Over the years the NBA 2K franchise has been the premier NBA video game experience that millions of players across the world have had the opportunity to experience and enjoy. NBA 2K19 continues that yearly tradition by providing players with various ways to enjoy the game of basketball across a variety of different modes and options. I won’t be discussing every nook of what this game has to offer as I will be discussing only the modes that I have spent time with the most while touching on others. So, without further ado, let’s get right into what 2K19 has to offer.
The first thing I love right away is the UI. The game’s menus are much slicker than previous installments. Navigating between the different modes is a lot quicker and easier than it ever has been. Five tabs at the top of the screen allow for quick movement between menu screens with an option for Play Now, MyCareer, MyTeam, MyLeague, 2KTV and Options/Features. Play Now is the games landing menu so you can start a quick game very quickly. This is also where you will be able to play against others online where you can control either a team or a single player on a team, head into 2KU to brush up on your skills or for those that are new to the series, Blacktop where you can play numerous street basketball and Play with friends option that allows you to invite friends to play a game.
The graphics in 2K19 are very fluid and player detection has greatly improved over previous years where players will bump into each other and screens being set don’t look as sloppy as they did before. The Create a Player (CAP) has even more customizable options than before and you can also use the 2K app to upload your own face the same as you have before. I really love the CAP this year as the character models have a lot more shine to them and do not look as generic as they have before. When starting off your MyCareer it takes you through the process of picking your MyPlayers stats and also something new to 2K19, the Archetype System. This year players have a Primary and a Secondary Archetype Skill.
For example, the player I created is modeled after Stephen Curry so my primary skill is 3-Point Shooting whereas my secondary skill is Shot Creating. You can mix and match different skills to create whatever unique player that you wish which can make for some interesting players you can create. This feature also goes hand in hand with the new Takeover System which will allow players the ability to use their skills to the limit and lockdown defense or set up incredible plays depending on what your skills are set to. This can make an impossible comeback really seem possible such as those seen each season in real life.
The MyLeague tab features all of your “season” type options such as the returning story mode found in MyGM, your very own MyLeague and also MyLeague online which allows you to make changes with other team owners in real time and even have a live NBA Draft. MyTeam mode comes back again this year with even more legends and player than ever before. As well as the Unlimited tournament that you can qualify for to play others face-to-face for some prize money which makes for some amazing competition. However, there are a lot of things that I have found about 2K19 this year that I am not satisfied with that make this game a bit of a disappointment to me.
Last year, there were a lot of complaints about just how much of a grind the game was when it came to MyCareer and leveling up your MyPlayer. Sure, there are a few improvements to this in 2K19 such as not being charged VC, which is the currency used for everything in 2K19, but there is so much advertisement in the game and so much in your face means of wanting people to spend actual money on getting more VC. The review copy I was provided with of the game was the snazzy 20th Anniversary Edition of the game which provides you with 100K VC to spend. This basically allows you to upgrade your player to an overall 75 which will help you get past the Prelude and G-League games in MyCareer, however, once you’re past all of that is when all the VC ads and pressure to spend money on VC is in your face.
I am not a fan by any means of loot boxes in video games and neither are a majority of gamers. Sure, I play a lot of Madden and play Ultimate Team, but it seems that in NBA 2K19 you can definitely tell where their heart was at when you see VC next to just about everything. You can’t even quit MyCareer mode without having a “Get VC” option right below it. The grind in MyCareer is absolutely ridiculous so for those planning on never purchasing VC to level up your player, be prepared to spend hours upon hours grinding just to gain VC because it is not very plentiful. In a gaming world where microtransactions are the enemy, they are insanely dominant here. There is even a wheel that you can spin one a day to earn something for free that resembles those from a majority of mobile games that are heavily pay-to-win which is exactly what this game is. If you wish to not spend any money on VC for your player be prepared to face some very stiff competition because if you don’t spend the money you probably won’t get very far in the Neighborhood 2.0 which returns again this year.
One other thing that was rather upsetting was the number of loading times in the game. With the game connected online and pretty much being a necessary requirement to enjoy all of what the game has to offer. I found that the game always has to load anytime you press the Guide button on the Xbox One controller and takes away from the immersion of the game with not being able to get quickly back into the action. There is about a 10-15 second delay from when you go back to the game after pressing the Guide button for the game to load back up and be able to play again.
I have been impressed with the amount of shine this year’s NBA 2K has in it. With some very improved modes, seamless gameplay and the amount of different MyPlayer creation options does give an overall newness to the series. However, it doesn’t quite make up for the sheer amount of heavily focused attention 2K makes on trying to get gamers to spend more and more money on micro-transactions. I hope that this is something that 2K can and will improve upon down the road because it makes playing the game seem as if it is a pay-to-win which are the kind of games I cannot stand and I don’t want to see that kind of culture slip more and more into gaming, especially into sports games where competition should be based on skill alone and not how much someone has to spend.
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I’ve been writing and covering many forms of entertainment such as comedy shows, and arcade bars as well as reviewing video games and more for the past decade. I love to write and I am blessed to be able to have the opportunities that I have had in the entertainment and technology fields.