NBA2K has become one of the biggest video-game franchises in the world as they continue to release basketball video games that are consumed by millions annually. NBA2K21 just released a couple of weeks ago and fans have already been voicing their frustrations with this new installment, and for good reason. Granted, this is the current generation version of 2K21, meaning a whole new game is being made for the Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles which hopefully will usher in a new, better era of 2K basketball.
This isn’t to excuse the developers that made this current-gem game though, because they really should have spent a little more time and effort on a game that so many people look forward to playing each year. If a company wants to make a yearly game, give your consumers a reason to come back each year because NBA2K21 feels just like 2K20 did, which felt just like 2K19, and so on.
No Rookie Class
NBA2K21 doesn’t have any of the upcoming rookie class in the game, something that can’t be said for any other of the games that came before it. Coronavirus definitely played a part in this happening considering no rookies have been drafted yet, but it still doesn’t make this game any better playing as the same exact teams as we did in NBA2K20. At the very least, they should have put the rookies in the game and let you choose what teams they go to.
Stats Aren’t Tracked Correctly
Something that has been noticed this year in NBA2K21 is incorrect statistics that can be found throughout all of the modes in the game. You can check the league leaders to find guys like Luka Dončić averaging only 18 points per game, when you can clearly look at their games played and see he should be averaging about 34 points per game instead. Wrong stats can really break the already weak feeling of immersion that 2K barely really bothered to achieve in the first place.
Overpowered MyCareer Builds
The iconic MyCareer mode is back this season and is definitely the most popular mode in the game. Something that has gamers upset with this mode though is the build creation system (making your MyPlayer) and the few overpowered builds that can be created.
No New In-Game Presentation
In-game presentation is something 2K should spend a lot more time on in the future. Considering 2K doesn’t have to create vast open world like some other developers, they theoretically should be able to focus on and create interesting and different presentations for each NBA game played. This is not the case this year sadly, as the half-time show and other cutaways are just recycled from last year, which is disappointing to see.
Less Customization Options
It was a great moment when 2K added customization to the game in regards to creating uniforms and courts that really made your experience feel unique a few years ago. Most of these options are still here in NBA2K21, but a few key items are missing which is why it feels like a downgrade from last year.
Upon a few other things, you now can’t choose your accessory colors (leg sleeves, arm sleeves) which means your players might have, say, red accessories, even if your team colors are completely different than red.
Shooting “Whites” Go In Way Too Often
Shooting is one of the most important things you can do on a basketball court so it is vital to the success of NBA2K that shooting feels fluid and realistic. An excellent release on the shooting bar will display a cool green “splash” animation that will reward you with a swish for your perfect release.
This year, especially at the park, so many more shots are going in that are not perfect releases— called “whites” instead of “greens”— that it’s really becoming frustrating. Gamers are throwing up prayers with bad releases yet the ball is still finding a way to get in the basket.
Exploits At The Park That Are Un-Guardable
Right-stick aim shooting was one of the few new things introduced in 2K21 and it has turned out to really be one of the worst additions in a while. Players who choose to shoot with the stick rather than pressing a button receive such a ridiculous boost to their shot that basically anything they shoot with the right stick goes in. Post players are also exploiting this right stick shooting a lot now, as a post hook used with the right stick is an almost guaranteed make.
Getting Stuck In Loading Screens
NBA2K21 has a very bad problem of making gamers have to quit the application after being stuck in a loading screen. Whether it be trying to load into a game at the park, enter a pro-am game, or just exit after a quick game, long loading screens that become stuck can really hurt the experience of the gamer when they have to continuously quit out of the game in order to get past another broken loading screen. Hopefully this will be fixed in an upcoming patch.
So much has happened since NBA2K20 that is pretty surprising the developers are re-using so much of last year’s dialogue between the commentators in NBA2K21. We shouldn’t really be surprised considering 2K recycled basically all of 2K20 into 2K21, but it still goes to show why the game is being considering the worst 2K in a while.
A few new lines were recording that talk a little bit about the Coronavirus, yet big fans of the series will recognize almost every other line this year from last year’s game.
The New MyCareer Story Falls Flat Yet Again
When is 2K going to learn that most of the people who play MyCareer have zero interest in the generic story they try to make us play through every year? This year you play as “Junior,” a rising basketball star trying to fill the shoes of his late father who was a basketball legend.
Skipping these cutscenes have become second nature to many 2K gamers, because they would rather jump in and start upgrading their player than watch “Junior” have awkward conversations with bad facial animations.
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