It’s that time of the year. Girlfriends hate it. Parents hate it but the people that love it, know it’s everything. All consuming and generally an all day event. Yes, it’s NBA 2K season and we have the newest edition to the series. NBA 2K21.

The best basketball game on the market is back and it’s just as good as you would expect it to be. If you’re a hardcore player of NBA 2K you won’t be disappointed and if you’re a noob to the NBA 2K series then prepare to play with all of your favorite NBA players from your favorite teams in all the NBA arenas for hours and hours. NBA 2K will always be very engaging to those that love the series.

WHAT’S NEW ABOUT NBA 2K21?

NBA 2K doesn’t change too much, this holds true for this version. It’s not a bad thing. The reality is, there isn’t much that has changed cosmetically from 2K20, meaning the overall look. It still looks great on console and better on PC. The team at 2K made sure they paid close attention to detail so your favorite arenas and players look exactly as you see them on TV or very close to it. NBA 2K21 is more about refinements to the gaming system and how you’ll play the game. That’s what’s new this time around and once you get into playing 2K21, you should see how much the changes make the game better in certain areas.

The first noticeable changes involve the shot stick. What was kind of a pain to use for some when it was first introduced is much more of a pleasure to use this time around, at least it was for me. The shot stick this year places a little more focus on accuracy and timing by having the shot meter closer to the sweet spot when you pull down on the stick. With this, you get much faster and accurate releases making it much easier when you attempt to shoot. The shot stick also places a focus on character positioning, body movement and angles when you’re shooting, so if you’re poorly positioned your shot will be bad. Unlike the button, which is press it, shoot it, the shot stick wants to give you that simulated feel of a shot, so if you’re able to really practice with the shot stick you’ll be tough to beat and even tougher for defenders trying to stop your shot. You can still use the button and play the more traditional way but if you want say you’re good at this game then learn to master the shot stick. It is difficult to master but it pays dividends long term. Some will like it and some won’t but 2K put some work into making it better.

What’s also new is the Kobe Mamba Forever Edition. With the loss of one of the greatest basketball players ever to touch a basketball in Kobe Bryant it was befitting that the team over at 2K games place a focus on Kobe and really make this game a piece of historic basketball nostalgia as opposed to just a game. This is especially true if you purchased a physical copy.

MyCAREER got some nice changes. If you’re a fan of playing the game in story form then MyCAREER has got you covered. This year there is a focus on character progression and coming up through the ranks and paying your punk dues. You’ll come up from high school and hopefully become a high ranking prospect then you have your pick of 10 NCAA schools to go to build your career before the NBA draft. Once you get to the NBA you can improve your player, make him/her great and lead your team to the Finals. It’s everything you would expect from story mode. An interesting story line, lots of dialogue and some basketball make it a complete experience.

MyTEAM as I see it hasn’t changed too much if really at all. It’s still heavily reliant on micro-transactions which can be a big problem for those who don’t have the extra money to shell out after buying the game, especially for those that bought the Mamba Forever edition.

MyTEAM does allow for more choice and customization with your team and play style but it’s really hard for me justify spending a lot of time in MyTEAM simply because of again, micro-transactions. It’s almost the only way to get the best out of MyTEAM. You can grind it out if you have the time and if you do, great, but a lot of us don’t so I think MyTEAM can be so much greater if the grind wasn’t so punishing. As a whole though despite my personal gripes, MyTEAM is a lot of fun to play.

GAMEPLAY

NBA 2K21’s gameplay is top notch. Make no mistake, there’s a reason why this is the best basketball game there is. When you get into the game the character design is incredible, arenas, commentary, up to date rosters, game modes and online multiplayer all tie into what makes NBA 2K such a phenomenon.

It’s not hard to get into the game, after all it’s NBA basketball. The play is smooth, ball movement and dribbling are fluid with whomever you’re playing with in real time. Transition is fast paced, dunks and layups are smooth and flashy and it’s an immersive game that gives you a great deal of action and allows you the feeling of playing team basketball. Run and gun shot chucking will not work in this game as the AI 2K really forces you to setup and find good shots.

Initially there were some issues with the fluidity of the game at first but 2K games has recently sent out some hotfixes and cleaned up the game and now it’s just smooth as we know it to be. So if you got this game, then you have an incredible game, the best for NBA basketball on console or PC.

NBA 2K21 IS TOTALLY WORTH IT IF YOU LOVE THE SERIES

Games like NBA 2K, Madden and FIFA are becoming harder and harder to justify buying year after year. Mostly, it’s because those games have peaked within the current technology and much of the changes you’ll see will be within the games’ features and not much else, and even with those changes you may or may not like it. If you love NBA 2K then 2K21 is a great game and even better if you get the Mamba Forever edition because KOBE!. I personally had a great time with the game thus far albeit early in the gameplay. I can tell however that it’ll be just like last year’s game in a lot of ways, again, you just have to love 2K.

I can see that 2K games has worked hard to try to add some elements to game and tighten up the gameplay and make some of the additional content much more engaging so kudos to them for that but as it stands now NBA 2K21 is much of the same and it really won’t change until the next gen systems come along and we get a completely different look and feel. That’s what it is for now. It is a worthy pickup for their hardcore fans and noobs that love basketball. I’m thoroughly enjoying this game, I play it primarily on PC but if you’re a console player and you wanna join me for some 2K hit me up @geeklifemike on PSN or Xbox

REVIEW OVERVIEW
NBA 2K21
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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.