Review: NBA 2K19

The NBA 2K series has like it’s special edition cover athlete Lebron James, has been the king of the NBA world for awhile now. It’s got it’s critics and it’s had it’s flaws but the franchise has sat atop the basketball genre for awhile, even rivaling other sporting greats like Madden and Fifa. Just how far can a game come when it’s released yearly? This years has redefined some modes and updated the rosters, just what else gives reason to return?

Brendan Ford from our Facebook community with his MyCareer player, knocking it down like his Steph Curry

Gameplay

With a simple flick of the stick, you’re breaking ankles or knocking down shots from a range that Steph Curry would be proud of. The gameplay experience of NBA 2k19 has peaked, it’s a huge call to make I know. However just like Lebron has his GOAT status, 2K have found theirs. With more moves than Scottie Pippen and more modes than we’ve ever seen before the gameplay options are endless. We all know the core modes, from the play now to the MyCareer and MyGm modes, we’ve got the MyTeam and Blacktop but how expanded are these?

My first little issue with the MyCareer in 2k is one that has been around for as long as I can remember with the series. VC, now VC on it’s own is fine but the fast so many players are forking out hundreds of dollars to boost their MyCareer players without effort. That grinds my gears, the pay to win ability takes priority over earning it and in an online community like 2K’s not paying to keep with the crowd will see you left behind quickly. The rest of MyCareer however is still my favourite part of this experience, taking an undrafted rookie from the streets, to china and back to the G-League before earning your place in the NBA. It’s why we buy this game still right? To play for the teams who in real life would just laugh us out the door?

MyGm is part of a bigger process here in MyLeague where how you run your team is up to you. The old familiar standard MyGM mode is alive and well as is the extended MyGM ‘The Saga Continues’ a story driven, cinematic experience for those who wish to for more than just a few games and trades. While the beginning is more movie than game, after a few hours of learning the story and watching what feel like mini-episodes the game becomes closer to the traditional MyGm with a couple of stories popped in. That’s if the cowboy cap wearing businessman Tex doesn’t dispose of you quickly.

Blacktop and play-now are similar in theory, both are quick pick up games without the wait the only real difference being that Play-now is just you or your couch buddies while Blacktop is with the online community as both your teammates and the opposition. It’s not a mode for everyone as some are intimidated by the community, however the 2KU offers you the chance to hone those skills and perfect that jumper.

A new feature that has been introduced to the gameplay is the Takeover mode, available in the MyCareer it’s a boost of a sort available to the player as a reward for dominating. The more effective you are the quicker it activates, so avoiding the turn overs is essential. What happens when takeover activates? Essentially it’s a way for you to takeover control of the entire team, allowing you to setup plays that you normally wouldn’t be able to do effectively. Be careful tho, using it at the wrong time can become a waste, so save this for that moment when you need to either cement your victory or claw back that lead.

Audio/Video

I’m an urban music fan, so the 2K soundtracks are more often than not right down my ally. This years is no different. However the main focus in audio is the commentary and compared to previous years and competitors the variation in phrases is broader with player interviews adding another depth to something we’d generally hear a few hundred times. Having Kobe Bryant pop into commentary with some historic chats and trivia means the audio stays up for the most part, I can learn from the best while I dunk on the rest.

Visually there has been plenty of talk about how far the player models have come since last season but there is still something missing for me and the buttery faces isn’t helping. I’m not spending the entire game gazing into James Hardens eyes however so that’s not something I have an issue with. The overall feel of the game from a media standpoint puts in the viewers chair while it loads then thrust you onto the court when the first ball goes up. It’s a media presentation for fans and players. 

Mark Johnson from our Facebook community, bringing down the hammer.

Conclusion

While it’s got it’s flaws as every title does, it’s important to take into account the fact some things I don’t like about it others may love. From the cinematic stories in the MyCareer and MyGm modes to the steep progress curve of the online options. These things aren’t game breakers, they are just little annoyance that can be worked around. With that, it’s hard to find a major flaw in the game design of NBA 2k19. It’s the closest we’ve got to a perfect NBA title so far and for that reason It’s definitely worth every bit of the 4 and half thumbs I’ve given it. I’d consider it a little higher if not for the VC issues and the pay to win that is evident online.

Will Muscat

Will Muscat is an avid gamer and has been gaming for many years, from playing on an Amstrad that his dad found at the tip to his Xbox one now. Will enjoys plenty of variety in the games he plays and while he can be found in the world of Gears of War and Halo, he can also be found writing letters to RARE asking for another Jet Force Gemini.

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