NBA 2K21 Next Gen Review – The Future is Fast Loading

The next generation of gaming is finally upon us (for those that managed to nab a console) and with the PlayStation 5 and XBOX Series X comes upgrades from last gen titles. NBA 2K21 has recently been unleashed for next gen consoles, and we’ve been working our way through High School and to the NCAA Championship game on our shiny new PS5, on our way to the NBA Draft. Is the upgrade worth your time, or is last gen good enough for now?

Read on to find out.


With the new console releases we are also seeing a bunch of games getting free upgrades. While some may just be basically remastered titles, others have been rebuilt from the ground up, utilizing all of the new available tech and power that comes with these new consoles. 2K Sports rebuilt NBA 2K21 to harness this new tech, and the differences are pretty apparent.

NBA 2K21 MyCareer – From High School to the NBA

NBA 2K21‘s career mode gives you the opportunity to create a player and control his career from High School, all the way to and through the NBA. You can skip college and go to the G League, or choose from some pretty big name schools to better yourself before taking that huge leap. The story for the career mode has you in the shadow of your father, who was a pretty good player in his time, and pits you against your lifelong childhood friend as your main rival. The story, overall, is well written but the acting can be a little stiff at times. You’ll have several opportunities to make life changing decisions, and some felt a little forced. There’s one where you and your college girlfriend get into a squabble and the game asks if you want to just say screw it and declare for the draft. It is a very entertaining mode, albeit forced at times. If you do choose the college route, you can play up to four seasons of college ball before declaring for the NBA draft.

How well you perform early on in your career is dependent upon your in-game stats. The game gives you a limited number of upgrade points to spread around for this, and you’ll need to balance them out dependent upon the type of role player you want to be, but only through gameplay and the in-game Virtual Currency (VC) will you be able to improve these numbers. The NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever edition gives you 100K VC and an extra 60 MyCareer skill points, so that could give your player a nice little boost to start you off. Your overall rating is capped to start, and as you play through the game this cap will go up. If you want to further jump start your character, you can purchase more VC with real world money, but it’s not needed as you’ll earn VC from just playing the game. Some folks might appreciate the shortcut, though.

NBA 2K21 Next Gen – Almost no Loading time

One of the first things we noticed with NBA 2K21 Next Gen was how fast you can get into a game. Everything loads almost instantly, and you can go from launching the game on the console to shooting hoops in a NBA or WNBA game in seconds. It will take you longer to decide who you want to play as and who your match up will be than it will take to get into a game. Load times on the PS5 are non-existent. The game seems about as optimized as it could be on that internal SSD.

Once you are in a game, the gameplay is not only a sight to behold, but runs as smooth as possible. The graphics on our 4K TV are some of the best we have ever seen in a sports based video game. Character models are the spot on image of their real world likenesses, with animations that match perfectly. Whether a character is driving to the hoop or just setting up their offense at the top of the key, the game looks almost lifelike. Falling into the crowd with fan interactions adds another level to these lifelike animations. While the game did look and run great on the PS4, it looks and runs even better on the PS5


For those that enjoy running through a season or more and controlling your franchise, NBA 2K21 MyNBA and MyWNBA gives you the chance to be as busy as you want to be within an organization. You can run through a simple season, where your main focus is just playing games, or you can can go all the way up to a full RPG as the owner and GM of a team (or teams) and manage every aspect of an NBA organization. It’s really as in-depth as you want it to be, with many options to choose from. The pre-set options sum it up pretty good, but even these are adjustable to give you more or less control, depending on what you want. There’s also a MyWNBA and a MyCareer mode for the WNBA called The W.


NBA 2K21 MyTeam

If you played NBA 2K21 on a last gen console, you probably already started your MyTeam card collection. If so, these carry over to Next Gen. If not, this mode allows you to collect trading cards of past and present NBA players, and then wield them on an NBA court either in solo challenges or online against other MyTeam players. This is an ever expanding mode, that has new weekly and daily challenges, that will test your skill and allow you to build a better and better team by unlocking new packs and new cards. The 2K developers pour a lot of time into this mode, and continue to add to it throughout the games life cycle. They really go above and beyond to give players new content often.

Developer 2K Sports took what was already a great game on last gen consoles, and turned it into a must have sports title for next gen console owners. Not only does it showcase the next gen graphics, but also showcases the next gen power and speed of the PlayStation 5.


NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro and a PlayStation 5. For more information on scoring, please read: What our review scores really mean.