When you’re the top basketball game in the market it’s easy to get complacent, but to NBA 2K’s credit they’ve continued to improve. However, with a new game, breeds new expectations, so is NBA 2K20 ready to meet them, or coast by on their name?

NBA 2K20 Review

Presentation

The new intros as you start an NBA game in 2K20 are a welcomed addition to the series as we now see players walking into the arena or on their phones in the locker room before a game. We are even treated to new in game overlays as well, as they continue to improve on their own broadcast package

Graphically they continue to lead the pack in sports gaming as far as realistic scans, lighting, tattoos and the much laughed about this offseason sweat. They’re definitely in a league of their own as far as bringing your favorite players to life.

Gameplay

A lot was overhauled as far as gameplay goes, and it shows the moment you hit the hardwood.

The differences in speed are apparent right away with players. It’s quite fun watching DeAron Fox zoom down the court and blowing by guys much slower then him, and with the new foot planting, good luck trying to guard them as one wrong steal attempt and you’re dust.

Shooting is a touchy subject. Should it be patched or do you need to get good? Because as it’s currently constructed, non-greens are heavily penalized the further from the basket you are this year. Even the best shooters have the strong possibility of shooting Finals Kobe 6 for 24 numbers on non-greens. I’ve become way too comfortable knowing if I don’t see that they greened a shot that they’re going to miss it

And while shooting has been an adventure, dribbling has been nothing but fun for me. Figuring out different moves with the left and right sticks has been as enjoyable as ever. Watching quicker guys just absolutely cause havoc against their defender with their quick first step while the slower guys will see you have to be more methodical in how you beat them off the dribble has been fun. The differences in speed and foot planting has made mismatches almost an automatic bucket. Long gone are the days of non-mobile bigs covering quicker guards.

That said, the biggest improvement has been the pick-and-roll, and I’ll just say, it should be feared this year. The upgraded collision system forces you to dig deep in your pick-and-roll defensive schemes to properly defend against it instead of trusting yourself to go over or under the screen and still defend because the screener will wipe you out or create enough room where the ball handler can shoot. And because of the foot planting and speed differences, you have to really be careful who you have hedging screens or switching now as well because if you play a guy who knows what they’re doing you, will get scored on if you’re throwing just any big guy out there on the court.

As far as playing the computer goes, I was in love with how dangerous the computer was in the pick-and-roll game as well.  The screener would pop out one play then roll to the hoop the next,  or the point guard would surgically maneuver into the paint and find an open guy in the corner. Playing a heavy pick-and-roll team is now a huge task for the user.

The computer still has some warts, though. The double team logic needs a fix ASAP as numerous times I would get four or six points in a row in game, and the computer is throwing doubles my way now. I mean I get you want to stop the hot guy but I have six points guys, chill out.

Also, the new gather feature that lets you redirect yourself after you start your move has been a lot of fun — knifing through the defender one way then finishing back the other while not being overpowered because you will still get into trouble if you blindly rely on this to get you buckets.

Lastly let’s talk about the on-ball defense. I feel it’ll need some tweaking because as it’s currently constructed, if you don’t have a prime all-NBA first team defender it’s nearly impossible to stay in front of any ball handler with how slow players are to react and move against the guys who have even an ounce of speed. The skill gap is huge for on ball defense this year.

Game Modes

WNBA

One of the best things you will find in NBA 2K20 is the inclusion of the WNBA, who have their very own Play Now and Season modes.. The 2K team deserves a lot of credit for how much care was put into the WNBA side of the game. For their first go-around with the league, it’s amazing to see the attention to detail that’s paid here. From having their very own commentary team, that go into little spiels about the players, to having their own different animations and detailed face scans, the WNBA’s presence is felt. I’m amazed with all that they have done in on year, that their competitor was unable to do in two

MyGm

For the MyGm’ers who wanted to control one team and have a MyLeague-esque mode with RPG elements, MyGM sadly has taken a major step back . I was interested in the thought of online leaderboards, but it appears to have been introduced at the sacrifice of customizability for the user. It makes sense having an online leaderboard — you want everybody to be on equal footing as far as settings and things of that nature go — but is that really what MyGM players want? In chasing uniformity, they went a little too far with it. It really feels like they turned their back on Offline MyGM guys here with them even taking away the option of choosing which MyGM experience you wanted that was in last year’s game

The action point system has been a disappointment as well as you need these to even do the most basic of things; you actually aren’t allowed to play your next game if you don’t have an action point. This means your game ends up simulated.

What has kept guys in MyGM over MyLeague has sadly been stripped away in favor of the competitive online dynamic. Stuff liked being unable to change opponents jerseys and being unable to change how long the games are is a gross oversight of what the fans of MyGM truly want, which is customizability to shape the league how they want. They were better off leaving this one alone.

MyLeague

MyLeague Offline brings back a lot of what you expect as far as features go, but some of the stuff under the hood were unable to keep the status quo.

The simulation stats sadly took a step back, especially as you advance further in your MyLeague journey. High volume scorers all shoot like Steph Curry nailing 50 percent from the field and 40 from 3pt range regularly, whereas a bunch of guys are nailing field goal percentages even 10 points higher than their career averages. There were even some super wild ones like Ben Simmons, as much as I would like it, shooting like a prime Shaq from the field as he constantly flirted with 70% field goal numbers on high volume

Free Agency has also taken a step back, as guys who just got drafted this year are let go from their teams way too early, becoming unrestricted free agents, and big name guys aren’t being retained by their teams in the prime of the careers. A lesser one but still notable is young players still signing with teams who you would think are fine at that position.

My Team

I love the attention MyTeam received this year, and the abundance of options available to the player to obtain free cards is very attractive to the no money spent crowd. Evolution Cards are a fun addition to the mode and make even the lesser known players popular cards due to them being Evo cards. On top of that, the player lock feature is a very welcomed addition.

The single player guys will have more fun in MyTeam this year as well due to the attention paid to Triple Threat Single Player that gives you adequate rewards for playing.

The controversial casino-esque aspects of the mode may be problematic for some, but is a small part of a vast enjoyable mode that 2K20 has put forth this year.

My Career

Lastly, the MyPlayer Builder and the changes to the badge system creates way more customization to your MyPlayer than ever before, where they now encourage you to have multiple builds. While we were shown a bunch of arcady things that would be coming to 2K20 neighborhood this year, all it does is add a nice alternative to the super competitive games and gameplay that 2K is known for.

The influence of LeBron James and his team on the storyline in this year’s game is apparent, and does a great job of showcasing what the path to the NBA is actually like for a player as you go through the draft process, with help from the likes of Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson and the guy from Silicon Valley. The story may drag a bit for the guys who just want to get to the NBA and run to The Neighborhood, but the story is a good one.

Verdict

I’m not going to ignore the numerous issues that has plagued the game since launch that caused a hashtag to spread like wildfire. Whether it be from the numerous MyPlayer issues or the constant server errors when loading into MyTeam Triple Threat or Play Now Online, it’s been a problem. And although some things have been fixed and more will be addressed in the near future, it gives serious doubt to the long-standing problem that has plagued 2K for years, which is their servers. If you have weak servers it can greatly affect the things you do well. MyTeam and MyPlayer have never been better, and the changes to the dribbling and foot planting has caused offense to be fun while not being mindless like the year of the blow by was. If we are officially though the weeds as far as all the issues go, the game can stand on its own as one of the best in the series; if not we are in for a long year.


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  • Presentation
  • Gameplay
  • Game Modes
  • Longevity
Overall
4.19