Published on September 20th, 2019 | by Chris O'Connor
NBA 2K20 PS4 Review
Summary: A decent game is hidden beneath a money making machine.
In Vegas 2K20, basketball shows up… oh wait sorry… I got that wrong… in NBA 2K20 there is no attempt to conceal the fact that the game involves heavy gambling! Let’s just get this out of the way from the start… 2K have been accused of promoting gambling in the past by way of their trading card system… pay real money for a random card (sounds a lot like buy a lotto ticket for the chance to win). With NBA 2K20 they aren’t even hiding the fact… more to the point, they have literally set up gambling machines for players to use to try and get their bonuses.
If this doesn’t at least cause you to raise an eyebrow then perhaps you are the market 2K are going for. It’s one thing to have a full price game filled with advertising (at least that is some what justified by way of the real world counterpart)… but charging people full price for a game, then heavily pressuring them to shell out more money for in game content to make the game actually “playable” is another thing entirely.
Ok… I’ll try and calm down and get into some more detail.
For this review I have utilised our families Basketball fan… he plays, he coaches, he follows religiously and has been buying NBA 2K games for a number of years now… each year getting the updated version. His main comment to me was that they have destroyed the game, specifically in regards to the MyGM which he felt was much more limiting (while giving the impression of more options). He was particularly unimpressed by the way you improved the players. He also commented that it feels like the only way you can really improve your players/team is by succumbing to the microtransactions… making this even more of a pay to play game than previous years and he was not at all happy… to say the least.
My personal experience was slightly more positive… though not without negatives (as mentioned in the intro). The first time I tried getting into the game I was met with the massive patch download… however, this forced me into a training setting that I must have overlooked in previous versions. So for quite a while I simply went from one training drill to the other (which I’m aware existed in previous versions… but it felt “better” in this presentation), learning the moves and how best to hold the controller to maximise my ability to play.
Once I got into the game, from previous experience, I knew I wanted to see what I could do to make the game a bit easier on my poor middle age man reflexes… happily I was able to slow the game down (though I wouldn’t recommend setting it at the slowest level… that’s just way too slow)… finding about a middle ground and setting my challenge to Rookie I actually found the gameplay quite enjoyable. The addition of the WNBA (the first for the series) was a great bonus and fun to play.
Visually the game is quite striking… players are easily recognisable and their animations are fluid and natural looking. The crowds even look much more alive than previous titles. The sound is quite immersive as well and though I was originally a bit surprised having the buzzer come out of the controller… it was quite an interesting way to make the player feel more like they are in the game.
Ultimately 2K seem to have a core group of followers who will buy the title every year regardless of what changes are made. Our household’s fan has stated he will no longer automatically buy the latest version and personally I couldn’t condone supporting such a ruthless and brazen cash grab. There is a decent game here… but certain aspects are broken. If you don’t mind the merciless push to microtransactions, or you can just look past it… then perhaps you will enjoy the gaming experience. Personally I can’t recommend the game on moral grounds, it feels like 2K took the criticism of previous years microtransactions and decided to just stick their finger up to the players and (pun intended) doubled down on their money making.