Friday 12 October 2018

NBA 2K19 ★★★★☆

It’s finally here! The new NBA season is almost upon us. Well, if you’re reading this after October 16th, we’re already underway and about to see if Lebrons move to the Lakers this summer was the right one. But that aside, what we do have is the latest edition of NBA 2k, now heading into its twentieth year. To put into perspective how long this franchise has been around, the cover star of the standard edition, Giannis Antetokounmpo, had just turned 5 years old when the first edition was released in the U.S back in 1999. The cover star of that edition on the Dreamcast, Allen ‘The Answer’ Iverson, has now been a Hall of Famer for two years! Pick up this game and you’ll immediately see why it’s been around for so long.

Having a flick through the teams during a quick game, before I pour hours of my life away in MyCareer mode, so far as I can see they have all the late summer trades in the bag and appointed all the right players to their given teams. Following last year's 2k18 release, the first print of the cover had Kyrie Irving in a Cavs jersey, but not long after this, he was controversially traded to the Celtics, resulting in a cover reprint. #NBAtradelife

But the game?

What hits you immediately in MyCareer mode is the story. What it attempts to do, and does a very good job of, is making you feel like you have earned your spot in the league, if and when you get there. Your character, ‘A.I’, an undrafted, down and out semi-professional basketball player playing in China, must work his way back into the eyes of the league, proving his former teammates and naysayers wrong. At times the cutscenes (which are skippable) can seem a little long winded, but if you really want to experience the core of this particular mode, it’s worth every second.

If I’m being completely honest, the mechanics and animations in this years game are what make this game fantastic and are like none other that I’ve ever experienced.. Each player has their own signature moves and celebrations. From Melo’s ‘3 to the Dome’ to Curry’s incessant mouthguard chewing, these are just the little differences that make this franchise stand out from any other. One of the main features 2k has added is the Takeover bar, not unlike when a player gets ‘hot’ and takes over a game in the real world, you can now fill the Takeover bar and boost yours and your team's performance. Really though, when it comes down to it, the game will give you as much as you are willing to put in. Much like real basketball, I guess.

All in all, NBA 2k has done it again, fine-tuning what few flaws it had and really giving you the power and everything you need to submerge yourself in the world of the NBA whilst being a lot more precise in its mechanics. Play smart, the game rewards you. Play badly and make poor decisions, the game will punish you for it. 

I can see why the majority of people still call the 2k games the most authentic basketball simulators on the market. Although if they want to make it 100% authentic, it could simulate my actual chances of getting to the NBA and just have me playing in a recreational league in Elephant & Castle in my early 30’s. But who would play that?

Jake Bexx

NBA 2K19 at CeX

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