NBA 2K22 Review – GameRev

After months of waiting, NBA 2K22 has arrived and it has blown up its predecessors. This year’s iteration has established itself as the best basketball simulation game thanks to its over-the-top realistic gameplay and an innovative focus on rewarding smarter gameplay.

The gameplay in NBA 2K takes it to the next level by keeping things simple and improving on the foundations of previous games. Like every iteration in the franchise, the small tweaks and reworks to the dribbling and shooting technique make the gameplay experience that much more satisfying. The moves and combinations of dribbling feel more precise and faster, giving you more control over the players. The new fire rate gauge is also a welcome change from last year’s version. When you shoot, the meter is directly affected by the player’s ability to shoot, mana level, and defense range. The new gauge also comes in the form of a longer arc that gives you more clarity when launching your shot.

In previous years, defending against certain players was like an impossible task as they could just get past you and end up at the belt with ease. Now, Visual Con Concept has overhauled defense to reward defenders with good skills both in periphery and in paint. This also forces the prisoner to take on more complex levels instead of relying on getting easy buckets. On the other hand, this did make the defensive AI a bit too self-righteous, as I often faced nasty all-court defenses during games.

Basketball career, among other things.

In MyCareer you will have to create your own player and gradually develop him into a Hall-of-Famer if you are good enough. In typical 2K fashion, you’ll experience your character’s journey, which begins in college as he makes his way to the NBA. While it’s not strange at this point, the story still has some interesting twists and turns and forces you to make tough decisions that could affect your career later on.

Naturally, the road to success is tough and you’ll have to grind to unlock Badges and earn VCs to upgrade player abilities. This aspect of the game is still the most engaging but the most time consuming, especially if you want to maximize your character’s stats. While this is not a big deal when playing MyCareer alone, you will quickly feel ranked in the Rec Room by people who have purchased microtransactions. Unfortunately, it seems the only way to speed up your progress is to buy VCs with real money, which has been a trend in previous NBA 2K games. Besides basketball, you can do anything like shopping, skateboarding, listening to hip-hop music, which is sometimes distracting. However, I would have preferred the more basketball-focused mode above all else.

Collect cards at its best.

Thankfully, some of MyCareer’s problems have been solved in a MyTeam mode that allows you to build your own team of past and present NBA superstars. This mode is full of content and ways to dramatically improve your team for free in a reasonable amount of time. Auction houses are also a great way to get the specific players you want without the VC overhead. Additionally, NBA 2K22 introduced a Tag Sorting system and a Shoe Builder for this mode. While these ideas make sense, they don’t have much of an impact on the game, and I chose to ignore them.

Drafts is also a new feature that allows you to assemble a list of players and receive rewards based on the number of games you win (similar to FIFA Ultimate Team’s Draft mode). This is by far one of the most exciting aspects of the game but requires an entrance fee to be paid in real money after your first few draft runs. Hopefully we will try this mode using in-game currency in the near future. Finally, MyNBA received some additional coaching staff badges and attributes. While these are great, this franchise mode doesn’t feel much more exciting than it did a few years ago.

All of this being said, NBA 2K22 offers the most realistic and fluid basketball simulation experience to date. The gameplay remains solid and the many game modes available mean there’s always plenty to do. Although, microtransactions are still an issue, NBA 2K22 justifies the upgrade from last year’s iteration thanks to some much-needed changes to core gameplay, especially on defense. Although, some of the last entries in the franchise were hit or miss, NBA 2K22 deserves recognition for breaking the cycle and exceeding expectations with this release.

GameRev has been provided with a digital download code for the purposes of this review.

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