On September 4, the current-generation version of NBA 2K21 will be released. Information on the game has been pretty scarce, at least by 2K’s normal standards, and that has many fans wondering what to expect.
I think most can attest, the gameplay appears to be noticeably improved based on what we experienced in the demo. With questions about that part of the release somewhat answered, the next inquiries are related to the features.
I’ve been as plugged into the pre-release information as possible, and I’ve put together a brief set of expectations each user should have for all of the 2K modes.
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There was very few–if any–details given on PNO which tells me fans should expect the mode to function exactly as it did in NBA 2K20, only with the gameplay enhancements passively improving the experience.
This year, your character’s name is Junior, and he’s the son of a former NBA player. You begin in high school, and can play for one of 10 licensed schools before reaching the NBA.
I’d hope to see a departure or at least a separation of the story from the regular MyPlayer grind, but it appears we’re sticking with the same formula.
The Neighborhood is now called 2K Beach, so cosmetically, it’ll look a lot different. Beyond that, I wouldn’t expect any major differences besides perhaps a few new sponsors for the same kinds of events that were in NBA 2K20.
This isn’t horrible considering NBA 2K20’s Neighborhood was probably the best-functioning iteration of the concept yet. This is becoming the lifeblood of the mode, much to my chagrin, but you cannot the overall impact and genius behind the concept.
I still sometimes marvel at the hoops world 2K has created and their imprint on the culture through the neighborhood.
I would have loved to see some sort of tournament or league-setup functionality, but that wasn’t discussed prior to release. As it is, the Jordan Rec and Pro-Am scene will likely be largely unchanged, and it’s where the prospective NBA2K Leaguers will mostly hone their skills.
Those who also enjoy the online team-up competitive scene will still live here.
If you looked at all of the modes across the board and tried to gauge which one will see the most noticeable improvements, I’d expect it to be MyTeam.
The Seasons concept which converts the mode to a live service is intriguing. Also, the weekend events called MyTeam Limited are a step in the right direction as it pertains to a more structured experience.
There’s also the new and mysterious Dark Matter term which could refer to a higher-level gem card or power-ups for players in your collection. In any case, 2K users who plan on upgrading to next-gen or are simply MyTeam junkies will probably feel the most served of all the 2K sub-communities.
There are some expansions to the WNBA inclusion as you can now play through a season with all 12 teams. There’s also some smaller and more nuanced improvements that didn’t get a lot of attention in pre-release.
It’s tough with this mode because a lot of what takes the feature to the next level seems to be deemed unmarketable, so it doesn’t get a lot of attention during the hype period. I think that’s a mistake.
While the mode isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s still best to dedicate a blog that details even the most seemingly minute changes because the users who play MyLeague and MyGM are the types that would appreciate the details.
The same could be said for every mode. Even if the color red in the Chicago Bulls logo was made a deeper and more true version of that hue, a bullet-point recognizing that change is helpful and informative.
Roster Editing and Player Creation
We got no information on this aspect of the game which basically serves the MyGM and MyLeague communities. Will we see more hairstyles, the ability to add tattoos to offline created players, are there more face-sculpting options, will be able to an image-upload option for faces similar to EA’s GameFace?
There are still tons of questions on this front? It’ll be one of the first things I look at when I get my hands on a copy of the game.
In summary, are my expectations low? No, but they are realistic considering the time of the release.