NBA games have been popular for a long time, as many gamers also enjoy basketball—contrary to popular belief. However, there have been occasions where someone wouldn’t be able to watch a game. This is because some basketball matches can often take a while to schedule, and this has been especially true over the last few months. Thankfully, the NBA 2K video games allow any fan to play basketball at any time whenever they please, as it tries to simulate the real-life experience as closely as possible.
But, with so many of them that have released, there are some 2K NBA games that are better than others. As such, here are the NBA games of the last decade from worst to best. This will be ranked based on their Metacritic scores and from their highest rating. Some games may not be in here due to them not being ranked on Metacritic.
12 NBA Playgrounds (68%) (PS4)
Originally created with similarities to games like the NBA Jam or NBA Streets, NBA Playgrounds is designed to primarily be an arcade basketball game, holding a roster from both active as well as former NBA stars.
The player has to fill up a roster of these stars through different packs within the game, which come from game modes throughout NBA Playgrounds. The game released with mixed reception, and it was criticized for the slow pace of the single-player mode, as well as poor drops from the card packs.
11 NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (73%) (PS4)
Garnering enough sales, NBA Playgrounds eventually received a sequel. Released back in 2018, it played very similarly to the previous title, while also making various adjustments and improvements. All of these include better online matchmaking, new playground options, and more. Despite the additions and improvements, however, the game was criticized heavily for its microtransactions.
10 NBA 2K20 (80%) (Xbox One)
The most recent entry in the NBA 2K line up, NBA 2K20 offers a variety of new customizable settings to the game modes. For example, the game offers players the opportunity to create six expansion teams in the game modes: MyLeague and MyGM. These teams can also be relocated whenever the player desires. It is also the first time that the games have the WNBA teams appear in the series. However, NBA 2K20 was also heavily criticized for it’s more excessive use of microtransactions.
9 NBA 2K19 (83%) (Xbox One)
NBA 2K19 is the first game in the series that wasn’t released for Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3. NBA 2K19 is also the first game in the franchise in which there is CBA Mandarin Chinese option for the commentary of career mode. In spite of the praise with the gameplay, the game is still held back, as would be the case with its successor, by its microtransaction practices, which were universally panned by players.
8 NBA 2K18 (87%) (PC)
NBA 2K18 is the last game in the series to be released on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This game is the first time the series has ever introduced the mode Neighbourhoods which allows open-world game design and has fans meet star players. The game was praised for its gameplay, but the microtransactions, as well as the Neighbourhoods mode, were criticized.
7 NBA 2K14 (87%) (Xbox 360)
NBA 2K14 is the 15th installment in the entire series, and this one was also the best selling sports game of the eighth generation. Boasting plenty of features like training camp mode, new signature skills, and more. That being said, some critics have criticized the game’s design, with some finding the new dribble and shooting mechanic taking a bit to get used to.
6 NBA 2K15 (87%) (PC)
NBA 2K15 introduces a couple of new game modes like the scanning system, an improved MyCareer mode, and a new coach satisfaction system. The coaching system, in particular, is voiced by Doc Rivers, head coach of the Los Angelas Clippers, who will critique the player during gameplay. All of this, combined with refined controls and customization options, help make it one of the best in the series. However, it was criticized for poor server problems.
5 NBA 2K16 (87%) (PS4)
NBA 2K16 is arguably considered to be at least one of the most ambitious NBA title so far. The director, Spike Lee, had a heavy influence on the game, as he wanted the Mycareer mode to have more story focus. All in order to have a more accurate depiction of the basketball life in general. The end result was a game with a lot of content. However, the game was still riddled with problems such as technical issues and the Mycareer mode being too restrictive.
4 NBA 2K11 (89%) (PS3)
NBA 2K11 is the game that kicked off the 2010s. Many game modes that were around before the creation of this game have been implemented here, but it also has a new mode called “Jordan Challenge” which allows the player to play as Michael Jordan and go through his many accomplishments. By completing these accomplishments, the player is rewarded with the shoes Michael Jordan wore throughout his career in the game.
3 NBA 2K12 (90%) (PS3)
NBA 2K12 brought in a variety of new changes. These include a variety of new quality-of-life elements that made it better than NBA 2K11. These all include bringing in new teams, fixing the control mechanics, and making the Myplayer mode more engaging for both old and new fans alike. NBA 2K12 also offers “NBA’s Greatest” mode which allows players to reignite past moments with old teams like the 1987 Los Angeles Lakers led by Magic Johnson.
2 NBA 2k13 (90%) (PS3)
NBA 2K13 allows for all of the dribble mechanics in the game to all be mapped within the right analog stick. This allows for everything to be simplified. Not only that, but the shots are now done on the fly to make the gameplay more dynamic.
NBA 2K13 also introduces a brand new physics engine that allows for better collisions in real-time as well as each player characters having an ability mechanic, allowing the game to be more dynamic compared to its predecessors
1 NBA 2K17 (90%) (PC)
NBA 2K17 brings in more quality of life improvements to the basic basketball simulation formula. These include changes to the settings that allow for more customization, as well as brand new presentation qualities.
Not only that, but NBA 2k17 also brings in major improvements towards the MyGM and MyLeague game modes, with the former, in particular, aiming to have a much more realistic focus.
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