It is very easy to hate on Visual Concept’s NBA 2K series. While it has pushed the boundaries for sports simulations for well over a decade, it is still far from perfect in 2020. There are a lot of microtransactions and the same loot box and pay to play mechanics that have plagued EA’s FIFA and Madden games are present here too, though not as much.
The annual grind of MyTeam and MyPlayer modes gets stale pretty quickly. Gameplay tweaks like this year’s update to the shot stick appear to create more problems than they solve. These issues have lingered for a few years and it is a disappointment that Visual Concepts have not yet addressed them. But if there is one area where the game looks unassailable, it is in the graphics department.
As someone who has played sports sims going all the way back to NBA Live 98’ on the PlayStation 1, I feel qualified to say that this will be the best-looking sports game out the gate for next-gen consoles. The scene of Luka Doncic making his way to court for warmups looks startlingly good.
The player models look better than ever (though their movements look a little heavier than their real-life counterparts). It looks like they’ve really nailed the court environments and the lighting overall looks great. fantastic.
I am struggling to justify buying a next-gen console (at least for this year), but the look of this game makes a strong case for going with a PS5 or Xbox Series X if you are a 2K fan. Sure those issues from past seasons are likely to linger, but if Visual Concepts put as much work into refining the gameplay as they did the visuals, we should be getting a great game. NBA 2K21 will drop at launch for the PS5 (Nov.12) and the Series S/X (Nov.10).