NBA 2K20 | My Career Mode | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, May 22, 2020

NBA 2K20 | My Career Mode | Review | Switch

by Danny Bivens

Barnburner sales make for delicious fun?
I love sports games. So when I saw NBA 2K20 on sale for ¥385 (roughly $3.50 USD) on the Japanese eShop, I jumped on the chance to pick the game up. Every NBA offseason since 2018, I’ve picked up all of the NBA 2K games on the Switch, focusing on playing through mainly the My Career Mode. While the mechanics of the series are super solid, I always found that the pace of the progression was glacier. Of course, 2K would graciously allow players to build up their player quickly by offering in game VC (Virtual Currency) to boost your player to superstar levels for a price. But is the progression in the 2K20?

The first thing I do every time I pick up an NBA 2K game is get straight into the My Career mode, creating my character and then picking up with what the year’s story has to offer. Of course you can do whatever you like in this respect - make a character look like you or somebody completely different. A cool feature that made its return here is the ability to scan your face into the game. This has been done in other series with varying degrees of success. While the process here isn’t necessarily hard to do (all you need is a smartphone and an app), the results are mediocre at best. I even went as far to scan my face outside using the rear camera of my phone, but still, I end up looking like a monster. Maybe I give myself too much credit in the looks department, or maybe it’s just a problem limited to the Switch version. Still, creations look a little bit weird.
I won’t spoil the story in this mode here (you can actually download a free demo to get a taste of it if you like), but I found myself enjoying it a bit more than I did with previous stories. You start out in college in a tournament game and then have to make some “tough” decisions based around one of your teammates. The cool part in this mode is that your decision carries into the commentary in future games. While playing, you’ll also have to do things like address the media or deal with unruly fans. The way you tackle these interactions is totally up to you.

Gameplay might be a bit tough for those coming into NBA 2K for the first time or for those that have taken a break from the series for a number of years. You can’t simply drive to the basket and dominate like you could in the games of yesteryear. 2K20 even encourages you to be more of a team player here with a grading system that translates to VC. Even if you can’t score tons of points, you’ll net VC for assists, blocks, steals and many other in game actions. It pays off to be deliberate. The VC you earn can be used to upgrade your character’s statistics and also to buy in game items to make your character look cool off the court (if you’re into that). Obviously, focusing on making your player better should be key - the better you are, the more potential you have for earring VC in games and/or practices. Of course, starting out with a terrible overall rating in My Career mode makes this mode a bit tough, but if you stick with it, you will find the game getting easier the more you play due to your overall rating getting higher (and just more experience with the game).
When I played 2K18 and 2K19, the progression was ridiculously slow. For example, in 2K18, I played nearly 60 hours or so. My created player went from around a 60 overall rating to around 70…For 2K20, I’ve played about 10 hours and have seen my player jump from 60 to 71. It still can be a slog, but it definitely feels better this time around. A newly implemented badge system also helps various aspects of your game. For instance, I used a a Shooting Badge called “Flexible Release” which makes it easier to time your shots. This is extremely helpful when starting out - your shooting will probably be awful so every little bit of help is welcome.

NBA 2K20 relies heavily on online connectivity, even while playing My Career. When you’re not playing games, you can roam around “The Neighborhood,” which is a hub with various shops, training activities and also a portal for online play against others. Personally, I’m not really interested in any of the online multiplayer. BUT, it should be noted that since the game relies heavily on this connectivity, if you put your Switch in sleep mode mid-game, 2K20 will lose connection to the internet and your progress will be lost for that game. There is a bit of a workaround with the ability to save and quit, but still, this is something that needs to be addressed but probably won’t.
Like I mentioned above, I spent pretty much all of my time with the game up to this point playing My Career. The game does offer tons of other modes here, too. My Team (building your dream team of players), various ways to play online against others, WNBA teams, classic teams to play as and more. There really is a lot to dig into here.

Visually, 2K20 looks pretty good on the Switch. If you’re coming from playing on the PS4 or Xbox One, you will notice some differences in visual fidelity. While the faces look pretty realistic, you’ll notice that things like the basketball shorts don’t have any movement to them like you would see on more powerful consoles. What we have here are kind of akin to static buckets hanging around the players legs. Not a deal breaker, but it’s kind of hard to unsee. Also, the game runs at 30 frames per second compared to 60. Even with that said, the game does run pretty smoothly, and if you don’t care about playing the best looking version of pro basketball, you won’t have any problems here.
Presentation here is also top notch. You have a pre-game show, on court reporters and a great variety when it comes to commentary. The hip hop soundtrack for the game on top of this really brings it all together. The only bummer here is that you cannot use the capture button in the game - it is disabled. If you want to share your awesome plays with the world, you will need external capture equipment.

NBA 2K20 on the Switch is a great game fundamentally. It’s a realistic simulation style basketball game that has a lot to offer. If you’re new to the series or haven’t played a basketball game in a long time, you will likely find the game to be pretty difficult to get into. If you can get good, you can have a good time with the game. At this point in time with another version surely to come out in 2020, you probably won’t want to pay top dollar for the game, but if you find it on sale, it’s definitely worth having in your Switch library. Just as long as you have the 41 GB plus of space for it!

 Final Score: 8.5

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