Title: NBA 2K20
Format: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
The Grade: B+
NBA 2K20 Haiku Review
Gameplay is superb
MyCareer with Idris? Sweet!
Oh, no! Loot boxes
What is it? A basketball video game sim from the hoops specialists at 2K Sports. Gamers once again have a multitude of ways to get their basketball fix. Tried and true classic modes have been updated to go along with several new features.
Highs: If variety is the spice of life, “NBA 2K20” is an entire spice rack. The game contains so much content it’s almost overwhelming.
MyLeague returns and allows gamers to control the NBA from every angle. If you want to run all aspects of an existing franchise, from finances to staff decisions, it’s up to you. If you want to just play through the playoffs, play a single NBA season or up to 80 seasons, you can do that too.
New to MyLeague this year is the addition of the WNBA. Players can take control of any of the 12 WNBA teams and play through an entire season. New skill trees and a ton of customization options make this a fun mode to dive into.
Basketball cards again come to life in MyTeam mode. Here’s where gamers collect cards of current and former players and create their own Dream Teams. Three-on-three and five-on-five games against league greats is a blast but I enjoyed the challenges in MyTeam the most. Many change weekly so there’s always a reason to come back and build on the greatness of the Colorado Springs Chinooks, my created team in MyTeam.
Of course, the heart and soul of “NBA 2K20” is MyCareer mode, where you work your way up to become an NBA legend in the game’s single player story. This time around you play as Che, a star player for the Bay City Flames, a college team out of Riverside. Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch help guide you through your challenging journey. A bevy of NBA players also make appearances. I found it engaging, fun and with just the right amount of humor.
Even though the grading is still a little too stringent for my liking, I found MyCareer addictive. In fact, this is the most fun I’ve had with this mode in years.
Probably the most noticeable improvement is in “NBA 2K20’s” gameplay, which is reflected in every mode. Dribbling, shooting and defensive controls have all been refined, making you feel like you’re truly part of the action. This is probably the smoothest 2K hoops title yet.
Lows: In-game purchases are available in both MyTeam and MyCareer mode. I don’t have an issue with them in MyCareer as the points go to accelerating the progress of your player. They’re not required, they just speed up the process. It’s a pretty straightforward transaction. If you want to do it and are willing to pay for it, fine. MyTeam works differently.
In MyTeam transactions are also optional but what you’re purchasing isn’t clear. Maybe you’d really like a star player like Dominique Wilkins to add to your roster, so you purchase a card pack. But the chances of you ending up with what or who you want isn’t guaranteed. This doesn’t really matter if you’re using only currency you’ve earned through playing the game. But if you’ve made a purchase with real world money and end up getting some basketball shoes and a uniform instead of a useful player you’re essentially gambling and lost your money.
Making matters worse is the design of the MyTeam area. It’s neon and full of games of chance. Considering how critical gamers are of loot boxes and gambling mechanics, and rightfully so, having them in the game is just flat out off-putting.
The Grade: Despite the nagging issue of a feature I avoided, I still had a blast with “NBA 2K20.” This game was created with the basketball lover in mind.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.