Published by 2K Sports and developed by Visual Concepts, NBA 2K21 is the 22nd installment to the 2K franchise. I am not the biggest fan of the NBA and it has been at least 10 years since I last played a Basketball game, so let’s see if much has changed.
Firstly, I am grateful the game had a Practice Mode while waiting for it to fully install so I could learn the basics. When the game was ready I had to work out which modes were popular with the fans so I could focus on that instead of just getting my ass beaten in quick play in my first game.
I started my adventure into the NBA with jumping into Career Mode; not going to lie, I was not expecting much of a back story behind it all. It offered an early cameo of Djimon Hounsou and (Never back down, Guardians of the Galaxy) the plot places players in the role of ‘Junior’ the son of a once famous player, ‘The Duke’.
I do like how it started off as a high school journey and as you play the first few games colleges will show interest to recruit you, then leading to NBA talent scouts. I did not get drafted to a team initially, I did however have to research the ten colleges available to play, to see if they were known for the basketball scene, so I just stuck with Texas Tech. The story felt good when it was focused on the team and progression, I just did not need to watch the first date between Junior and his love interest, it kinda took away from the sport and tried to make appeal to different audiences. I would’ve been more invested in the plot if I got to make choices and see how they go down the road of going pro.
A community favorite mode, ‘MyTeam’ is still present, I don’t have to be a seasoned NBA player to know this game mode as all sports games have this now. This is where the micro-transactions are slipped in as you can earn coins playing the game, or buy them to spend on players.
Card packs will feature current and past NBA stars to let you pick who you want in your dream team! Clearly not being an active fan of the sport, I went with the packs that featured players that I knew such as Shaquille O’neal. (Shoutout to Shaq Fu; greatest game of the Mega Drive)
The controls for the game felt great and delivered fast paced gameplay. It was easy to pick up and learn, surprisingly for a sports title as they often have lots of skills and mechanics to learn. It was quite easy to adjust to my lack of skill and I quickly started playing as an assist role, lining up the points for my team through passing and moving the ball down the court, keeping me in a good grading with the coach.
The only issue that seemed frequent with the controls was when doing a free throw. The camera would often shake a lot as if there was an earthquake happening in the game and at times it made it impossible to land the net.
Graphics wise, the game is great from the smallest beads of sweat on a player to slight scuff marks on the court. The animations and motion cap of the players will always be a highpoint in any sports game. Like any game, there are bugs mostly with the character models, where their arms would stick to their back making them look like no armed monsters straight out of Silent Hill.
NBA’s soundtrack also features some banging artists such as Juice WRLD, Travis Scott and even The Weeknd himself. I do enjoy a solid soundtrack in the background of any game, I did lurk in the menus at times to just enjoy the background beats. During the actual gameplay I did notice the lack of sound work but the announcers giving a play by play on what was happening during the game filled the void greatly and puts you truly into the arena.
Overall, I enjoyed the game more than I thought I would and will keep playing honing my skills. NBA2K21 is a solid sports game however I was not sold on the inclusion of a tacked on storyline for your character in Career Mode. With easy to use controls and fast gameplay, this is one title every sports gamer should have on the shelf.
- Easy to learn controls
- Good addition of schools known for the sport
- Great practice mode option
- Lack of player options in the storyline
- Camera shaking during free throws