Taking that half-court shot!
The NBA 2K24 gameplay is impressive and authentic, but the inclusion of microtransactions in popular game modes hinders the overall experience. These purchases are not optional and are necessary to compete with other players online. Despite the potential of MyCareer, which is the focus of this year’s game, it falls short by rewarding players who spend money rather than those who rely on their skill and effort.
NBA 2K24 may not have any flashy new mechanics to brag about, but it still looks impressive and boasts a gameplay that is even better than before. The game’s new ProPLAY feature is a major addition, allowing NBA footage to be translated into in-game animations in real time.
Initial release date: 8 September 2023
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Sports Video Game, Simulation Video Game, Adventure game, Simulation Game, Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Series: NBA 2K
As a result, NBA 2K24 offers smoother movement on the court, more authentic dribbling, shooting, and pass animations, and fewer immersion-breaking interactions. Overall, NBA 2K24 feels more realistic than its predecessors.
The NBA 2K series has made significant improvements in AI, making it evident particularly when playing against teams with superstar talent. The players, such as LeBron James, look and play almost like their real-life counterparts, and the CPU opponent takes full advantage of this. As a veteran of the game, I felt challenged but not cheated. Moreover, playing offence with tried-and-true classics like the pick-and-roll is no longer easy to exploit, and off-ball defenders are now smarter in understanding their opponent’s moves. The adrenaline boost feature, which helps prevent players from dribbling around aimlessly, has returned with a more interactive twist. It has made the defence, especially in online play, more engaging.
Despite several improvements in on-court gameplay, NBA 2K series still lacks significant progress in fast-break gameplay. This has been an ongoing issue for more than a decade now and it has affected the excitement level of good defense because it rarely turns into points. Moreover, there are occasional mind-boggling decisions made by the AI, such as calling erroneous timeouts late in games.
Love the Half Time Show!!!
Although the commentary in NBA 2K games is generally good, it fails to highlight some aspects that are important to the players. However, the halftime show by Shaq, Ernie, and Kenny is always exceptional, especially when they are discussing the different eras of the NBA.
The absence of Charles Barkley, who has made it clear that he won’t be in any NBA 2K game, is felt but the chemistry between the rest of the team remains strong.
MY CAREER – Pay it to win it.
In MyCareer, there is a noticeable push towards in-game purchases, which can be a bit frustrating. However, the game lacks attention to detail in certain aspects. For instance, players don’t often react convincingly to big moments such as game-winning shots. It’s disappointing to see them go from being excited one moment to expressionless the next, especially considering how realistic they look. While NBA 2K24 does an excellent job of creating tense in-game moments, it falls short when it comes to rewarding players for those moments. By properly incorporating the crowd, players, and coaches into the arena’s reaction to big plays, the game could better match the NBA’s ability to create historic moments.
Despite the progress made by NBA 2K24, it is often overshadowed by its popular game mode, MyCareer. The game is also criticized for its tendency to push players towards in-game purchases. For instance, even with access to 100,000 virtual currency (VC), which is only available with the Black Mamba or 25th Anniversary editions, my created player’s overall rating remained at 75 after spending all of it on attribute upgrades. Even after playing MyCareer for about 10 hours, I could only crawl my way up to an 81 overall rating while ignoring most of the customizable aspects of MyCareer that make it enjoyable, such as dresswear, animations, and personalized elements.
NBA 2K22 – What we were spitting
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.
Despite my efforts, I consistently found myself at the bottom of the leaderboard. Even though I wasn’t competing against others online, MyCareer mode placed me in the NBA as a starting player on a team of my choice. Unfortunately, this meant that I was frequently matched up against players with significantly better attributes, making it nearly impossible to play good defense or offense. When I did try to play against other players online, I quickly realized that no matter how skilled or precise I was, I couldn’t compete with those who had invested a considerable amount of money into their character. Within just a few days of the game’s release, I had fallen so far behind that the thought of grinding out more Virtual Currency (VC) made me feel sick. Essentially, the game’s only viable option is to pay up, and that’s just not fair.
“I think my dads gone crazy”
It seems unreasonable that most buyers of the regular edition of NBA 2K24 will receive a created player with an overall rating of just 60, and losing games will not earn them enough VC to improve their player. This creates a frustrating cycle where players cannot compete without spending money to improve their player/s, and not spending money leads to punishment. Essentially, NBA 2K24 coerces players to spend money to enjoy the game fully.
Although the on-court gameplay has improved significantly in many aspects, there are still certain areas where NBA 2K series lags behind. One such area is the almost non-existent fast-break gameplay, which has been a persistent issue for over a decade. This is a major drawback, as fast-break gameplay is one of the most exciting elements of real-life basketball. The absence of this feature makes good defence less rewarding, as it rarely turns into points. Additionally, there are occasional mind-boggling decisions made by the AI, such as calling erroneous timeouts late in games.
Pays to be fashionable… if you have the VC!
It’s important to note that playing MyCareer mode in NBA 2K24 doesn’t have to be a tedious task. This year, the game comes with a new location, an open-world, Miami-inspired beachfront, that offers a more densely packed environment than the previous city with something to interact with at every turn. You can find storefronts, courts to play on, and a variety of court and game types like five-on-five or three-on-threes. However, the matchups can be frequently lopsided, which takes away from the fun of the game types. Additionally, there are some fun fashion items to purchase, but they are locked behind heavy VC paywalls.
This means that players have to choose between having a cool-looking player or a well-playing one, making it impossible to get the most out of MyCareer mode without spending additional money.
The NBA 2K24 may not have a well-developed story mode, but there are some loosely connected storylines revolving around the created player, MP. However, these are not very engaging, as MP starts with a low rating while being compared to legendary players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. This, along with the overall grind of the MyCareer mode, can be quite frustrating.
Different ways to shoot the Hoops
NBA 2K24 has introduced Mamba Moments as a follow-up to NBA 2K23’s Jordan Challenge. While it may not be as impressive as the Jordan Challenges, it still manages to capture the essence and atmosphere of some of Kobe Bryant’s most notable games. For those of us who were first introduced to basketball during that era, it’s a treat to revisit a time in the NBA.
In addition to NBA 2K24, MyNBA also features a LeBron era where you can assume control of the iconic 2011 “Big Three” Miami Heat. If I find myself wanting to play without microtransactions, I will definitely turn to MyNBA. Although there aren’t any significant changes to MyNBA, it still remains the perfect place to enjoy basketball in its purest form, and allows customization.
MyNBA Lite mode is available for those who prefer a simpler franchise mode. It is designed to provide a less intense experience and includes features such as drafting, player acquisition, and getting on the court. Unlike MyNBA, it does not offer more in-depth features. This mode is a great option to avoid in-game purchases and is also beginner-friendly (for the gamers new to 2K).
The Buzzer Beater!!
The NBA 2K24 experience is like the two sides of Two Face’s coin. On one side, the hardcourt experience is top-notch and there are several game modes that offer uninterrupted enjoyment. On the other side, the microtransaction scheme and mechanics like badge regression make MyCareer mode almost unplayable unless you spend a lot of money or grind endlessly. Despite these issues, NBA 2K24 still provides a satisfying basketball experience, but it’s important to know where to look.
The game’s love for basketball is evident in modes like MyNBA and Mamba Moments, but it’s unfortunate that this love is overshadowed by the exorbitant costs of the main multiplayer mode.
Entertainment – 3.5/5
Action – 4/5
Extra – 3.5/5
EAX score 3.5/5
A big shout out to our friends over at Prima Interactive for giving us the chance to make some 3-pointers, and look good while doing it.