NBA 2K24 Review - A Missed Free-Throw
For 2K at this point, a new NBA 2K game should be a simple lay-up, with the occasional entry being an impressive dunk, and yet, the franchise has been committing back-court violations for the last few years now. Sadly, NBA 2K24 continues this trend. Despite the fact that the beautiful game has been virtually realised in the best way we’ve ever seen, the controls being sublime and the depth of playable options for players being immense, it’s the numerous other systems that are layered atop the NBA 2K experience that are weaning the audience thin. NBA 2K24 finds itself standing on the free-throw line, with a shot to get the franchise back in prime position… and it’s missed the shot.
The moment to moment of the NBA 2K24 playing experience is the most refined that it’s been, and developers, Virtual Concepts have correctly identified that there was far too much bloat in many of the off-court elements, from the music, fashion and basketball culture elements, and have endeavoured to dial that back to allow focus to focus on the actual playing of basketball. For those playing solo, this will be a wonderful change, but of course there’s an enormous portion of the audience who are on-board for the multiplayer, and other pillars, and that’s where the crushing weight of 2K’s focus on monetizing the experience becomes unbearable.
In MyCareer players are simply striving to be the GOAT, in doing so, living up to the legacies of both your father and grandfather who were themselves NBA legends. There are key matches on the journey, which you can simulate your way up to if you choose, something that will certainly be appealing to those who want to get their fill from the story and move on. No matter the mode you play though, the consistent balancing issue of VC distribution plagues the 2K24 experience. VC for your on-court accomplishments is minimal, and unless you’re keen to commit multiple hundreds of hours to your player, then getting your stats to an even competitive level will require you to invest a lot of your own hard-earned to buy the VC you need to spend on improving your stats. The City, NBA 2K24’s social hub essentially demands that you spend your own money, else you’ll be crushed by the community who have plundered the depths of their wallets to far outrank you. Badge balancing as well is harder than ever with progression now capable of regressing, requiring even more investment of time and money to hold your ground.
The City, despite being a depressing space if you’re not willing or able to invest big bucks into, is better than ever with Visual Concepts again pairing several elements back to make for a cleaner, more enjoyable experience. Street Basketball options have been added however to make for a much more enjoyable and diverse playing experience. MyTEAM returns, and while it’s not quite as aggressively money-sucking as what EA commands of players with Ultimate Team, it’s still hard to avoid the lure of spending money for access to more card packs.
Players look better than ever, as the investment in technology in capturing the players but also tech on the game-engine side continues to improve. The commentary is, as always of the highest standard, and the sounds of the game feel incredibly genuine. Mamba Moments, a homage to the late Kobe Bryant are exceptional and do a great job of respecting the on-court accomplishments of one of the most skillful players the game has seen, and for the legions of fans that he has, will be thoroughly enjoyed.
As always, there’s a significant price to pay to extract the most from the NBA 2K24 experience, and more many it’s a price that simply cannot be afforded. Visual Concepts are certainly looking to address concerns, but at this point, they’re delivering like a cellar-dwelling team who desperately wants to make their way back into the play-off action.
NBA 2K24 was reviewed on PS5 with a code kindly provided by 2K Australia