As with all sporting games, another year sees another edition of our popular sport games. Now, for some, they don’t much see the point of getting the “same game” year in and year out. For the fans of the genre, we know that things can change drastically in a year.
NBA 2K22 is the latest version of 2K Games and 2K Sports popular basketball game. This version has seen some major overhauls to the mechanics of how the game plays out, especially within the defensive mechanisms. Gone are the days of just breezing through the zone as if the defenders were nothing but mist as pump your way to that layup. Now blocks and box outs really do get in the way and the player must use tactics and creativity to penetrate the zone and find those keys passes to open up lanes or distribute the ball to players in a better position.
As with previous versions of the popular NBA gaming title, players get to choose from various game modes to take on and tickle any and all of their Basketball fancies. These modes are;
Play Now – get straight into the action and play a quick game in any league, with any team that is available in game.
MyTEAM – a collector’s area where you open card packs, and have the option of buying more, to build your very own team to play with and compete against other teams online. The card packs include players – both new and legacy, ball parks, uniforms, coaches, logos, balls, and playbooks from top teams in the NBA and WNBA. You start this mode up by naming your own team and then opening your starter packs. Daily logins give you a pack a day to add to your ever-increasing collection. There are micro-transactions available for those who want to build quickly and don’t mind spending a little extra.
MyCAREER – following a story line, you take on the role of your custom built myPLAYER and forge a pathway to your destiny in the NBA. Make real life decisions that have very real outcomes on your journey to the top, including where you start your career – college, G League or straight to the NBA. Each choice comes with its own adversities.
MyLEAGUE – a sort of fantasy team area where you build your own roster and see how you match up to other players online. This mode includes a full WNBA season as the new and improved myGM mode where you see how you would cut it as an NBA team general manager, including keeping players, sponsors, and fans happy.
2kTV – an ongoing talk-show that you can tune straight into from NBA2k20
Play your cards right – either in MyLEAGUE or MyTEAM, and you could find yourself with a powerhouse team consisting of Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James. Imagine that…
Players who feel like a break from the grind and want to try their hand at something a little more creative can spend time creating their own custom kicks in the shoe creator are. Choose brands like Nike, Jordans, Adidas and Under Armor and then select your low, mid or high cut and then go crazy as you take control over every aspect of the shoe design, from the lace eyelets to logo placements and more.
This year’s career mode sees the player take on the role of someone who has gained internet fame across various social media platforms since leaving high school. This is a bit of a different start to your conventional high school hero baller story, and it adds it’s own interesting twists and turns to the story as your motives for pursuing a career in the NBA are questioned from the outset.
As with previous career modes, before you dive in you must first build your character in NBA’s very detailed, yet highly daunting (especially if it’s your first time) MyPLAYER. This looks very similar to previous years as you choose what your player looks like in looks, build and stats. AND you get to choose their jersey number as we all know how important that is!
If you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing here, feel free to look at guides and builds to get you started as you get to know the game and mechanics a bit better. Throwing numbers into skills here just because it sounds good really can have an adverse effect on how you play later on as height, weight and wingspan have as much impact on your ability to play in the position you choose as handling, passing, shooting and defence does.
As previously mentioned, you start your story with your manager, Ricky, who also just happens to be your long-time best friend. In the opening dialogue you choose your next step to either go to college and play for some of the top college teams, grind it out in the G Leagues, or skip all this and go straight to the NBA.
We’d recommend not going straight to the NBA as the other two options have some serious perks as they help you assign new points to your attributes and gain a bit of top tier game time before breaking onto the NBA scene.
Both the college and G League routes have their own advantages and we’ve dropped them in here for you;
We chose the college route because, you know, it’s college.
Once you’ve chosen your college or G League team, and played through their respective leagues or tournaments, you’ll have the choice to go to the NBA Combine or take your chances with your current stats and jump straight to the NBA Draft Pick.
The NBA Combine has the chance to drastically increase your Draft Pick status if you perform well at each of the six drills and win the scrimmage. As with all high reward, comes high risk – if you perform poorly at the NBA Combine, this adversely affect your Draft Pick status.
The six drills that you’ll have to get through are standing vertical, running vertical, lane agility, sprint shuttle and bench press. We played this game on Xbox and so the success of each activity was determined by our ability to toggle between the triggers. We all know you want to be the best, but don’t worry too much and force quit the game if you don’t top out on every drill – if you place in the top 15 of the NBA Combine, you can consider the whole ordeal a success.
Once you’ve been drafted to the NBA team of your dreams, it’s all on you to make it work. A small tip from us – it’s not all about scoring yourself as key passes and assists can see you get more match rating than putting them in yourself. The game rewards teamwork over individual play.
Getting consistent B or higher performances in games and attending practices is key here to climb from in the squad to team regular.
One last thing that MyCAREER offers over and above a journey to the NBA Hall of Fame (hopefully), is the potential to take on a side hustle in the music or fashion industries. While this may bring some hushed whispers and sideways glances from the basketball community as you find that hashtag worthy outfit or deliver coffee to The Game, these side ventures will help you earn more points to increase your max player rating as well as improve your overall marketability.
You will get a choice of two agencies to help you in these pursuits. We’ve broken down each agency for you here;
Berry and Associates:
Both agencies will earn you 5 000 MVP points as well 25 points in various side hustle related aspects such as Corporate and NBA for Palmer Athletic, and music and fashion for Berry and Associates.
Other than basketball, there’s plenty of things to do off court and around the city so take them time and full immerse yourself in everything that MyCAREER has to offer, including listening to the advice of your best friend.
Having skipped NBA 2K21 and last played 2K20, the defensive changes were immediately noticeable as my usual rush and layup to bolster the score board before settling in and playing for assists didn’t work. I had to radically change my play style, which at first was highly frustrating but once I got over myself and rose to the challenge, NBA 2K22 is worth the buy to get those improvements and experience a more real feeling in this top-notch basketball title.
As usual, defending is not just one button and I enjoy the tactical approach of choosing to box out, block, or try and poach the ball while applying pressure without getting a personal foul. Defence has never been my strength in games like this and I usually rely on a swift counter and high point conversation rate to keep me ahead of my opponents but I did take the time to improve my defence – although chasing my man around the zone still proves difficult for me and many match rating points were lost due to my man shaking me and scoring a 3-pointer with enough space around him to park a fleet of jumbo jets.
All in all, I enjoyed the time spent on NBA 2K22, including getting my butt handed to me on a silver platter in online games (I will return and avenge myself) and feel that 2K Games has once again risen to the task to give us a challenging yet rewarding, interesting, fun, and engaging basketball game.
Here’s the gameplay trailer to see for yourself the best that this game has to offer.
I award NBA 2K22 a solid drive of 8 out of 10 stars.
Thank you to our friends over at Prima Interactive for giving us the chance to review this game!
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