NBA 2K20 is here, and while it hit a few snags upon its immediate release, most of them seem to have been smoothed over by now. We’ve finally had a chance to get to know this latest installment in the long-running franchise, and while we won’t pretend it represents a monumental shift in style or substance, there’s plenty to like about it.
Here are five of the most enjoyable aspects of the new best basketball game on the console market.
1. The Rookies Are A Blast
This is a subjective point to some degree, but not every new NBA game involves a particularly fun crop of rookies. It depends on real life, of course, but sometimes the new players coming into the NBA are just more exciting than others. And in this regard, 2K20 is lucky. The highest-ranked rookies in the game just happen to be thrilling to play with. There’s Zion Williamson, the springy wunderkind built like a tank; there’s Ja Morant, an almost equally athletic point guard. RJ Barrett is packed with better-than-usual offensive skills for a rookie, De’Andre Hunter is already one of the best players on his team, and Darius Garland is but a small step behind Morant as an all-around guard. For basketball fans, handling these and other rookies is just a pleasure.
2. Roster Depth Is Incredible
The NBA 2K series has done a pretty good job expanding its roster to include past players and legends before - but never quite like this. Without getting into the process of simply listing players, let us just assure you: This is an unusually and delightfully deep roster of players, not just for the 2K series but for any sports game.
3. Every Team Is Fun To Play With
For this point, as with the rookies, 2K is benefitting from real life. Now that sports betting is being legalized in the U.S., and we have New Jersey- and Pennsylvania-based online sportsbooks to reference, we can say definitively - not just as analysts or fans - that there is more parity in the NBA heading into the 2019-20 season than there has been in years. While a few betting favorites exist, even the official odds seem to confirm what most NBA analysts and writers have already surmised, which is that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen teams that could win a championship. That just hasn’t been the case lately, and this level of parity means that every team in the game is fun to play with, as opposed to just a small handful hogging all the talent.
4. The WNBA Is Necessary And Awesome
We learned earlier this year, before 2K20’s release, that it would include full rosters of WNBA players, and the release did not disappoint. Now, this has not been an entirely seamless change. Disappointingly (but predictably), there has been some sexist backlash on the internet. There have also been some people pointing out that the WNBA likenesses aren’t always as sharp as the NBA ones. This is just to say, it’s not a perfect WNBA game. But it’s still significant progress. It was a necessary change for the series to make, and being able to play with the WNBA in its entirety is awesome.
5. Gameplay Is Notably Improved
In ways that are almost impossible to describe, the gameplay in NBA 2K20 is also just better than in past versions. This may not surprise sports gamers, because the 2K series, Madden, and FIFA all tend to make incremental improvements over time when it comes to making actual gameplay feel more realistic. But in this series, the last few installments had almost made it seem as if basketball gameplay had been maxed out. This is the first time in a few years that simply playing basketball feels a little bit better than ever.