Title: NBA 2K19
Format: PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: 2K Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
The Grade: A -
NBA 2K19 Haiku Review
So many fun things to do
The king is still king
What is it?: A basketball video game sim from 2K Sports. “NBA 2K19” is a celebration of the franchise’s 20th anniversary and publisher 2K Sports and developer Virtual Concepts have truly stepped up their game. It’s quite possible "NBA 2K19" is their best offering yet.
Highs: “NBA 2K19” has several fun modes to scratch your hoops itch. My Team, always an enjoyable destination, brings basketball cards to life. Collect cards of your favorite players and mix and match them to create your own team on the court. A ton of unlockables, from uniforms to shoes to rewards, make this a fun destination for wannabe GMs.
My League has also returned, allowing gamers to play out their hoop dreams over multiple seasons. If you want to run all aspects of an existing franchise, from finances to staff decisions, you can do that. If you want to just play through the playoffs, play a single NBA season or up to 80 seasons, you can do that too. You can even create your own expansion team or use one of the many historic NBA teams available. My League is a great way to go down a ridiculously deep basketball rabbit hole.
But wait, there’s more! Gamers can relive the action from a day of NBA matchups by playing them in the game. Players can learn about hoops from 2KU. You can even play street ball. And almost all of these things can be done online with friends or against random people. There’s so much to do!
Despite so many choices I kept coming back to My Career, which is the highlight of this year’s 2K iteration. I’ve long had a love/hate history with this mode in “NBA 2K” titles, but not this year. While it still has some issues (you have to fight through several moving screens and your character is a bit of a jerk), everything about this mode has improved by leaps and bounds. The story is more engaging than ever before, the journey your player takes over his career is fascinating (Who knew the Fort Wayne Mad Ants were real?) and the touches of humor are spot on. A ridiculously deep mode, I just kept coming back to My Career again and again.
Lows: My Career has been vastly improved but building your player from scrub to all-star can be a grind. The grading system remains harsh, and your player can be scored negatively for things even when you’re in the right position. Also, you lose more points for simple mistakes than you earn for a positive play. This was frustrating, up until my player was ranked high enough to overcome any minor mistakes. Still, playing scared because you’re afraid to make a mistake can be annoying.
The Grade: Despite some minor issues, I had a blast with “NBA 2K19.” This title is a fitting tribute to an excellent franchise.
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.