NBA 2K games have long been regarded as the pinnacle of basketball simulation games, providing enthusiasts with an unparalleled experience to live out their basketball dreams. Each year, the game’s release builds upon the successes of the previous title, resulting in an exciting and polished experience that fans have come to expect. However, NBA 2K24 unfortunately fails to live up to these high standards set by its predecessors. This is the first time in a long time that the franchise has disappointed its loyal fanbase. The game is riddled with negative aspects, such as microtransactions and two different versions, and players will soon realize that the game’s polished exterior is merely a facade. As a result, NBA 2K24 fails to provide the authentic and reliable gameplay that was previously a series standard.
The most prominent feature added in NBA 2K24 is the ProPLAY technology, a game engine that is supposed to improve the realism of players in the game, specifically with their movement. You will see improvements with actions like free throws, dunks, jump shots, rebounds, and layups (in addition to most animations). I was impressed with how the realism in NBA 2K24 was taken to the next level by including this new technology. However, the new ProPLAY technology is only available to current-gen platforms, meaning PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 players will miss out. This provides another reason for last-gen players to skip this year’s title.
The game’s in-game presentation has undergone a significant overhaul, resulting in a more immersive and engaging experience for players. The updated ticker, which displays real-time scores and stats, has a modern and professional look, resembling an actual television broadcast. The cutscenes remain the best in the industry, delivering unparalleled realism and excitement. Overall, these updates have significantly improved the game’s presentation, providing players with the closest experience to a live sports broadcast that they can get without actually being there.
Mamba Moments allows you to experience iconic moments from Kobe’s impressive 20-year career by playing through these games firsthand. For example, you’ll be transported to the game against the Dallas Mavericks when Kobe scored 62 points in three quarters. You’ll need to outscore the Mavericks and win the game before the fourth quarter starts. If you are a fan of Kobe, then you’ll enjoy reliving these moments from his career. However, it is odd how Visual Concepts includes these Mamba Moments in-game. Instead of going from the start of Kobe’s career to the end, you will bounce around his career with no rhyme or reason. This may seem like a minor gripe, but it was jarring.
My favorite game modes in sports titles are the modes that let me build my custom player and play through a career that takes my player from a rookie to a pro. There’s just something about it that hits for me, but this wasn’t the case in NBA 2K24. My first disappointment was with the Face Scan app. I’m not so sure exactly what went wrong with it this year, but I tried around 20 times to get a character model that wasn’t bad. Eventually, I settled on customizing a pre-made model since I grew tired of scanning my face.
Once in-game, I quickly realized that my player was severely outmatched in the first game I played. I made a shooting guard for the Nuggets and found that I had to spend all of my virtual currency to buff my player’s stats so he could have a slight chance of staying competitive. This wasn’t an issue since 2K provided us with the Black Mamba Edition for review. However, this isn’t realistic for most players and turns it into a pay-to-win model that ruined my experience.
Finally, there is a lack of a cohesive story in MyCAREER this year, and I wasn’t attached to my player like I was in previous iterations of the game. Instead, I was constantly bombarded and annoyed with the NPCs and game asking me to purchase more virtual currency and in-game content. Typically, I would play my character for the entirety of the NBA season, but I don’t think I will this year.
A tale of two versions – Last-Gen vs. Current-Gen
Unfortunately, for NBA 2K24 on PC, there is nothing positive to talk about. It was released as the last-gen version, which is still used for Xbox One and PS4 platforms but sold at current-gen prices. 2K Sports claims this is because no one buys and plays one of their most popular titles on PC, but this isn’t the case (look at the Steam reviews). What hammers the nail in the coffin of NBA 2K24 on PC is that none of the latest additions in this year’s title is available on PC. For instance, MyCAREER has no story on PC, the old badge system is still in place, and bugs from previous versions still plague it. In addition, hackers are rampant, with 2K not stepping in to address them since the game’s release. If you don’t own a current-gen console, these issues make NBA 2K24 a hard pass.
The Verdict – Timeout
As an avid fan of yearly sports titles, I am always eager to explore what new features and changes of the latest title will set it apart from the rest of the franchise. In the case of NBA 2K24, it has made several noteworthy improvements, like its addition of the ProPLAY technology and a modern approach to the game’s presentation that makes it feel fresh. However, it’s disappointing that the otherwise fantastic simulation experience is marred by the game’s microtransactions, transforming it into a pay-to-win model. Additionally, the fact that NBA 2K24 misses an entire platform (sorry, PC players) makes this year’s title the first time in a long time that the franchise has missed the mark in a major way.
If you are a last-gen player, you can skip this year’s title, as you will miss out on the new features and changes that make it worth the purchase. However, I still find it challenging to recommend NBA 2K24 even for current-gen players because the game’s new features aren’t enough to take away from the fact that it is just a recycled version of last year’s game. Unless you’re a die-hard basketball fan committed to collecting every title in the NBA 2K series, you, too, can skip NBA 2K24.