In the world of video games, there has long been only one King of Basketball. Visual Concepts has no rival to 2K’s proposal because it doesn’t even have a shadow. In fact, it’s the only representation of the beautiful game in America since EA’s ill-fated NBA Live never recovered.
Therefore, year after year, “NBA 2K” has become the only choice to enjoy the new season of NBA superstars. But just because it doesn’t have competitors doesn’t mean it’s resting on its laurels like other franchises or companies. Far from that, Visual Concepts launches new features every year in terms of game modes, gameplay, etc.
“NBA 2K24” is no exception Continuing the quest to perfect a formula that has proven effective over the years. But, nonetheless, this is a formula that abuses microtransactions. This common evil is still very much alive and rewards those who spend more money on players and improvements. This effect overshadows other new features, such as the inclusion of Mamba Moments, a series of challenges honoring the late Kobe Bryant. We will discuss all of this in the course of our analysis of this game, which again is simple to play. Pick-and-roll and pallet boarding, let’s not complicate our lives.
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The most novel aspect of NBA 2K24 in this regard is ProPLAY, a new system that makes capturing action easier and more efficient. It does this through each player’s performance in each game, not through long image capture sessions. With it, players can react better and the movements are more realistic. Layups, dunks, and shooting postures are all more skillful, with perfect finishes.
This shouldn’t surprise us because at Visual Concepts they always choose excellent graphics and technical finishes. This year’s edition continues that and continues to showcase all the excitement of NBA basketball. The stands, the sounds around you, the ball and how it behaves with every pass or shot…it’s still a joy. Of course, the failures of the past still persist, incomprehensibly. Failures like some of the signs in Spanish, while they’re not huge mistakes and don’t take you away from the experience, do clash with such a careful product.
All of this was accomplished with 4K and 60 FPS on the Xbox Series X we played the game on. We encountered few bugs during our long play session, and no crashes occurred at any time. Finally, the highlight is the game’s OST, which contains past and present hip-hop themes.
In terms of gameplay, “NBA 2K24” maintains the foundation of previous years. Apart from the already mentioned ProPLAY, there are no big new features. The energy bar for layups and dunks returns, returning control of their completion (successful or not) to the offensive player and is no longer automatic. We found the same criteria for mid-range shots, free throws, and three-point shooting.
Where the gameplay continues to fail is in defense. In some cases, the game’s artificial intelligence doesn’t work as well as it should, which often leaves us in worse situations than we’d like. Players don’t follow markers well off pick-and-rolls, don’t help on the strong side of the game (where they attack), etc. This remains a huge problem for a series that has otherwise long presented very good gameplay.
My career and my team continue to abuse microtransactions
We continue by discussing each mode that exists in the game. We do this through two pillars of the visual concept experience: My Career and My Team. Regarding the first aspect, gone are the days of presenting us with activities or stories that have a plot behind them. True, it may not be the most complex in the world, but it provides an interesting background. Now we are directly a great hope in the NBA. Well, we do commit, in capital letters, because they describe us as the greatest talent since LeBron James. We feel like we got this tag because of our college past, because the reality is that this year, after creating our alter egos, we’re going to be directly choosing which team we want to play for.
No draft, no prior history, we just started the season with a great commitment. Of course, our average score at the beginning was 60, and we were facing players with an average score of over 80, so there was a big gap between us and our most direct opponents. If we want to increase the average, we have to spend VC, the in-game currency. While we can earn it by playing, it’s a long and tedious process (we barely earned 1000VC per game), and reaching level 75 requires about 100,000VC. The number of game modes in this game is staggering, both in the campaign and in the city.
There’s not much new this year other than a new location (this time closer to the coast) and a few new modes where you can hang out and play different types of races or mini-games. Again, there’s a ton of content to enjoy with our alter egos, but it’s glossed over between veterans and players who think about improving as a player first, and rookies and those who don’t.
A similar situation happened with MyTeam. We have good news this year, such as the new game mode where we have to play with the maximum salary in the team, which ensures that the team gets paid more. Additionally, the market was suppressed, making it the first sports game without it. Instead, the visual concept controls everything, making it available to everyone for a fixed price. Therefore, there is no longer a need to buy and sell cards to earn MT.
MyTeam once again stands out due to the large number of modes and activities we have. Triple threats, challenges, decisive moments, matches against artificial intelligence or other players… all offer dozens of hours of entertainment and the possibility of obtaining unique cards and rewards. The quantity is so large that it will take us dozens of hours to get them all. The good thing is that each season’s level changes how you gain experience. We will no longer need to achieve certain achievements in a game, such as collecting a certain number of rebounds, but will instead be able to increase our season pass by simply playing the game. It’s a good idea for everyone to move at their own pace without pressure.
But, as we said, microtransactions are still very much present. By investing money in the game we will get more card packs and get the best players faster, creating a huge level difference between players.
In memory of Kobe
NBA 2K23 introduces a new game mode as a challenge: Relive Michael Jordan’s greatest moments. This year, taking advantage of Kobe Bryant being the game’s cover star, Visual Concepts presents Mamba Moments, a collection of seven challenges spotlighting the legendary Laker’s career.
In these games, we’ll be faced with seven unique moments from Kobe’s career that we’ll have to match his scoring and winning statistics. They were carefully selected and presented, but we missed a little more care. Unlike last year, we don’t have a documentary-style video featuring people related to the star to provide context or help understand the basketball genius.
Eras mode adds new draft categories
Last year, a new game mode was introduced to replace Season Mode: Age. Within it, you can choose to experience some of the NBA’s most famous eras. This year’s edition is back again, but with the addition of the so-called LeBron James era. That is, starting in 2010. We can relive LeBron’s arrival in Miami or try to prevent the Clippers’ big three from falling apart.
It’s a great way to kick off the season, giving us the option to create fantasy drafts with players from all eras, allowing us to see dream teams compete for NBA championships. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most talked about modes and also brings us more hours of entertainment.
Talking about the duration of sporting events is always complicated. “NBA 2K24” is no exception. This is a game whose duration depends on each player. Some people only play MyTeam for a few dozen hours, or some people don’t leave My Player until their average score reaches 99.
With all this, new visual concepts once again provide tens of thousands of hours of entertainment for NBA basketball fans.
NBA 2K24 has been the game with the most consecutive deliveries in recent seasons. The new ProPLAY is a great idea, but as of now, its role in gameplay still isn’t entirely compelling. Yes, we have smoother, better-performing movements, but the gameplay remains the same. Additionally, the defensive failures have been there for a long time and the defense is a drama.
Additionally, microtransactions are still very much present. This is almost mandatory if you want to enjoy certain game modes. The alternative is to spend hundreds of hours getting coins, since getting coins, while nice, isn’t high and slows everything down.
Nonetheless, NBA 2K24 is still a good choice for enjoying basketball on our consoles. Fun gameplay, enough game modes to keep you playing for hundreds of hours, and the ability to relive the most iconic moments of Kobe Bryant’s career. Like we said, NBA 2K24 strives to be simple to play. Pick-and-roll and pallet boarding, we didn’t need more.
*Thanks to 2K for providing us with review materials.
- Put the “LeBron James era” into era mode.
- Lots of game options.
- Very realistic microtransactions.
- There is nothing new in itself.