On the court, NBA 2K20 is a dazzling experience that matches the energy and performance of a real-life colleague. Improved footwork, dribbling and distance between players all help improve an already solid footing. However, beyond the surprisingly well-written story mode, NBA 2K20 loses its focus off the court. The NBA 2K20 is superior to reproducing a professional game, but the ability to buy microtransactions is at almost every corner and too little attention is paid to complex modes like MyLeague.
The first thing I noticed about NBA 2K20 was that everything felt more intuitive. The learning curve is still huge, but learning the basics is now much smoother than before. The revised 2KU, the optional NBA 2K20 tutorial mode, is especially useful and does not take more than an hour to complete. Thoughtfully, the screen controller imitates the movement of the desired skill, which makes it very easy to imitate. After successfully mastering the skill of being a Euroscope to the basket, I was able to continue at whatever pace I felt comfortable with. This allowed for the restoration of the skills I had forgotten from last year and the testing of some moves that I could not even get out of.
a tradition of performing at the highest level. The players are skillfully crafted to reflect themselves in real life and have added many clothing options to help match the NBA's sense of style. Both players and announcers will gaze lifelessly every now and again, but it would not be so noticeable if everything from the player's shoes to the floor of the court were not so carefully crafted. I also noticed some awkward breaks between David Aldridge and the players during the interviews, which is a stark contrast to the seamless flow of comments from the likes of Kevin Harlan, Greg Anthony, Chris Webber, Doris Burke and more. The NBA 2K20's star-studded A / V package is fast approaching what can be seen on television, and it's a truly remarkable achievement.
While the NBA 2K franchise has always done an excellent job of making each player feel unique, having a new sense of mastery of controls reveals the best in each player. Pulling back jumpers with James Harden or striking with Eric Bledsoe is really satisfying and with improved defensive A.I., more important than ever. Defenders are better prepared to deal with fast players, especially in a transition period where tactics such as "enclosure" (a defensive strategy used to force contested shots near the rim) are used against heavy players such as LeBron James. Learning when to pull a jumper and when to get it straight to the basket is a welcome layer of outrageous strategy.
Much of this is enhanced by the badge system, which gives players unique abilities that are less tangible than something like an attribute of speed or power. Take the Pogo Stick badge, for example. This allows players like Anthony Davis to regroup quickly after a blocked shot, making it easier to block several shots in a row. Another interesting badge is the Worm, which is attached to players who are better off slipping through the box when bouncing. The total number of badges is about 80 and you really can't overestimate how much they can feel while playing. NBA 2K20 goes above and beyond to make every player feel and play unique.
However, the best addition to the NBA 2K20 game is the upgraded ball handling system. Instead of canned animations that take over the middle of the dribble, every success and failure I had with the ball in my hands felt won. Even flying a basketball from one hand to another feels satisfying, especially when you follow it with a broken ankle from someone like Kiri Irving. Given how much time is spent watching players play with the ball, newly added dribbling animations help things look different too. Watching Janice go down the long-pitch is as grand as you'd expect. The pursuit of mastery is NBA 2K20's best hook, and ball mechanics is the best example of this.
However, many problems with the franchise's legacy continue and several new ones are emerging. The CPU rarely plays with urgent need, ignoring easy 2-for-1 scenarios and milking the clock, even when they lose in the last moments of the game. Often the processor will also drift off-limits, as if there is no reason at all. Worst of all is the all-too-common double-team that happens to every player who wins a handful of points consecutively. The idea is right – hot players have to be corrected, but it is often too early and easy to break.
Many new gameplay enhancements are increasing in the new WNBA mode. The distance feels particularly good, which is key to simulating the differences between men and women. Ultimately, this results in better off-ball movement and smoother overall play. The animations are almost unique to the league, helping to differentiate themselves from playing in the NBA. It may be novelty to play with a whole new set of stars like Candace Parker or Liz Cambage, but it feels completely fresh.
The WNBA regime is not without its problems, including a noticeably worse commentary team of Blake Suniga, Tim Swartz and Brian Banifatemi. While it's nice that the trio is completely separate from the NBA broadcast team, it looks like it would be the perfect place to bring Doris Burke (who is already in) or someone like Pam Ward. Overall, the crew is not bad, it's just hard to get away from the rock solid NBA presentation package. On top of that, the WNBA is not available for online play. This is a pity because the league would be ideal for some competitions against other players. Fortunately, NBA 2K20 comes with a seasonal WNBA mode for some extended depth, even if it does not reach the heights of the much deeper MyLeague installed for NBA play.
Beyond the Court
Speaking of MyLeague, she received a shameful few improvements to 2K20. This is also one of the few modes left untouched by microtransactions. MyLeague is so close to full function that it would be easier to ignore the lack of improvement if some of the major issues, such as the inability to register and trade players, are visible. Some quality of life changes have been made, such as the gain and loss option (in case you want a specific result while simulating), but it is clear that MyLeague has not been given the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, it is mostly ignored in favor of the casino-like MyTeam, which provides many complex problems for the NBA 2K20.