First things first.
2K is back with its annual instalment for you leather pumpkin enthusiasts. There’s dimes, dunks and (d)freethrows to be had for anyone who’s picking up this yearly foray onto the hardwood.
I even heard you can play as Dwayne Dwade.
If you’re anything like me then these games are all about the MyCareer experience, where you create and play as your own basketball player. In 2K21 you begin your journey playing highschool ball, or you can skip straight to the NBA.
I launched straight into my fledging career as a chunked out nugget ready to slash, chuck threes and in no way contribute to defence. I was born to be a franchise player on a team with no chance of making the play offs.
As a further accelerant to my big-man little-pond machinations, I was given 100k VC to dump into my character as part of the Mamba Forever edition of NBA2K21. That’s enough scratch to shoot you from an overall 60 to 80 as soon as you lace up.
To be honest thought I wouldn’t be so trash with an Overall 80. Air Gumbo is an 84.
I was struggling to put up 10 points a game. Even when my minutes started picking up I still haven’t had a 20-point game. It was a very different feeling to 2K14 where you can hit 40 point games as easily as wiping your Dorito-stained hands on your pale thighs and sitting up on the couch.
It definitely seemed like I’d been too long gone from the game and I’d have to do something drastic to return to form.
We talkin’ about practice.
In between games, you have the option to attend team practices and run through drills with your teammates. It’s a great way to learn some of the less intuitive mechanics and a fast way to build up your stats across the four play styles: Shooting, Finishing, Playmaking and Defence/Rebounding.
My gameplay improved, I started running a few set moves that had a decent chance of netting points or an assist. But I still found it difficult to get my shots right. Had it been so long since I’d played Guitar Hero? Am I too old at 25 to make the little green light flash in a simple timing minigame?
Probably contributes. But here’s why I think it’s the game’s fault I’m a role-player on the Chicago Bulls in 2020.
The timing is fucken cooked on shots and I’m not the only sore loser that’s saying it. People love to talk down about these games, even I’ve done it, but have a quick Google of ‘NBA2K21 shot meter’ and hold onto your butt.
NBA Players, random punters on Reddit, amateur game reviewers. Everyone and their dog has been complaining about the new shot mechanics. On top of this, there are balancing issues that make certain stat and badge combos your only way to stay competitive when balling against other peoples. If you didn’t like how the 3 point shot has become the dominant scoring method in the NBA, you’re not gonna like the best way to win in NBA2K21.
2K has rolled out some hotfixes and updates to try to improve balancing and gameplay, so hopefully the games realises its’ full potential in a few months. I’m sure to lace up again when I get my mitts on a ps5.
It makes it hard to really get into a sports game when it feels like you can’t do anything to be an effective player. It makes me feel like when I was a kid trying to play basketball against my older brother and he would just block the shit out of me no matter what I tried. Hopefully, 2K21 has a growth spurt in year 8 and becomes the largest member of its family too.
I still had a lot of fun jumping back into NBA 2K and I’m sure to return to playing some earlier installments in the series. 2K21 just needs a little longer in the oven.
NBA 2K21 was reviewed on PS4 using digital code provided by 2K.