Visual Concepts and Take-Two for some odd reason split NBA 2K22 between next-gen and current-gen game versions. Yes, it is understandable that on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S there are more performing content in terms of gameplay and performance. However, it is not clear why, behind the excuse of the GPU crisis, the next-gen is not also on PC. So what is a current-gen basketball simulator actually like this year? Here is my NBA 2K22 review on PC!
As always, the flagship of NBA 2K22 gameplay is the gamepad mapping. Visual Concepts decided years ago to focus on analog sticks, literally annihilating the competition. It is impossible not to consider the 2K series a giant in the sports sector. From year to year, from small improvement to small improvement, we have now reached an exceptional level of realism in gameplay.
Controlling a gamepad in hand is like having an extension of your fingers on the pitch. The developers have always calibrated the movement of the analog sticks in order to give the player fluid gestures. This accompanies the game’s actions with impressive, realistic credibility. In NBA 2K22, the developers focused on the defensive phases. They have adjusted the AI of fellow players and opponents in order to return more realistic team movements in defense.
In other words, this concerns a general rethinking of the AI that regulates blocked balls and steals. The end user of NBA 2K22 changes nothing. He will always have his keys to press during the defensive phases, but now steals and blocks are not as rare as before. Finally, there is no longer a need to have players pumped into certain statistics to carry out effective defensive interferences.
Although there is a numerical and statistical component, it is always the player with the pad in hand that makes the difference. Take note that the devs also added dozens of new animations for the defensive phases. These introductions might seem few and lackluster, but they actually improve a sector of NBA 2K22. If you are an avid NBA 2K player, you would know that they neglected it for quite some time.
Yes, there are still various bugs, glitches, and technical issues that have always appeared in NBA 2K. The direction of your steps is always quite random unless you use the cumbersome method of assigning keys. There are random invisible walls that just make little sense. Some moments you will get controlled and unnatural actions. There are also botched scenarios in the cutscenes, uploads from biblical times, balls that bounce ridiculously in some contexts, and so on.
You should understand that most of these problems are rare and still fit into a nearly perfect game structure. The problem is that they have always existed! It is almost as if Visual Concepts have never read a review before. The most worrying thing about NBA 2K22, in reality, is that the gameplay continues to be always and decidedly not very user-friendly to new players.
The entire NBA 2K series still has a very steep learning curve for people first approaching the game. You need a lot of patience and perseverance before being able to understand the right mechanisms, movements, tactics, patterns, and rules. However, once you have grasped the gameplay, it will certainly be worth it thanks to the already vaunted realistic fluidity of the game.
In NBA 2K22, the Career mode is increasingly the central pivot of the entire game. This mode is the true Playmaker of the Visual Concepts title. Firstly, you have to create a character in the internal editor. Then you set off on the climb of American basketball starting from the Colleges, reaching the top of the NBA. This year, they trimmed the current-gen version of the introduction to Career Mode of whatever content might make it interesting.
They filled it with useless dialogue that leads to absolutely nowhere. On current-gen, my athlete, according to what other characters tell me, is struggling with social networks. According to them, the entire plot revolves just around this information. Nothing else seems to matter! And the worst is that this whole social dimension happens without ever being shown what your character is up to. There are no gameplay elements connected to it.
To make the introduction to the Career even more insipid, the games and mini-games to be played before arriving at the fateful NBA Draft are really too few compared to past editions. Fortunately, after this dull and genuinely useless introduction, we finally arrive at the real career mode. This is where the athletic, sporting, and mental growth of your avatar will follow! The Neighborhood this year is a nice cruise ship dedicated to basketball activities.
You can reach gyms, courts, and shops in this sort of NBA-colored Second Life. Although the entire City present on next-gen with its many activities is missing, the current-gen Neighborhood on PC this time seems to have a less “ballerina” server architecture than usual. As an NBA 2K player for several years, I can say that I have never experienced online to work this good. There are very few input-lag situations and, so far, never encountered frame rate drops.
The neighborhood’s many mini-games and Career mode are just some of the gameplay possibilities in NBA 2K22’s vast ecosystem. Whatever your approach to sports games, rest assured that with NBA 2K22, you will find something to do. Whether you want to create an NBA league on your own, or organize an entire multiplayer league with user-created teams, the customization possibilities are almost endless.
The NBA 2K site also allows you to upload logos and images to share online. You can take an old-fashioned approach to quick game setup using current league teams or legendary teams like Michael Jordan’s Bulls or Kobe Bryant’s Lakers. I should make another honorable mention to GM mode. Here you only play the role of a manager of an NBA franchise, as if you were in a management video game.
The most successful game mode after the Career is obviously the MyTeam mode. If you are used to the FIFA FUT system, we are in its basketball counterpart. Obviously, Visual Concepts created the MyTeam mode to monetize through the sale of game currencies. However, you can still accumulate valuable cards without spending a euro and with little luck.
A MUSICAL EXPERIENCE
A Triple A game of this kind can only border on excellence even in its technical sector. The only grievances on the graphics side are the silly cinematic scenarios in the Career mode and in the menus of the current-gen. They basically took the menu from the old versions of the game and re-skinned it instead of using the next-gen menus.
For the rest, the graphics and visual realism of the game travel to very high peaks. It’s just a shame you can not enjoy it in the next-gen version due to Take-Two’s inexplicable decisions for the PC version. The excellence of NBA 2K22 will pass throughout the ears. This is due to the work done on the audio sector by Visual Concepts, as always, is phenomenal.
Players will call their teammates by name or nickname during the games. Stadiums have many voices that cheer the players or take part with choirs in the defensive phases. The game carries out workouts in the rhythm and echo of dribbles and shoes on the parquet. The commentary has detailed artificial intelligence that can withstand every game situation, even the most unthinkable.
It is also complete with external participation of former players on special occasions. What about the soundtrack? If Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is the advocate and manifesto of street culture, NBA 2K is its counterpart for R&B, hip hop, rap, trap, funk, and jazz. Among the approximately 70 tracks in the game, you will find both the classic commercial songs and the most absurd and experimental ones.
From rapper and record producer Travis Scott, to multi-instrumentalist and jazzman Thundercat. There are songs like We’re Here by Jordan Lyles and Ruckazoid to old beat tracks like Long Cool Woman by The Hollies. From hip hop class icons of the early 2000s like Acid Raindrops from People Under the Stairs to that visionary crazy white kid Louis Cole who combines electronics, jazz, and funk in one.
Do you want to try Visual Concepts‘ NBA 2K22? What do you think of my NBA 2K22 review on PC? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Make sure to also read our NBA 2K21 review on PS5. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut, King’s Bounty 2, 12 Minutes, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Death’s Door, F1 2021, Castle Flipper, Miitopia, and Hood: Outlaws & Legends.
This years NBA 2K title is excellent and enjoyable, despite the usual flaws never corrected, the lack of next-gen content or the intrusiveness of various adverts. Whether you are a basketball enthusiast or looking for a video game with continuous challenges that also knows how to entertain, NBA 2K22 is for you!
- The best sports simulation available
- Tangible defensive improvements
- All game modes are addictive
- The servers seem more stable
- Usual old glitches and bugs
- Unexplained absence of next-gen on PC
- Always very intrusive advertising and monetization