When a basketball player gets into “the zone,” people say it can feel like time slows to crawl.They can see things before they happen, every little detail about their opponent stands out, and the rim seems to get bigger and more inviting.NBA 2K22 never quite managed to get me all the way into the zone, but the improved gameplay and breadth of content of this iteration get it closer than it’s been for the past few years.From important changes to how stamina impacts shooting to a City filled with diverse ways to improve your MyPlayer character, 2K22 feels like a breath of fresh air compared to 2K21.
NBA 2K22 has made some important tweaks to the on-court action that help make it play like a more realistic game, most noticeably how it handles stamina loss while dribbling.In 2K21, it was easy to run at a defender on the perimeter, hit a Curry slide, and drain a three without breaking a sweat.Against the CPU, that tactic was almost undefendable, especially in MyTeam where player cards were quickly made ridiculously overpowered.With 2K22, you can still employ tactics like that, but the stamina loss you suffer from sprinting and doing dribble moves is made much more significant to balance out its effectiveness.
As your player gets more tired their shot meter will shrink, making it tougher to hit shots.That leads to a game that initially seems slow compared to 2K21 – but if you play under more control and don’t just hold that sprint button, you’ll actually have an easier time putting the ball into the bucket because of your larger shot meter.
It may not seem like an important change at first, but it leads to a playstyle that feels closer to real life than 2K21 ever did.
Fatigue leads to a playstyle that feels closer to real life than 2K21 ever did.“ Without three hunting and rim running, you’re forced to play team basketball.The pick and roll is your best friend, especially offline.Learning how and when to use your dribble skills and speed to get past defenders off of a pick will make all the difference.Or, if you’d rather do damage as a big man in the paint, use the pick and roll to force a switch and go to work against the smaller defender.These tactics are a little overpowered at times, but they’re countered by improvements on the defensive side of the ball.
Additionally, Visual Concepts has completely redone its systems for contesting shots and blocking.
Not only does this mean snazzy new snatch blocks and volleyball spikes, but I felt like a true rim protector when roaming the paint.Like the pick and roll, it can start to feel like you have too much power; however, the offense is much more likely to drain open jumpers, meaning you can’t just sag off and rely on a late contest.Steals have also been improved with new animations based on your player’s steal rating, so trying to swipe the ball with a low-rated player is sluggish, while guys like Jimmy Butler and Matisse Thybulle will rip the ball with authority.
What We Said About NBA 2K21 Loading
When it’s clicking, NBA 2K21 has some of the best gameplay in sports video game history.But that’s been true for several years now, and though this year’s iteration improves on a handful of things, most notably the aimed shooting mechanic, there hasn’t been much movement.At the same time, it’s a shame that 2K’s focus isn’t on the fun you can have on the court, but instead the money that can be extracted from your wallet off of the court in the MyCareer and MyTeam modes, which just aren’t fun to grind through without paying.Maybe the new set of consoles on the horizon will bring a fresh start for the NBA 2K franchise, but right now I feel more pessimistic about the series’ future than ever.- Ben Vollmer, September 10, 2020.
Score: 6 Read the full NBA 2K21 review
On top of that, I’ve noticed some of the more notorious legacy issues not popping up as much.
Things like bump steals aren’t gone completely, but I certainly haven’t seen them happening as much as last year.The tweaks on the defensive side of the ball have also seemingly gotten rid of the speed-boosting that plagued 2K21.That could, of course, all change as people get more familiar with 2K22, but for now, I’m happy to see Visual Concepts taking steps to iron out some of those more annoying tactics.
And while there are still quite a few instances of weird animations that took me out of the experience, those too are lessened from previous years.
I’m happy to see Visual Concepts taking steps to iron out some of those more annoying tactics.“ Improved gameplay doesn’t mean much if you don’t have good places to take advantage of it, but fortunately, so far Visual Concepts seems to have provided plenty of things to do throughout its selection of modes.Whether you want to build your own baller from scratch in MyCareer, assemble a dream team of past and present NBA stars in MyTeam, run your own team in MyNBA, or dominate the womens’ game in The W, NBA 2K22 has you covered.
MyCareer takes us back to the vast world of The City.Here, you’ll step into the shoes of a budding NBA superstar and help lead him into the Hall of Fame.
Or, you can forget all of that fame and fortune and take your game to the streets to play against other players in modes like the Rec Room and Pro-Am.Either way, you’ll have to contend with the confusing teammate rating AI.
This rating helps dictate how much Virtual Currency (VC) you earn at the end of each game, making it very important if you’re not looking to spend real-world money to improve your player (which, of course, 2K would very much like us to do).Unfortunately, the AI too often decides that something that isn’t your fault is something it should penalize you for.For example, if I correctly switched on a pick and roll to pick up the ball handler, the AI would sometimes decide that I should’ve stuck with my man and docked me points if he scored when my teammate didn’t switch to cover him.It also switched me from one man to the other at random several times, forcing me to sprint across the court to stop losing points for “leaving my assignment.” It’s a frustrating experience – one that you’re probably familiar with if you’ve played any NBA 2K game in recent years.
The second you step into multiplayer matches on the street or gym, microtransactions begin to rear their ugly head..