Top Critic Average
NBA 2K21 doesn't break the series' signature basketball gameplay, but its minor improvements and persistent addiction to obnoxious microtransactions mean more of the same isn't good enough anymore.
It would be one thing if this was just NBA 2K20 with some minor changes but this rips the heart out of last year's game solely to appeal to competitive online players, with many much-loved features stripped back or not included at all.
NBA 2K21 still delivers the thrill of being on the court and producing spectacular plays, but it lacks innovation and fresh ideas
NBA 2K21 still manages to capture the art of basketball, but it's largely the same dance as years past.
That means some kind of personal journey or transformation for the star, and supporting characters with some depth and likability. Given every chance to be a preening overdog, newcomer Vince Washington turns the character Hendrixx Cobb into a warm, believable friend instead. Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire) is just shady enough as a streetwise mentor to make an endgame choice - one the game even forced me to reconsider! - both reasonable and personally regrettable.
The problem with 2K, though, and it’s bigger this year than ever, is that you can rarely be so clear in your perspective. In 2K21, just like we’ve seen for the last few years, every moment of fun on the court is undermined by the racket being run off it.
Coronavirus has extended the previous season of the NBA and next-gen is very close, so the timing is not the best for this entry in the franchise, which is very continuist. However, it is still a great basketball game.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
As it is, there are some strong components, but it doesn’t feel like a completely new game in as many aspects as usual.
NBA 2K21 suffers from the same issues that have held the series down for years. A poor MyCareer story, reused assets, shoddy servers, and an over-importance of VC/microtransactions. The one redeeming quality that NBA 2K21 can boast is its high-level gameplay. Luckily, that’s what you want most from a basketball sim.
NBA 2K21 is a solid update of NBA 2K20... but with a strange and unpredictable twist. The new shooting meter is made for online competition and, in the end, follows the metagame rather the basketball flow. Maybe it's good for the pro gamers, but it feels unbalanced and frustrating for the bastketball lovers.
Review in Italian | Read full review