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NBA 2k21 The Good The Bad and The Ugly

As we head into the third weekend of this 2K cycle, 2K21 is turning out to be not as bad as everyone made it out to be. I’ll even apologize for my recent review of the game where I bashed it to no end. Heading into NBA 2k21 prior to the 9/4 drop, there were no expectations with this game, as it is the last game for the current-gen console. Those who’ve got the game will tell you the same thing, but for those who didn’t buy it make sure to pick it up if you can. Below, I’ll be reviewing every game mode from head to toe in this jam-packed article, so make sure to stick through it with me!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianmazique/2020/03/03/nba-2k21-wishlist-50-suggestions-and-fixes-to-improve-every-mode-and-communication/#43e7bfb5e28f

MyCareer

*Spoilers Included* The Story (Prelude) featuring Junior brought back some nostalgia of the past as 2k brought back high school and college. It’s something about battling from the very beginning that keeps me hooked all the way through. In this situation, Junior (who is a senior in HS) gets approached by his basketball coach about playing because his dad used to play. Jumping into basketball at a later age In life is such a common thing nowadays and I’m glad NBA 2k21 chose to go this route with the current gen storyline. 

The next authentic part of this story is that you get to make a decision to play through a knee injury or sit out. It plays a major impact on how you perform for the next two high school games cementing your college recruiting process. I chose to play through the injury and it was a tough transition. You would get tired on every possession down the court, and when you didn’t know what was going to happen every jump and drive to the basket made me worried as he would hold his knee after every play.  A huge leg up in terms of immersion for NBA 2k21.

From NBA 2k20 to NBA 2k21 I found myself engaged and motivated to play through this story. There’s no forced cut scenes, a pointless 2k9 game, or unnecessary side activities. By far one of the better storylines of the current gen 2k library.

Park / Neighborhood

I had little to no expectations of the Park being anywhere near acceptable, but 2k outdid themselves with the park this year, giving us dejavu of Sunset Beach vibes. Yes, I’ve been asking for the affiliations to come back for years now, but a revamped neighborhood will do…for now.

One small detail I love is that you aren’t walking in circles getting from place to place. We get a full view of everything with hidden pathways and shortcuts to get to where you need to go. Trust me you may not see this improvement, but i’ve gotten to the park and rec in record time compared to last year.

 I’ve enjoyed the park a lot more with NBA2k21 this year than the past few years, but needless to say there’s a lot of cheese already and if you ain’t living under a rock you’ve figured it out too. The biggest complaint is the shooting as almost every wide open shot misses, but if you result in the mid range, give two crossovers and fade away; ladies and gentlemen you’ve found the cheese. On another note, the big man sets the screen, and the ball handler dribbles to either corner and fades away. I haven’t tossed my controller yet as it’s an easy thing to stop, but you let up once and it is over with. 

The Rec/ProAm

The Rec is literally the same as last year and there’s been no surprise, but there’s a major difference. If you’ve played rec have you noticed that the movements are significantly slower than 2k20? I understand slowing the game down is crucial, but the speed is unrealistic at times and you really need to be on your toes on defense. Like 2k20, you can’t just go in with randoms. I can’t stress how important it is to run with your friends or people who have a basketball IQ. If you don’t you will fall behind and will end up wanting to sell the game. That is a guarantee! NBA 2k21 is making it more competitive and is requiring more skill on the stick this year and even the same is true for next-gen.

“I can’t stress how important it is to run with your friends or people who have a basketball IQ”

JMan on playing games in The Rec

My Team

It took me a while to play MyTeam, but once I started I found myself hooked more than usual. The whole atmosphere is incredible and if you are an NBA fanatic it brings back lots of memories as we are looking at a long archive of NBA players. Playing unlimited gets competitive and MyTeam is finally allowing the defense to serve as an impact no matter what type of card. I beat a team that had Diamond Steve Nash, Amethyst James Harden, and Ruby PG, and Shaq. It doesn’t make a difference if your team is better. It’s about how well you play and that’s one of the reasons why I became so hooked.

Locker Codes are essential to keeping up with MyTeam as well as the newest packs that enter the game. If MyTeam is your thing then prepare for your pockets to hurt. I know guys who spend hundreds on packs just to get great players. 

Triple Threat

If you are looking for a faster way to improve your MyTeam then Triple Threat is for you. Is it just me or did the CPU get better from last year? I’m 1-5 thus far with all jokes aside. The three on three park-style is a great way to get games in and to slowly start gaining XP. Last year you leveled up from collecting cards? But this year it’s all about XP. This means you can sell your cards without losing experience and rep. One of the main reasons why I’ve been so hooked on this mode than previous years. Triple Threat is the fastest way to level up, but it can get boring if in single player.

If you are just starting to play stay away from Triple Threat online this Year in NBA 2k21. Guys already have Pink Diamond cards and the cheese is real. The defense is slippery and like the Rec and Pro-Am you press the steal button slightly you will be taken out of the play completely. Those Pink Diamond cards don’t miss in the paint. One thing I took away from this is that the shooting is terrible. You have to time it perfectly or else it will be a brick. Keep that in mind when you are playing Triple Threat this year.

MyTeam Unlimited

Everyone’s favorite mode in MyTeam and for the newcomers who are starting a team try to stay away for at least a week or until you get a solid team. I’m currently 3-7 with an OK team, but every game has been close as I’ve lost by a couple of possessions. It’s tough always playing from behind when you don’t match up card wise with the other team. Luckily I have some tips to make things turn around if you find yourself losing a lot in this mode. 

MyTeam Packs

  • Utilize Every Pack: every player means MT, every contract is meaningful, and badges and shoes make the difference on your team. Don’t be me and sell all those cards to upgrade your team, I’ve learned the hard way quick.  
  • Create a foundation, and build off of two guys: Make sure your bigs are solid and don’t just buy any card if you are in the auction. Some cards are in the auction for a reason. That reason being the card is trash. Don’t be fooled if you see the card with more than five teams, then you’ve found your answer. 
  • Free Agent Cards are OP: Last night I played against a guy whose starting lineup was filled with Free Agent Cards. You get them for a 5-7 game span and they help out a lot, especially if your team is hurting with talent. Manage their time in the game accordingly as they sub those cards out frequently for some reason. Utilize these cards if they come your way!
  • Play Smart Basketball: with MyTeam unlimited a lot can go wrong in a split second. Time your passes, shoot the open shot, make the extra pass, and shy away from making mistakes. Remember this isn’t my career and you can’t get away with playing sloppy. 

Tip

Once cards reach Ruby or higher it takes more to guard them because they are quicker on their feet, and efficient in whatever they’re play style is. The higher the card the faster they move, shoot, and attack the rim. For those amethyst and Diamond cards you have to throw different looks at them. Double in the paint, and force them to make a play passing out. You let them get to their sweet spot and it’s over. I haven’t ran into many Diamond cards as the game is still progressing, but stay on your toes. 

NBA 2k Tips to Look into:

Defense

One hit of that X or Square button and you are left in the dust. You don’t want to be that guy who gets drilled for his inability to play defense. It is imperative that you time your reactions this year and recovering from this is nearly impossible if you miss time, steal, or block. Also, if you are one of those guys who hounds the ball full court it won’t work as the ball moves faster than the player and you will become irrelevant to the play.

Shooting

With the green window opening up slightly, shooting is still very difficult right now, and if you’ve resulted in making a different build than you’ve already given up. Grind for those shooting badges, and keep taking those open shots. You won’t make every shot (even if it is in your build), but try a few different methods:

  • Turn Shot Meter off
  • Run more Pick n Pop
  • Curl around perimeter 
  • Set off ball screens 

It’s the littlest things that make it easier to adapt, yet we all just run to Mike Wang and Ronnie, tell them to fix the issue instead of grinding the game and adjusting. 

Practices

it takes a shorter time to earn the freedom to work on your badges in practice. After every career game is a team practice, forcing you to work on different aspects of your play style. Don’t avoid this as it is essential to growing your build. Do you want to be known as the player with multiple builds or the player who has one build that everyone wants to hoop with. You decide.


NBA 2k21 as a whole is interesting. I’ve found myself bored of the game, hooked on it, and yelling at the tv all in one day. I recommend getting the game even if you don’t have it and don’t wait until next Gen. you could fall behind the curve, especially if 2k does something crazy like let our players transfer over. Only time will tell.

Send me your NBA 2k21 clips in any game mode! Follow for more 2k news and updates @nolimitjumper

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