- Total Score - 8.6/108.6/10
NBA 2K22’s much improved career mode and vastly improved defensive options provide a deep, satisfying game of basketball for new and old fans alike.
Developer – Visual Concepts
Publisher – 2K Sports
Platforms – PC, Xbox Series| One, Playstation 5|4, Nintendo Switch
When NBA2K21 hit next gen, it still felt like the final year of the last gen’s versions, with some growing pains in the next gen transition. I felt like it was time to take a look at how this series has evolved with much more time spent on next generation platforms.
Right away, some things immediately stuck out to me. First, the trend of Ultimate team that EA started is not as in your face as prior years. The seasons now apply to the entire game, so even if you don’t engage in with it, you have new ways to play and fun unlocks to chase. Last years soundtrack as just okay, but I love this years soundtrack, and hip-hop is better integrated in the game, especially career mode.
The core game modes and things I care about are back and much improved over last year. The My player career mode has seen a huge overhaul. VC, which I know was a problem in previous games was never a problem for me. I was able to work my way up and it is a grind to get high stats, but not one that feels unfair or punishing for not spending any real life money. The way My player is incorporated with the City is incredible. Being able to interact in the city and park with my story mode character but also advance my NBA career is a game changing feature.
The facial scan feature is a blast. Seeing my huge face on a super athletic body made for some pretty entertaining story mode moments. The on court presentation and sound design were as stellar as I remember them being years ago.
Great camera work, announcing, sneaker squeaks and player chatter really help bring the game to life. I know none of this is new, but it’s an easy thing to take for granted.
The thing that’s always impressed me most about NBA 2K, is still the animation. NBA 2K21 has an absolutely absurd number of great animation detail layering every part of the gameplay.
Inbound passes, fouls, reverse fades, it all looks so smooth on the court. It’s impressive how the responsiveness is still sound despite the staggering amount of animation. Even as a power forward with low stats, I never felt sluggish to move around or control on the screen.
The park was probably the biggest feature to see massive improvements, and I had a ton of fun diving into it. Even as a novice, I’ve been able to get into frequent games and outside of a toxic point guard here an there, it’s been a chill experience. The city also feels alive, with massive environments and ton’s of NPC’s to speak too, even if they include Jake from Statefarm.
Of course, the on court NBA basketball is stellar, and the new pro shot stick took me quite a while to adjust. I do like it, and I think it will help create a skill ceiling beyond mere stats and play time. Defense on and off the ball is significantly improved, and being able to better attempt steals and blocks without getting into constant foul trouble makes playing defense rewarding.
I’m curious to see how NBA 2K will evolve moving forward. My biggest gripe with this game is still the VC, despite not having any issues with my progression otherwise. Despite less than a year turn around, it feels very different and far better in every facet from NBA2K21. I imagine that feeling must be really felt by players who have played each one without missing a beat.
I’m really enjoying my time with NBA 2K22 this year. The next gen versions have really benefited from the extra time in the market, and NBA2K22 is a superb improvement in every facet from last years game.