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NBA 2K20 Review: Real Recognize Real

/ Dec 24th, 2019 No Comments

NBA 2K20 Review

Reviewing NBA 2K presents a dilemma that seemingly occurs every year. On one hand, NBA 2K20 is yet again one of the deepest sports games ever, made more impressive this year with the addition of the WNBA. On the other hand, the hashtag #fix2k20 started trending on Twitter immediately after the game’s launch. From cosmetic issues to server problems, players are still pleading for Visual Concepts to “fix” the game months after its launch.

My own experience with NBA 2K20 has not been without fault. After creating my player — who could not share my real life last name because it is deemed inappropriate by NBA 2K20 standards — I jumped into MyCareer and found that the last name was missing from the back of his jersey. I browsed through some forums to find a fix, which required me to start a second, new MyCareer with the same name and then jump back out to my original save.

NBA 2K20 MyCareer

MyCareer is once again an integral mode in the NBA 2K20 experience. The story portion was created by SpringHill Entertainment, LeBron James’ production company. No doubt drawing from James’ own experiences, the story is much more believable and realistic. It follows the journey of your created player from the NCAA to the NBA, with tournaments, the Draft Combine and Summer League in between. Great performances from actors like Idris Elba and intriguing dealings with agents and potential sponsors inject weight and earnestness into the story, which had become laughable in previous years.

Most interesting is the stand SpringHill’s MyCareer story takes against the NCAA. While in college, your player decides to fight against the college sports establishment after an injured teammate loses his scholarship. However, this decision is only dealt with in a superficial manner — how it will impact your earning potential once you leave college. And, for a mode so focused on a choice, the MyCareer story is incredibly cutscene heavy and does not present players with enough choices to make.

Once you complete the prologue, MyCareer opens up to myriad options. Of course, connecting individual players into games as large as five-on-five presents challenges; hence, the calls to fix NBA 2K20. I tend to avoid some of MyCareer’s games because it is difficult to find opponents with reliable connections, and when I do, I often find myself facing players with much higher skill levels. But when I jumped into online modes, I never experienced crashes as others have reported.

NBA 2K20 On the Court

On the court, NBA 2K20 is a remarkable accomplishment and a stellar example of how far sports gaming has become. Athletes move with all the grace and smoothness of their real-life counterparts, showcasing dazzling footwork and mystifying leaping ability. Ball-handling especially controls intuitively, successfully recreating the satisfaction of pulling off a real-life crossover.

A revamped badge system amplifies the abilities of some players over others. For example, James Harden has the “Contact Finisher” badge, which gives him a higher chance of converting layups and dunks where a defender has made contact. This means you’ll be finishing and-ones at the rim with much greater ease while controlling Harden than an outside shooter like Kyle Korver. With about 80 badges in NBA 2K20, each player feels unique and accurate. Improved defensive A.I. is also has a noticeable impact on the court, and it helps bring the simulation closer to the modern NBA.

Unfortunately, microtransactions continue to mar the off-court experience. Almost every in-game item from clothing in MyCareer to cards in MyTeam require players to spend valuable Virtual Currency. There is an endless amount of items to purchase in 2K20, and while grinding is dialed back slightly in this year’s game, items are still disproportionately priced. Still, it is impossible to deny that NBA 2K20 is incredibly deep and improves upon the experience yet again. It is an impressive feat that blurs the lines between real-life NBA and virtual basketball.

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Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom
Ryan Bloom

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