Basketball Video Games

NBA 2k21 Demo Review (2)

Part 2 of 2 : MyPlayer

I knew how this was going to go, but I thought I would download the app and attempt to scan my face. As per normal it is buggy as heck. I spent a good half hour trying to get it to work. Once I finally managed to get the required photos, I couldn’t get them to upload. It’s the same old story there. I really wanted to test it out, I will try again with my next character.

I accidentally skipped the customisable part of my creation, so I was stuck with a generic looking character. I find myself really missing the customisation options from previous games. It gets more boring and somehow more unsettling every year. I had a good time setting up my stats though. I made my character 7’3″ and 290 pounds. He was a beast. I tried to just made a dominant paint player. Lots of rebounds, blocks and dunks. I named him Wally Raffles, after the You Am I song. Also, he looked like a bit of a wally so it was fitting. You have the option to max out your badges and play a game as 99 overall. Obviously, I selected yes.

He looked ridiculous on the court. He was towering over the Lopez boys and made Giannis look like a small child. The basketball in my hand looked like a tiny orange. Time for some serious bully ball. I obviously win the jump and then hustle down to the paint. If you can call it hustling, I was unbelievably slow. That didn’t matter though, because it worked. I was a beast in the paint.

I didn’t have the defensive impact I was hoping, it was really hard to time blocks. Maybe because I was so slow. On that note, I had 5 turnovers. I kept getting called for 3 seconds in the key. Once I was established in the post, it took a really long time to get out if the guard didn’t give me the ball. As the game wore on, my character continued to slow. I didn’t have an option for a sub and the coach kept me out there. I assumed I would just have to play the entire game. I got subbed out in the third quarter for a 2 minute spell. Otherwise, I played every single minute.

I ended up playing 22 minutes and posted 24 points (9/22 shooting and 6/8 from the free throw), 21 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. I got an A+ rating and we won, 69-63.

Even though I am making a new character, I cannot change his appearance, only his vitals. So unfortunately, I can’t try a face scan or play with the customisation options. We are stuck with Wally the wally. Use your imagination though, I renamed him Fro Zone (Incredibles shout out). He was supposed to have an afro and always be in the zone. In my head he looks really cool. On the court, he looks like a small child. I changed his vitals and made him 5’3″ and 145 pounds. I planned to make him really fast and just an elite scoring point guard. Think a tiny version of Harden, Lillard or Curry. I selected all of the ball handling and scoring badges I would need. Range extender, volume shooter, steady shooter, difficult shots, corner specialist, tireless shooter, shoot off the dribble…you get the idea. I set his stats to 99 overall and I am ready to post 50.

We win the jump and I start with the ball. I take off down the court. Like, really fast. It was crazy how quick I was, especially compared to big Wally. I stop and pop a long range 2. Swish! I smile to myself and I know I’m gonna get the 50. I decided I was just going to shoot on every play and see how many points I could get.

After the first shot, I couldn’t hit anything. Again! I was 99 overall with badges to make my release window larger and to get more accurate with every shot I attempted. It didn’t matter. I was getting good, makeable looks and nothing would fall. I was incredibly frustrated at my inability to shoot in this game. I had 9 first quarter points but quickly found myself drawing the ire of my teammates and was benched before the quarter ended. Most of my points came in the paint, including a ridiculous looking dunk. Not good ridiculous. It was ridiculous because a child dunked on Giannis.

I was getting fouled a lot and getting some points at the line, but the point of this was to be a shooter. I vowed to make more shots and stop driving. I played the entire second half from the outside. You would think that eventually, a shot or two would go in. You would be wrong. I finished the game (I tried to quit but couldn’t) with 23 points, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers and 1 steal. Sounds ok on paper. Are you ready for the percentages? 18% from the field and yet again, 0% from the 3 point line. Some shooting specialist. I was 9/49 overall and 0/20 downtown. I would again like to point out that they were mostly all good looks. I’m getting a bit tired of this. We lose 85-55 and I am almost certain Kawhi Leonard hates me. The locker room will be very awkward. Still, it’s his fault for always passing to me. I just kept hammering the “call for pass” button every time I didn’t have the ball. It must of annoyed them, but they kept giving me the ball. Maybe just to shut me up.

I wonder if I made myself too small and maybe that had something to do with my inability to score from outside the paint. Just typing that sounds silly and like it should be the opposite. I don’t know what else to try though and I really want to hit a few threes. So my next character is a 6’5″ shooting guard, 200 pounds. I select the most ripped looking physique available and once again I select all the shooting badges. His name is Shooter McGavin.

Well, Shooter can’t shoot either. What a surprise. I tried to play as a spot up shooter but my teammates would rarely give me the ball, unless I was cutting to the basket. So I started to do that a lot. It was ridiculously easy and I almost always got a wide open lay-up. It’s like the defenders didn’t think I existed. I continue to play this way and the more I think about it, it’s just like the game wants me to be a forward or centre. No matter what badges or attributes I select, the game always goes the same way. I can score in the paint and nowhere else. I end this game with 45 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and the game winning block. My percentages were much higher, but that’s because I basically just took lay-ups. I finish 19/34 on the field and 1/8 from 3. 6/8 at the free throw line in 19 minutes. I’m not having fun anymore.

I figure if the game wants me to be a forward, I will try to play as a forward. I can’t think of a catchy name so I go with Inspiration Loss. Throwback to my teenage emo days. In an attempt to rekindle my interest, I put more emphasis on defensive badges. I was hoping I could get more blocks/steals and maybe get myself going that way.

It still played exactly the same. I’m truly starting to feel the badges have no effect on the player. I’m having just a standard game and quickly get bored again, so I intentionally foul out. I didn’t bother to record my statistics.

I really was not having fun in the paint (not since Wally Raffles) so I decided to move back to my normal position, the point guard. Again, in an attempt to shake it up, I invest in playmaking and defensive badges. I don’t notice much of a difference. I still can’t score. I get an added boost to my rating for assists, but that’s about all. When I played basketball, I was a point guard and prided myself on my passing ability and defense. It was incredibly satisfying in real life, but it’s not enjoyable in a video game. It’s not much fun to set screens and watch the A.I. score. It’s not fun to box out or run up and down the court, getting ignored by your virtual teammates. I (reluctantly) finish this game and post 5 points and 12 assists. Don’t even ask about the shooting percentage.

I think I’m up to my last player, so I make a power forward. It was the only position I haven’t played as yet. It was much the same as playing as Shooter McGavin. Rebounds and lay-ups. I was very relieved when it was over and I was out of things to do in the demo.

Originally, I thought there wasn’t enough content in this demo. Technically, I think that is still true. However, there was more than enough time in this demo for me to get well and truly over this game and decide I’m not going to buy it. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s all just too much hard work. It’s realistic at the expense of fun and fun is supposed to be the whole point. I’m sick of hammering the “skip” button to advance timeouts, sideline reports, halftime shows etc etc. When I’m playing, I’m sick of having to work so hard to get a jump shot, I’m sick of boxing out, I’m tired of getting ignored for the ball. It’s just all a bit tedious and boring. Maybe 10 years ago, I would of had the patience to go through it all, but I just don’t anymore.

If I can lower the difficulty, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the quick games enough. I usually enjoy the MyLeague and MyGM modes, but they get stripped down a bit each year and there isn’t enough content to warrant purchasing the game for those alone. One other thing I forgot to mention yesterday, is this game runs really hot. My PS4 Pro is so loud whenever I have this demo running. It’s running in the background whilst I type this and it sounds close to exploding. Speaking of background sounds, I keep hearing the same songs over and over, and I’m not enjoying this soundtrack much either. Maybe I am just a grumpy old man? Still, after spending 8ish hours with this demo, I cannot advise purchasing this game at full price. I advise sticking with 2k20 if you can get it cheap.

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