Cover image of NBA2K20 with basketball player
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I have been playing NBA 2K since it first arrived on the Sega dreamcast on November 10, 1999, and boy can I say it has come a long way. I will tell you that from the previous three versions of NBA 2K this one feels like the gameplay has finally been tweaked to where it’s very noticeable. To me the flow of the game and with the new player movements that was revamped a few years back seems to really have taken a stride this year. Don’t come looking for major changes, but come and appreciate the little things that have been implemented into this game that makes the players and atmosphere feel more life-like than ever. Don’t get me wrong there are the usual glitches and odd animations at times, but hopefully this will get ironed out with their frequent patches. there has been some improvements to the movement system and the way that players collide with one another feels better than it has ever felt. For example, I absolutely love playing with james harden. When he penetrates to the lane you don’t just feel the defender in front of you causing pressure, you actually feel the defender on your hip as you blow by them. The defense seems to be effective on the players sides as well and causes really cool looking animations to show that they are being affected by side defense as well. I had a lot of problems in 2K19 where players that were excellent at scoring with contact In real life weren’t so much in the game. It got very frustrating to the point that I rarely drove to the lane. While playing with the Houston Rockets I will say I became a little spoiled. Having Harden and Westbrook as my main ball handlers it felt easier than it has ever been getting to the hoop and I was a little down as I play at the Hall of fame difficulty. I quickly realized that I was abusing the opposite team because that is just what those two men do in real life and I absolutely loved it. What made it even better was I definitely notice a bigger gap between elite players compared to average players and noticed that not all players where created the same. When those players were taken out of the game I actually struggle driving to the lane which made it imperative to change my strategy based on who was on the court. Players move smoother and finally the feel of them skating on ice is now a thing of the past. Using the sprint button has been tweaked to make the game feel more realistic. Players like John Wall and Russell Westbrook running the court is a thing of beauty and you can actually use that as your advantage. In previous versions you can run the court, but when Centers or players that are obviously slower catch up to you it could be annoying because you couldn’t utilize all of your players strength. You can’t just hold down the sprint button in this version because it will greatly affect the players stamina and cause your players to run out of gas. I think this is awesome and it rewards people that take the time to manage players stamina. This could be crucial during crunch time and little things like this helps make the game that much more realistic. When it comes to the shooting I feel like this is the best version that has come out in years. I typically had problems upon the initial release of the last three years and of course it gradually got better as they patched it throughout the year, but when you pay for a game and it finally gets fixed typically in time for christmas can leave a sour taste in your mouth. I pay a lot of money each year for this game and it gets old having to wait for december for the game to be playable. This year the shooting feedback feels great. I can make off the dribble shots as well as set shots with the appropriate players. It feels easier to put up buckets as it should be if you have elite scorers on your team. Teams this year definitely play more like their real life counterparts. I noticed the Golden State Warriors would push the ball up the court and would take more outside shots especially deep three’s if it was Curry or Thompson taking the shot. Teams that played bully ball tended to do that as well. On the defensive point of view, I actually think the rebounding and blocking shots as well as even the jump ball needs to be reworked. Jumping just doesn’t feel right. At times you will feel like you have great positioning to get a rebound. I would use my fundamentals and box out players and have great position and still at times don’t come up with the rebounds. I feel like jumping in general needs to be tweaked. I have never had this complaint, but the timing and or jumping height just feels off. I have never had any problems with the passing system, but I did notice that if I didn’t pass the ball using Icon pass It would constantly pass the ball to the wrong player especially coming off a screen. This year the WNBA was added and they did an excellent job integrating it into the game. It plays just as good as the NBA part of the game. Arenas are accurate besides the crowd (we all no WNBA games don’t even come close to selling out) and player models are done pretty well. The commentary is top notch as well and it seems like they held this mode to the same standards as the NBA. It’s not my cup of tea because I enjoy the fanciness of the NBA players like dunking alley-opp’s, But this is great for female ballers.       

 

Graphics and presentation

 Graphics have never been an issue since the game was originally released. I have seen a lot of people mention that the graphics are the same as last year and I will tell you that these people are just haters. You can absolutely tell that they have been improved. I noticed facial hair, well just hair in general is greatly improved over last year jerseys and hair flow well and sweat glistens to make the game look even more stunning than last year. The broadcasting aspect is still the best in the business and a little less repetitive than last years version and it’s always good to have new audio after grinding a whole 82 game season. The halftime show is slightly better, and you can expect ernie, kenny and shaq to bring the same razzle dazzle as before. It would be cool if they added breaking down highlights from the half like they had in earlier versions, but all in all every year slightly gets better. 

 

My Career

In my opinion, the story is better than last year’s. The production value is amazing and has plenty of cameos from a lot of the greats around the NBA. Lebron james is a producer this year so not only is he a player, coach, GM, he is making his way to production as well. Kinda like a new age Jackie moon. It’s a great story to give us an idea of how it’s like to make decisions and choose your path to become a legend. You can keep it all about basketball and work hard while trying to avoid the limelight. If the Tim Duncan career isn’t what you’re looking for you can also lean towards living the lavish life and get into shooting movies and becoming a mega superstar and get your name known for more than just a basketball player. You build your player based on abilities are broken down into the finishing, shooting, playmaking, and defense/rebounding buckets, which also house the all-important badges that help boost attributes which is an added  bonus. To increase your attributes you will need to use VC currency which you earn throughout the game, and buyable with real money. I as well as many fans have had an issue with this for many years because it seems that Visual Concepts is more about making money then producing an even more stellar game. It almost makes it mandatory to spend money to expedite your attributes to even have a fair chance of playing against others. If you don’t spend money it kinda makes this mode not fair. The small open world is pretty awesome though. You can go to the barber, Training facility, tattoo parlor, as well as play full court or half court games, but like i referred to earlier It’s not really fun unless you spend real money.

 

My GM/ My League

This is really where I spend most of my time and I will say I have never been so let down compared to previous years. I have one question for visual concepts. I like realism and I like experiencing twelve minute quarters so that I will have to use my bench and make adjustments as the game progresses. It makes me not have to rush on offense and I can actually play the game like it’s truly intended to be played. Why would you not have adjustable quarter lengths in the options like you have had since as long as I can remember. On a positive note My league is where I had to migrate since it’s basically the same mode as My GM. It still puzzles me why only My league is able to change quarter lengths. This year they introduced the needs system which I feel slows the mode down and gets annoying very fast. You have daily daily tasks to complete each day to help their team win the Championship. It’s very repetitive and you constantly have to have the same conversation with multiple players just to keep their moral up. You will go insane constantly being bothered about getting more minutes  I hope next year they revamp this because it really slows this mode down. 

 

The Neighborhood

The Neighborhood had replaced My Parks two years ago and it’s back this year. It is essentially the same, but it does have some minor changes to it.  Events like Dodgeball have returned as well. Interestingly, Dodgeball, in particular, got itself a makeover with a “Rodeo” version of it which takes place in a Western-style setting. You see plenty of new themes as well. For example a carnival type of event, a Big Head Mode and even an event where you’re balling in the middle of a race track with cars racing around you. Disc golf is also In this mode which consist of nine holes and each one is scattered around the Neighborhood in NBA 2K20. This is a great addition to the game and could introduce players to fun new sports like Capture the Flag and dodgeball which is in this mode as well.

 

Final thoughts

I will go ahead and say this NBA 2K servers have been horrible and is a constant problem every year. They are so bad that some of the online aspect of the games I either rarely played or have not had the ability to play due to not being able to connect to the servers. I think most people are frustrated because not only do we spend a lot of money on buying the game it’s obvious that Visual concepts gets a significant amount of money back due to people spending money on VC currency. As far as gameplay goes, I really think They have done a great job with the gameplay, but like i said there are minor problems in my opinion. I’m hoping they address these issues with upcoming patches. I hope sooner rather than later Visual concepts could stop being greedy and make us the players feel like they care a little bit more about us having a great experience instead of coming off like all they care about is money. All and all this is a great game and I recommend it to any basketball fan especially with how many players moved around in the NBA this preseason.

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