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NBA 2K21

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NBA 2K21
Just when you thought 2K Sports couldn't get any worse.
Genre(s): Sports
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X/S
Release: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia & iOS:
September 4, 2020
Xbox Series X/S:
November 10, 2020 (launch title)
PlayStation 5:
November 12, 2020 (launch title)
Developer(s): Visual Concepts
Publisher(s): 2K Sports
Country: United States
Series: NBA 2K
Predecessor: NBA 2K20
Successor: NBA 2K22

NBA 2K21 is a basketball simulation video game that was developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports, based on the National Basketball Association (NBA). It is the 22nd installment in the NBA 2K franchise. It is the successor to NBA 2K20.

Why It Was Benched

  1. Many glitches/bugs were reported by many players at launch.
  2. As with most yearly sports games, this game is another reskin of the previous NBA 2K games (especially NBA 2K20), however, they had the guts for this installment to remove some features.
  3. The microtransactions are worse and more expensive compared to the previous NBA 2K games.
    1. The game is rated PG in Australia for "mild gambling references, online ineractivity and in-game purchases".
  4. The game costs $70 for the next-generation versions, and there's no difference aside from the improved graphics and the short load times.
  5. The game also has Cross-Buy with the next generation versions, however, this is exclusive to the Mamba Forever Edition, which costs $90.
    • On top of that, the Mamba Forever Edition's content is with the last gen versions, meaning all the extra currency that comes in it is exclusive to the PS4/Xbox One version, so if you switch to the PS5/Xbox Series X/S version you'll have to buy/grind the currency all over again.
  6. The soundtrack is very much focused on heavily censored rap music, something inexcusable for a game rated E by the ESRB. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 was rated T because of some of the explicit lyrics in the soundtrack's songs, so why didn't the same happen with NBA?
    • And what's not helping is the fact that the game has over 150 songs on next-gen.
  7. No cutscenes like the Pre-game interviews or Pre-game shows in MyCareer Mode.
  8. The rosters at the launch were mostly a copy-paste of NBA 2K20's final roster update, likely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suspending the NBA season, which prevented off-season moves from happening before the game's release.
  9. The shooting mechanic is still broken, despite the fact that they created a Pro Stick mode.
  10. The notorious Mamba Forever Edition's cover art. Kobe Bryant, a then-recently deceased former Lakers player, is used as the cover art mascot to gain extra money. And while they could add him in the cover art as some sort of tribute to him in general, they did it in a Deluxe Edition that's more expensive than the Standard Edition. In other words, it shows that 2K Games doesn't have a problem with using a deceased person for-profits, which morally speaking, completely. Disrespects. THE DEAD. (Just think about that for a second!)
  11. For the third time, there are unskippable ads in the loading screens, despite the fact that this is a game that is sold for full price. It happened twice with 2K19 and 2K20, showing the developers (and publishers) still haven't learned anything.
  12. False advertising: You can make up that giantess player for the WNBA! But only in the PS5 version... And similarly like WWE 2K15, certain features are gimped unless you're playing on the Next-Gen versions.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The game on Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 is a significant upgrade from the eighth generation version, with new features such as The City and WNBA franchise mode, the franchise mode itself being more advanced, very short load times, and noticeably improved graphics.
  2. The Apple Arcade version removed microtransactions, so the Apple Arcade version is worth it to be play rather than Console/PC counterparts.


NBA 2K21 received mixed reviews from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.

Michael Higham from GameSpot gave the game a score of 6 out of 10. He states "NBA 2K21 shows that the lone basketball sim we have now has largely stagnated. It's a full package, for sure, but one that demonstrates a little-to-no motivation to meaningfully improve upon itself. That doesn't take away from the strong foundation that makes NBA 2K a fun and rewarding time. However, when you go through the same grind and the same process with only superficial changes, you just get burnt out faster than years prior."

NBA 2K21 received a negative user score on Metacritic, with the PlayStation 4 version having a user score of 0.9, the Xbox One version having a user score of 2.2, the PC version having a user score of 1.5, and the Nintendo Switch version having a 1.6 user score after players found out that it's essentially a reskinned version of NBA 2K20, but with some changes for the worse.



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