When 2K Day rolls around every September, it’s as if Christmas has come early. Although the season is still yet to get underway, 2K’s latest offering has everything that will keep you busy for the next month and beyond.
Greeted by a shiny, slick menu there is already reasons to be optimistic about the jump from last year’s match-up. With Skepta’s No Security blaring in the background, both the music choices and game modes offer a vast variety of options to get your teeth into, though there is one standout.
The crowning glory is exactly what was to be expected – MyCareer.
MyCareer lets you create your own player – usually based on one’s self – that then takes you through the trials and tribulations of becoming a pro basketball player in the NBA.
This year’s offering is the best yet, with a cast including Anthony Mackie (Avengers), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) and Rob Huebel (Bob’s Burgers).
Opening with a brief photoshoot, the cleverly incorporated customisation is beyond anything 2K has done. Try the face scan, you won’t (hopefully) be disappointed.
There’s that lack of family love that was ever-present during the likes of Spike Lee’s 2K16 joint with ‘Freq’, though the more damning representation of AI as he trawls through Shanghai makes you far more connected with your player. Unless you’re fluent in Mandarin Chinese, you’ll find yourself much like AI during the prelude in the Chinese Basketball League; unable to grasp the language and relying on your translator to repeat information.
Visually, MyCareer is astounding. At times ‘The Way Back’ comes across as its own movie, with in-depth cutscenes that take you from playing the very first of the NBA 2K Series in a Shanghai arcade to a pick-up game with fans in Fort Wayne. Sometimes the cutscenes do drag and you just about withdraw from skipping some lesser cinematics just to get back into some gameplay, but the graphics on display keep you watching. Once you inevitably make the NBA, you feel as though you have accomplished something with your once-arrogant player.
A new edition to the general gameplay revolves around a concept called ‘NBA Takeover’. In a nutshell, the takeover is based on how a player can, in the most cliched term, grab a game by the scruff of its neck and drive a team to victory. For example, if you’re balling with your MyCareer pro and he’s draining threes like a machine the bar will grow, leading into the takeover. Every player has their own attributes and special abilities and you can either build up multiple takeovers to use all at once, or as you get them. Be wary though, if you make one error the bar will reset.
There’s also a shot meter on layups now, which means those who expect easy makes up against the likes of Rudy Gobert and Marc Gasol will be massively mistaken.
Outside of the polished MyCareer comes MyTeam, which appears from the outset to be a varied version of Fifa’s Ultimate Team. The prospect of gaining bigger and better players for your line-up seems to rely a lot on buying VC (virtual coins) which for the average gamer you wouldn’t want to fork out extra cash to one-up your friends.
There isn’t a massive gulf of quality between NBA2K18 and NBA2K19, yet the latest addition is a step-up in the basketball gaming shindig. With stunning graphics and a MyCareer that leaves the past year’s competition in the dust, NBA2K19 is the must-have basketball game of the year.
NBA 2K19 and NBA2K19 20th Anniversary Edition is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC. Yahoo! Sport UK were given a review copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition.