Top Critic Average
In all NBA 2k Playgrounds 2 lacks some of the simplicity of NBA Jam but more than holds its own with added features, an addictive gameplay loop and a fun, cartoonish presentation style. The microtransactions are the only downer in what is otherwise a stellar bit of arcade fun, one that should be enjoyed by anyone that has regular game nights with friends.
I immediately wanted to invite some friends around so I had an excuse to bring out Playgrounds 2. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also difficult to sustain lengthy sessions of play by yourself when there’s not much more than three different modes to cycle through. It’s a decent game that ultimately suffers from a lack of content, and for that, the game stumbles before the finish line, unfortunately. While I’d recommend giving it a look, especially if you loved NBA Jam back in the day, it’s also something you could sleep on for a while before giving it a shot.
Arcade sports games aren't as plentiful as they once were so the fact that NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is as enjoyable as it is speaks volumes for what the genre is capable of.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is back better than ever and turns into the perfect companion for NBA 2K19. It will delight those who look for a more arcade gameplay.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is an extremely fun and competitive game at its core, and with the publisher's history of terrible microtransactions, it's good to see a basketball game that's easy to pick up and enjoy without having to spend money. The game is generous with its in game currency which makes playing the game very rewarding, especially if you invest time in the game's improved Season Mode. If you're looking for a slightly silly, competitive basketball game to play online, this is definitely for you.
While the introduction of microtransactions is hardly surprising considering the history of its new publisher, they don't hit NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 as hard as might expect. It will take you a while to grind out every player (unless you just buy them all from the off), but it helps that the core arcade gameplay remains as fun and enjoyable as ever. It doesn't quite capture the blissful mayhem of NBA Jam, but if the main NBA 2K series has always felt a little too realistic for you, this larger-than-life spin-off offers a bright and empowering way to defy gravity like Air Jordan himself.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 feels like an evolution from the first game, providing a smoother gameplay experience and a deeper online offering. Anyone can jump into the game and perform a self alley-oop double front flip dunk with ease. It's as accessible as you would expect and demand of a traditional arcade game. However, the inclusion of microtransactions is disheartening. Sure, you can only purchase cosmetic packs, not actual player cards, but you can negate the entire grind in the game, by unlocking all players for a price. The Xbox One version of the game occasional hangs at least once a day, forcing a restart.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is the perfect antidote to the realness of NBA 2K19. It’s fast, simple and easy to get into. You’ll have a great time playing alone or with friends and the game never stops being a fun time.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 takes all the arcadey elements from the classic fireball that was NBA Jam and added in a couple of improvements that can really get you hooked on the high-flying, gravity-defying, slam dunking action!
NBA 2K Playgrounds is a simple, yet very enjoyable sports game, focused primarily on multiplayer. There's fun to be had in singleplayer, just don't expect it to measure up to the more serious basketball video games.
Review in Czech | Read full review
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a great improvement over the first game, and the addition of the ‘Season Mode’ adds that extra layer of fun. Mechanically, the game remains a classic arcade experience, with a sprinkling of difficulty, just enough to make things interesting.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 offers an arcade basketball experience that's both fun and simple, with fluid gameplay and some over-the-top movements that really stand out when playing.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 offers a solid arcade experience. This title does not yield any significant advancements for the genre or the series itself. Instead, it takes elements from other sports titles, scales them down and wraps it all up in a fetching, exaggerated aesthetic.
While the first title was a great start for a genre long forgotten, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 fell into the modern day trap of microtransaction schemes. A shame considering it's a solid game, accessible for all, and visually correct on all consoles with an upgrade to its multiplayer mode.
Even though NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is fun on the court, the lack of content to enhance its shelf life, the connectivity issues in online matches and the constant feeling that the game could be better without the way the microtransactions were implemented keep it from reaching its potential.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
If you liked NBA Playgrounds then this game will surely be a solid improvement you enjoy. If the first game was too buggy, or there were too many issues, then Playgrounds 2 fixes many problems. There are still reasons to be cautious with things like roster unlocks and limitations in the game modes, but it is overall a solid package.
NBA 2K Playgrounds is a small step forward in the work of Saber Interactive. In addition to greater content, we will have more control over the unlocking of players.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
NBA Playgrounds 2 brings a lot of great improvements to the table with enhanced gameplay mechanics and visuals, but the package is brought down by unnecessary, backward changes.
For the most part, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is an improvement on the original. The fun, over-the-top, and easy to understand gameplay returns and the online options make it a more complete package.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has a great presentation, a fun set of mechanics and a solid character progression system. There are microtransactions, as all sports games seems to be laboured with them these days, but it's nowhere near as intrusive as some other sports games I have played. However, without any statistical tracking, limited number of players on the court and only a handful of modes, that this title won't have quite the shelf life for me that a more involved simulation game like NBA 2K19.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 brings back the arcade experience in its sequel with some subtle but welcome improvements to gameplay and features more content. It suffers from a terrible player unlock system fueled by microtransactions, which is thankfully still optional and not a necessity to enjoy the game.
With NBA Jam On-Fire Edition being horribly outdated and the original Playgrounds recently delisted, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is the go-to-choice for arcade NBA basketball by default.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 improves on a quite a few aspects of the original game like game modes and gameplay mechanics. But its microtransaction model leaves a sour taste in the player's mouth. Unlocking great players takes a very long time and the game wants to get you to buy in-game credits. But if you're patient, or spending more money isn't a problem for you, you can have a lot of fun with NBA 2K Playgrounds 2.
Review in French | Read full review
In the end, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a fun game that may not excel from a gameplay standpoint, but its fun arcade action that has become rare in the genre. Basketball and sports fans would enjoy Playgrounds 2 if it weren't for the grindy implementation of card packs and in-game purchases.
As an NBA Playgrounds apologist and lover of arcade sports sims, this game can only be characterized as a disappointment, and a frustrating one at that. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has all the ingredients for an excellent game, but its best flavors are overpowered by the saltiness of its microtransactions and repetitive season. It's a shame, because the gameplay itself is absolutely excellent; it's the surrounding constructs, progression system, and a lackluster season that leaves this game tripping over its own laces.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 features many gameplay improvements over the original, and a deeper roster of superstar players thanks to the 2K umbrella, but unfortunately the experience is marred by the return of loot boxes that dictate which players you can even use.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a lacklustre effort after last year's promising start. It attempts to address some of the issues but these end up being unforced turnovers that makes the game actively worse. When you couple this with only one of the major gameplay problems being addressed, you find yourself with a disappointing sequel. This is a series that definitely does not need to be on a yearly cycle, and most people who bought the original last year will find they have already had their fill.
When it's all said and done, Playgrounds 2 provides a somewhat enjoyable experience that's not worth its headache. If you want a quick and easy, arcade-style way to play basketball with your friends, you should just go to your local arcade with a fistful of quarters and play NBA Jam. Trust me, even though you have to feed the cabinet money after each game, you'll still feel less exploited.
The simplistic nature of the controls is good for anyone looking to turn off their brain for a bit and throw down some dazzling dunks or to play with friends. But if you're expecting anything other than that, you've purchased the wrong game.
Despite the addition of four-player online games, improved matchmaking, head-to-head three-point contests, new Season and Playgrounds Championship modes, all-new playgrounds, plus a roster of over 400 past and present NBA players, it's difficult to recommend NBA 2K Playgrounds 2. The title sticks with last year's established formula too much, and doubles down on the microtransactions aspects whilst it's at it. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay just doesn't justify such an extravagant ecosystem wrapper, so only real NBA and collector fans will see the appeal in potentially putting more cash down for the best players. Overall, Playgrounds 2 is lacklustre and feels too much like a mobile game franchise. It takes advantage of its audience and never offers enough satisfaction in return for the money, or the grind sessions. Ultimately, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a bad game, and certainly no spiritual successor. Stick with NBA 2K19 or NBA Jam itself.
This is a game that does absolutely not need to exist but does for the sheer fact that the original game had no way of raking in the dough. I don't expect this game to become a yearly title, because NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is now set up to appropriately gouge the players for money for years to come. Unless maybe that doesn't work, in which case you can look forward to NBA 2K Playgrounds 3 brought to you by FanDuel to release in 11 months.