NBA 2K21: A Cookie-Cutter 2K Update


Patrick Heydasch

Is 2K21, the latest from 2K sports, the same as the last, only $60 more?

Patrick Heydasch, Staff Writer

Release Date: September 3, 2020

Created by: Visual Concepts, 2K Sports

Starring: Damian Lillard, Will Blagrove, Zion Williamson

Our Rating: C+

2K, an American video game publisher, has released their latest in the National Basketball Association series of games which have been the staple of basketball simulation for decades. Being able to create your own player, buy whatever clothing and accessories you want, and hooping however you want have been some of the many advantages of playing 2K titles. Unfortunately, with 2K’s latest basketball simulation, “2K21” feels like a rehash of the previous 2K installment, failing to innovate the franchise.

Continuing, the most significant component to any 2k model–the Basketball Game– can still be fun and competitive as the previous game. However it feels too similar to the previous entries. Only less than a handful of features were added to the latest game, the most controversial one being shot-stick aiming. Shot-stick aiming is a new optional way to aim while shooting, by using the joystick to line up a small line in the center of a meter. The new mechanic is challenging and requires hours of practice to master, when you can instead use the regular shooting mechanic and get the same results. It caused heavy controversy due to players not understanding the hard-to-master mechanic. Another new feature, called “The Neighborhood,” was implemented based on Venice Beach. The open park, where you can play pick up games against online players, is colorful, vibrant and a breath of fresh air compared to the previous park.

“The new shooting mechanic is fifty-fifty, as it barely functions, and lags at the most important time.” sophomore Carlos Rocha said.

Additionally, the most popular game mode, “MyCareer,” is the heart of NBA 2K games. Being able to create your own player and customize them however you want, has never been done before in a basketball game. It is obvious to see why “MyCareer” has been the staple of every 2K game. In 2K21’s MyCareer story mode, you follow the path of Junior, an up-and-coming basketball star in the shadow of his deceased legendary dad. The main issue of this story is how poorly written it is. Many side characters are left undeveloped and uninteresting and specific actions you take are hyped up as extremely important, but do not even matter right after. Thankfully, after you get drafted, the boring cutscenes and dialogue are over. While playing in the NBA, just about everything is the same as the previous year’s model. Maybe a sponsor has changed, yet that is the only noticeable difference. The graphics, commentators, hairstyles, clothing and tattoos for the characters are the same as 2K20.

“I am extremely disappointed at how uncreative 2K is with their new games, it creates a sense of distrust as for $60, we get the exact product as last year.” sophomore Nathaniel Leiva said.

Overall, playing MyCareer Neighborhood pickup games with friends will always be a blast; even if the game is the same as last year. If you are a person who enjoys the aspect of simulation and creating your dream NBA team with multiple hooping legends in MyTeam, you are better off buying a previous game and downloading the latest team rosters, as it is not worth the extra money.
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