and again. However, this year’s storyline took a refreshing new look with college basketball meaning more than usual. I won’t say too much about the storyline, even though it doesn’t mean too much. What was great about the storyline was some of the added features.
For example, rather than just showing you where you’re expected to go in the draft like ‘Mid first Round’. You actually get shown what number you’re expected to be picked. As well as the ability to choose who your manager will be with specific perks for both choices. The story also sheds more light on the drafting process. With the interviews and meetings, you have to go through that will impact how early you are picked. Lastly, and most importantly, they actually changed the neighbourhood. FINALLY. It was one of my biggest problems with last year’s game. They had the exact same game as the year before and the couple changes they did didn’t really come off. However, this new neighbourhood looks very nice and I look forward to exploring new places and enjoying the different scenery.
Believe me, it wasn’t an absolute masterpiece, and it still has problems, it was just more like a breath of fresh air. The good aspect though is that the problems didn’t make it unplayable. You still have the questionable graphics style in the cutscenes, although I am keen to see how they look on the new-gen consoles. You also have the learning curve of the new shooting bar. Not to mention that at times, especially in college, it just feels like the game wants you to lose with you missing wide-open shots that a 10-year-old could make.
However, that has more to do with the badge system than anything else. The badge system yet again has too much of a hold on how your player performs. However, I am enjoying Free Throw as an upgradeable skill rather than a badge. Lastly, it again works to frustrate you enough to go off and buy Virtual Currency in order to level your player up enough to be competitive. This is mine and everyone’s biggest problem with NBA 2K and I think it will be for a while. HOWEVER! With the new shooting bar, it puts a little more control into the player rather than just having it depend on what badges you have.
NBA 2K21 – PROBLEMS
Now although I have been relatively happy with the game, I just want to say that’s because I am comparing it to previous games. Particularly NBA 2k20. Plus that doesn’t mean there are massive problems with the game. If you played it on release you would have noticed the shooting bar made playing incredibly hard. You could play as Steph or Lillard and still miss wide-open shots because the shooting bar was unnecessarily difficult. This has since been amended and is more towards what they wanted.
Another interesting problem is that when you go to play a WNBA game I couldn’t help but notice that the Aces use Liz Cambage as the face of their team and yet…………. She isn’t on the team. That’s because she has opted out and is currently going to be playing in Australia. However, you would at least think they would use the face of a current player in the teams, but apparently not.
GAME STYLES / OTHER
Apart from the few changes in mycareer and in the shooting mechanics, NBA 2K21 has yet again failed to separate it from the previous game. Each year they bring out a new game that looks more like what a DLC would do rather than a new game. The only element that separates 2K21 from 2K20 is that the changes made in 2K21 have worked well and have benefited the game but they haven’t done a lot. My Team is still relatively similar with a few changes, as well as My League. Both just have aesthetic changes and that is about it.
Suffice it to say there isn’t a lot to say about NBA 2k21. Where games like UFC 4 try new things and change certain aspects, NBA 2k seems to just stick with their pay to win format. The best way to describe this game is this “It’s like having a painful knee, you can strap it up to improve it however the problem is still there and it’s not going away”. That is NBA 2k in a nutshell. This year they have put a bandage over it in order to make it more bearable, however, the problem is still there and will be there until they decide to change things up and unfortunately, I can’t see that happening anytime soon.
Review By Dillon Van Der Putten
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