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Game review: NBA 2K20 (PS4) makes you work for success

27 Sep 2019
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2K continue to push the envelope to give us yet another slick, gorgeous-looking entry to their long-running basketball franchise.

NBA 2K20’s gameplay is fast. And I found this more than a little daunting it having been a while since I last played an NBA 2K game. Compared to EA’s rival NBA Live series, NBA 2K doesn’t take prisoners. Whereas EA’s basketball games are easy to get into, they lack the depth compared to 2K’s games. The downside is that NBA 2K games really make you work for success.

NBA 2K20 comes with all the usual trapping that you’d expect of a modern sports simulation. You can jump straight into a game via the PlayNow option. Here you can select to play a game as any NBA or WNBA team either against the AI or an online opponent. As well as a regular basketball game you can also play a custom 1-on-1, 2-to-3 etc. on an outdoor court in Blacktop. There’s also an in-depth training mode, 2KU.

I headed straight to the 2KU to try and get back in shape so I could at least give the game’s AI some competition. The game’s drills and practice sessions are a necessary evil, especially if you’ve been out of the game for a while.

I’m a sucker for EA’s Ultimate Team mode and so NBA 2K20’s equivalent MyTeam drew me straight in. Whilst I lack any intimate knowledge of basketball, earning cards to build my fantasy team is very moreish. I’m no fan of microtransactions, but as an amateur MyTeam player I was able to earn enough cards just by playing to satisfy my game expectations. More hardcore fans may find it difficult not to reach into their pockets for more card packs.

This year’s MyCareer single-player game, “When the Lights are Brightest”, is basically an interactive basketball movie. It’s produced in association with LeBron James’s company Springhill Entertainment and stars Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson and a host of NBA stars, past and present.

Players take on the role of college basketball star, Che. Although you can rename him and change his face, he remains to be known as Che with a voice that just didn’t suit the dead-eyed, pasty-faced pretty-boy that I botched together in the MyPlayer mode.

The MyCareer is more drama than game. But it’s not bad and does gently ease players into the NBA 2K20 gameplay. Veteran players may find the mode a bit pedestrian, both the drama and the gameplay.

MyLeague is probably where players well versed in NBA 2K games will probably spend most of their time. As well as offering players a full 80-year basketball league experience, players can take on the role of a GM, take their league experience online, partake in a WNBA or NBA season or just play the pre-season playoffs. 

NBA 2K20 is certainly a looker. As well as the annual roster update, 2K seem to have given the game a polish. It looks gobsmacking running on a PS4 Pro in 4K. The stadiums look amazing and the player animations pretty-much flawless. The game presentation is also polished beyond belief

NBA 2K20 is the pinnacle of basketball game franchises. It’s not an easy game to play, but with practise is offers players a very rewarding and exciting, edge-of-seat gameplay experience.

Verdict: 8.5/10