NBA 2K20 Review – Hitting the Hardcourt

The WNBA Season is coming to an end and the next NBA Season is right around the corner. The folks over at 2K Sports have been hard at work on their annual NBA game. Should you drive through the lane and dunk a copy of NBA 2K20 into your library, or is it just a roster refresh not worthy of your court time?

Read on to find out

The NBA 2K franchise has come a long ways since Allen Iverson first graced the cover back in 1999. A lot of big names in basketball have graced the cover over the last two decades and 2K Sports has tried to add enough bells and whistles to make the game feel new every year and warrant a repurchase by their fans. NBA 2K20 follows that same formula.

Cinematic MyCareer Mode

Story mode for a sports game is usually an after though once a game is built and ready to be played by the masses. Not so with NBA 2K20. 2K Sports went above and beyond what you would expect and brought in A-List actors like Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch, and Lamorne Morris. 2K didn’t just bring in some out of work scrubs, but instead went out and got some pretty big names to do the voice work even used their likeness in the game. The actors did a great job with their voice over work and add to the believability of the story.

The story follows Che, an up and coming basketball star who has to make some big decisions in college that effect his future value in the NBA. It’s a well written storyline, with believable dialogue and real world scenarios, that plays out interestingly. We don’t want to spoil the mode for you, so we will leave the story there.The player growth and development system in MyCareer mode is also pretty deep, and adds even more playability to the game. If you download the NBA 2K20 app for your mobile device, you can also scan your own likeness into the game and use your head in the MyCareer mode. It’s not perfect but it is an option

Improved Graphics and Animations

The story mode and MyCareer mode adds enough value by itself to warrant another purchase of the franchise, but the bells and whistles adding didn’t stop there. 2K Sports took last year’s release and polished it up, reworking gameplay mechanics and animations to give the players a more fluid appearance, with a better visual aspect as well. We did play on a PS4 Pro so that definitely aided the improved graphics, but the animations looked much smoother this year.

Real world player likenesses appear to have taken a step up as well. They didn’t look bad last year, but they seem to have been polished up nicely for this release. Same goes for the courts, the arenas, and the fans in the stands. The fans do a great job of interacting with the players when one of the them inevitably end up falling into the seats. You’ll see folks scrambling to get out of the way, and even some trying to help the player. It’s a nice little addition we haven’t noticed before.

WNBA Included in Play Now and Season Modes

The 2019 WNBA season is wrapping up with the finals between the Mystic and Sun soon to start. Included with NBA 2K20 this year are the full rosters of the WNBA league available in Play Now and Season modes. Every team, every player, every coach, and every arena is available so you can play any match-up you desire or you can take over your favorite WNBA team from their first game of the season, all the way to the WNBA Finals. 2K Sports looks to have spent as much time on these players as they did on the NBA players.

NBA 2KU

For those new to the franchise, or even new to basketball, NBA 2K University is where you need to start. It’s a helpful and educational on-boarding experience that can teach you not only how to control the game, but also how to control your offense and defense, complete with play calling and execution tutorials. You can work on your lay-ups, jump shots, dunks, and three point shooting, learning how to time your button press just right, with the perfect release requiring a bit of practice, and plenty of modes to help you achieve it.

MyTeam

Returning to the franchise is the card based MyTeam mode. You can build a full NBA team based off of digital collectible trading cards. You can then take that team and play challenges to unlock better cards and create a better team. You’ll get some packs to start off with, and have enough players for a full team, but your team will be a pretty weak. Once you feel like you have a decent enough team, take it online against other players and see how you fare. Make sure you visit the mode at least once a day as you’ll not only get a login bonus, but a weeks worth of logins can net you a premium player. Packs can be purchased using in-game currency, which can be purchased with real world cash, so the mode can be a bit of a pay-to-win situation. You can create a competitive team by completing challenges, though, so you don’t have to take the cash shortcut.

The NBA 2K franchise has come a long ways since Allen Iverson first graced the cover back in 1999. As consoles and PCs have evolved into graphical beasts, video games have evolved with them and 2K sports has done a great job of growing and evolving the NBA 2K franchise. NBA 2K20 does an exceptional job of furthering the franchise and 2K Sports continues to add enough bells and whistles to make the game worthy of another purchase.

9


NBA 2K20 review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.