This is a series I have been a fan of since the original on the Sega Dreamcast. We are in a period where 2K has pretty much perfected the series and as a result, there has been very little innovation over the last few years. Once again, this year’s game is a slight update over what we got with NBA 2K20.
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The Game Review
NBA 2K21 is pretty much more of the same. Did you like last year’s game, because if you did you will like this. The same rings true if you feel that the series has grown stale over the last 4 or 5 years. This is a game that is not trying to change things and is more than happy sticking with the norm
Perhaps when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X release, NBA 2K21 on those platforms may offer something extra, but I would not put money on it. Now, let us get to the positives about this year’s game. When it comes to the on the court action, 2K knows the game of basketball better than anyone!
This year they have made a couple of small tweaks, but the biggest change is the shooting. Now as well as timing your shot right, you have to use the new stick shot mechanic that makes you aim your shot too. It is a fantastic addition and adds another element of skill to the overall gameplay that I really enjoyed. It is a feature that sounds small, but it makes a big difference.
My Career is back with a new narrative and wow does this suck! You play as a young hotshot that is trying to make his way to the NBA, but he seems more interested in chasing his girlfriend around. They need to take a play out of EA’s book when it comes to having an engaging narrative in a sports game. Thankfully, you have the option to skip all the BS and just take your My Player straight to the NBA.
The mode that I always get addicted to is the My League mode where you take your team and try to make them a real dynasty. I have always loved picking the Chicago Bulls and trying to take them back to their glory days of the 90s. Not much has changed in this mode, but to be honest, I think it is fine the way it is.
2K have included the rosters of the WNBA which is a nice touch. The WNBA teams, players, and so on are all handled with a lot of respect. It is a nice touch and I am sure that this will be something the build upon in the coming years.
There is once again the trading card inspired My Team Mode that many people love. I do not enjoy My Team Mode in any of the sports games that have a variation of it and that once again rings true for this year’s game. I get that some people get very addicted to this mode, but it is not for me.
I have to say that NBA 2K21 is not a bad game, but it has one very “bad” aspect and that is the microtransactions. These are some of the most obnoxious microtransactions you will ever see as they are constantly in your face. The open-world area, The Neighborhood is a great idea, but everything here costs virtual currency, which you earn at a snail’s pace.
Improving your My Player should be a rewarding experience and it can be. However, the grind for virtual currency is so slow that it makes things more of a chore than they should be. I should not be grinding in a basketball game; I should be having fun. It is like 2K knows this and always has their hand out for money, letting you know you can progress faster if you give them a few bucks.
NBA 2K21 on the court is as good as it has ever been. The new shot stick mechanic along with the other tweaks make the on the court action a true joy. It is all the other stuff that it is the game that makes it rather unappealing for me. I feel that we need EA to bring back their NBA Live series as with a bit of competition, 2K might tone down the microtransactions and be willing to take more risks.
- The new shooting mechanic is fantastic
- My League is as good as it has ever been
- Playing games is fun
- Playing against another skilled human player is awesome
- The WNBA is represented very well
- The microtransactions are flat out disgusting
- It is a very minor update to last years game