The NBA 2K franchise is back and moving in the right direction. After years of stagnant gameplay mechanics and subtle improvements to its franchise mode, this year’s game has taken huge, direction-defining steps. NBA 2K23 offers an amazingly customizable experience. With the exception of a few perhaps philosophical issues and some lingering old assets still in use, this year’s version registers as an All-NBA first team selection within the series’ storied history.
MLB The Show 22 plays too strong of a game on the field and offers too much with Diamond Dynasty, March to October, franchise mode and a general cohesiveness to be a bad sports game. However, some of the missteps are impossible to ignore because of what other sports games offer, and because of what the Show series has offered in the past.
This is a re-establishment year for the WWE 2K series. Let’s face it, WWE 2K20 was rough and while it took more than 2 years to develop, 2K has re-emerged with a strong and not only playable wrestling game, but a fun one. The engine is better and the basics are tighter, but we’re looking forward to more layers in the future.
Game development is hard and a year after being the only major sports video game franchise to produce a full-on next-gen experience, they followed up with the most polished and still feature-rich game they have produced, maybe ever. NBA 2K22 is a must have for anyone who has remotely enjoyed the series in the past or who has a taste for basketball and the culture it powers. Still, there is room for improvement on multiple fronts. It’s the gift and the curse of producing a game with so many layers.
There is something to be said for simplicity in video games. Many are overly complicated, and there is also room for forgiveness for a feature set of a game that isn’t full price. However, a sports game with no online capabilities and a very limited single-player experience is a tough one to enjoy for any length of time. BRBCC is unfortunately more limited than it is simplistic, and that causes a problem with overall enjoyment.
Madden 22 is a significantly better game than Madden 21. The gameplay is smoother, franchise mode has more layers and MUT will remain a powerhouse. However, while each of the three areas deliver on one had, they each have a drawback. Also, modes like Face of the Franchise and The Yard fail to deliver in a way that moves the needle. The good outweighs the bad overall, and you’ll likely enjoy Madden if you’re a fan of the series. Still, it feels like we’re one year shy of delivering the kind of complete Madden release that really breaks new ground for the series.
There isn’t a ton to dislike about F1 2021. The latest version adds to the series’ win streak with another strong iteration. With a few additional layers to the visual and audio presentation, we could have been looking at a form of racing perfection. As it is, F1 2021 is still really good.
MLB The Show 21 is still loads of fun to play. Franchise is slightly improved, Diamond Dynasty continues to be strong, and Stadium Creator is even better than expected. However, there are areas of the game that don’t feel like an actual next-gen experience, and we’re still missing features that other sports games have had for years.
NBA 2K21 on next-gen delivers a fun and deep hoops package unlike anything else we’ve ever seen. It’s not just about enhanced visuals. There is more under the hood in almost every area. This isn’t a perfect game. There is room for improvement in multiple areas, but what it does excellently far outshines the smaller, and much-easier to absorb shortcomings. 2K has again set the standard on a new console, and everyone else is playing catch-up. The fact that this game was developed during a pandemic is inspiring.
NHL 21 is another strong entry into the series’ history. It delivers a new strand of flavor with Be a Pro, maintains quality on the ice, and makes franchise mode more enjoyable. However, the limitations in customization and the subtractions to HUT keep NHL 21 from being the series’ ultimate edition.
FIFA 21 delivers most of what I’m looking for in a world football title, which tends to be the story every year. It features solid-to-strong gameplay, attractive visuals, and a good variety of options. However, flawed execution in VOLTA, a lack of customization and no traditional franchise mode for EPL or La Liga keeps it from being a classic.
TWT2 feels unfinished, underdeveloped and somewhat soulless in some aspects. The swing mechanic might be a good idea conceptually, but it falls short of supplying that satisfaction that is transferred from simply hitting the ball in a tennis video game. Couple that with the malnourished feature set and you have one of the most disappointing tennis video games in a long while.
WWE 2K BG isn’t going to provide you the depth that the traditional, more sim-related version aims to deliver. However, for what it is, which is an arcade, over-the-top, dump-your-rules, beat-em up, it hits on all the major points. The game is fun, deeper than you might expect and offers a very good bang for your 40 bucks.
From a pure gameplay standpoint, PGA Tour 2K21 delivers a strong enough experience to satisfy fans, and the course designer is fantastic. However, the game falls more toward the average because of its bland career mode, modest list of licensed golfers, and out-dated graphics.