I’m back reviewing the best basketball game on the market NBA’s 2K19. This review is coming from a novice because it’s my first NBA game and I haven’t played much basketball here in England. However, this game was very welcoming in most aspects to a new player and really allowed me to access and enjoy it! So, with that in mind let’s get into the review.
The gameplay is very realistic and reflects the true sport. What I mean by this is the actions of the players on the court, the small nuances and tiny tricks they pull off resemble that of the true game. There is a lot of detail that makes this game feel almost like a sim especially the way everyone interacts with the ball. Also, the game felt very physical as you have to sometimes push through people or hands and elbows come out when controlling the ball. This leads further to the great gameplay that is in this game and I cannot praise the gameplay high enough when it comes to the action on the court.
Something I appreciated but couldn’t take full advantage of was knowledge of the characters. The AI is very smart and every player handles differently which must have taken a lot of work to do and get right! The AI characters act like the person they are modelled after and resemble their individual playstyles. This is why some defences can be really aggressive and certain players link up well and have unique skill moves. So, if you’re someone who follows basketball closely then you can take full advantage of this!
This unique player behaviour is at its best in Myteam! It was very fun to create a dream team in Myteam (I definitely used the internet to help me out here). While I didn’t know the players all that well looking through their stats and history to try and integrate players and see what worked took up a lot of my time but I loved every second! Playing with names I recognised was fun as a new player and I got to learn a lot from this game mode! While Myteam is very fun there is a problem that really holds this game back and it’s the same for all these big sports games… microtransactions.
The virtual currency is a problem in the game because acquiring it was a huge grind. It forces you to value your time, do I send like 3 days grinding to upgrade or customise a player or just spend £20 and play the game how I want to straight away. It defiantly feels like it is pay to win with upgrades and the card packs which have been under much scrutiny from a multitude of different countries, most notably Belgium. What’s worse is it also feels like pay to have fun when it comes to the cosmetics customisations because every little thing is purchasable with the in-game currency and therefore real-world money. While the gameplay is very fun these microtransactions left a bad taste in my mouth and really stood out to me. Especially as a new player, they felt almost necessary.
Speaking of the customisation items the ones that stood out to me were tattoo’s (by far the best and most interesting) t-shirts, haircut, and shoes. These remind me of my time in GTA getting my character just right which was loads of fun. The same is true in this game but you have to grind for every one of these items. In GTA you can rob a bank which is fun for the items but in NBA you have to grind or pay real money which takes the joy out of it. I know the comparison is not really fair but nor is pushing microtransactions to an unwanted level.
Career mode or Mycareer is simple and fun. I like the verity in options of heads you can choose and being to play as your favourite team is always good and exciting! The mode is well made and simple enough to use so even I could get my career off the ground.
The Neighbourhood is a new area in the game that creates a populated world while hiding loading screens. I like this because even just running around aimlessly (Assassins Creed) is more fun than watching a bar move across the screen. The reason that I say the game feels populated is that you run around an open world space with a bunch of other people and I like this especially since its 2Ks first attempt at this in an NBA game. Trying to build up your player to a 99 overall rating is challenging but rewarding. From the neighbourhood, you can access different game modes and mini-games in 2K zone which is a bit more laid back and worth a play! It’s something new and again for a first attempt its good! The risks in this game are paying.
On the other hand, MyGM, in my opinion, was pretty underwhelming. While I did like the concept of this game mode not being able to upload custom rosters and too many cutscenes ruined it for me. It is a single player story that has some pretty cringe-worthy audio. While the dialogue can be funny most of the time it doesn’t seem intentional. As a manager, you try and improve the team in every way possible and if you like a more analytical focus to basketball then this may be a good game mode for you. Unfortunately, it didn’t strike me as anything impressive and I expected more.
Something I defiantly liked and anyone else who is just starting is the game tries to help new people who are just picking up this game for the first time. Honestly, I’m annoyed I haven’t played it before! The controls are quite intuitive and explained regardless and their tutorials and assists help without feeling too intrusive. One issue I had as a newbie was the foul rule. I didn’t fully understand and the game was pretty harsh in punishing and not explaining which broke up a lot of play. If you have played this game before though it shouldn’t be an issue.
Not only does the game look good but the character modes resemble the real players. I googled some players on my team to look up their stats and history to help with My team. I noticed straight away they were easily recognisable due to how accurate the resemblances are. The courts look good and you can even see the sweat on players so the game looks as realistic as possible.
The commentators are very good and react to your plays which I enjoyed, especially because they let me know if what I was doing was great or just plain dumb! The dialogue in the story mode like I said above needs improvement but the actual voice acting was pretty good.
The in-game music is exactly what you should expect from this game with just updated and better tracks. It definitely hyped me up before a game and it won’t disappoint any long running fan of the series.
My team and the neighbourhood are just two very good reasons to keep coming back. There is a lot to do in this game with a verity of different modes so you can really pick and choose what to play depending on your taste. My team, similar to FIFA’s Ultimate team offers the most replay value constantly trying to upgrade your team and be the best. I know it was very addictive for me and adds a lot of longevity to the game!
Overall/ Final thoughts
This is the section I wanted to write the least because I have to reflect on all the good parts of the game and the bad. There is a lot and I mean a lot of good in the game, way more than bad! The game takes chances with new modes and ideas and I like that it is trying to evolve and cater to more people and help new ones. This is the best platform to play basketball on anywhere in my opinion because the gameplay is just so good in every way from the handling to the plays and interactions with the players. This is why the fact microtransactions have such a dominant place in the game is so hard to admit and despite all the greatness, it doesn’t justify them. To enjoy the customisations and the Myteam experience you have to spend money or its just one massive grind and stops being fun which a game should never do. The good does outweigh the bad fortunately because I do truly like NBA.