NBA 2K22 | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, September 13, 2021

NBA 2K22 | Review | Switch

The NBA is back on the Nintendo Switch with the fifth entry into the series on Nintendo’s platform. While it does seem like most of the focus this year has went to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series systems, 2K still hasn’t forgotten to do…something for basketball fans hoping to play the series on the Switch. There’s a solid basketball game here, per usual, but is it worth it if you’re coming off of 2K21? That's what we're here to talk about. 

Starting Off
Just to kick things off, I want to start out by saying that in my time so far with NBA 2K22 on the Switch, I’ve been mainly focusing on the My Career Mode. There are quite a few different modes and ways to play here such as Quick Play, My League, My GM, the ability to play as current and classic NBA stars as well as WNBA players. There really is a lot to do. Regardless, most of my impressions are based specifically on My Career. Gameplay, graphics and performance is the same across all of the modes.

Japan Only Cover Athlete
For those picking up the Japanese physical version of 2K22 (the standard edition only), Rui Hachimura is front and center as the cover athlete in Japan. Not only that, but the game comes with a poster featuring the Hachimura 2K22 key art. If you’re into collecting physical games, this is definitely something to try to get your hands on. The physical Japanese version has full English support here, too. Given the small size of the cart that 2K skimps out on every year, you still will have to download quite a bit of data before you can get going - over 40 GB! It’s really kind of of pointless unless you just REALLY want to get the Hachimura cover. 

While defense seems to remain largely unchanged from previous entries, the shooting mechanics seems to have been changed a little bit from last year. Sure, things are all timing based here and it really depends on what kind of player you are controlling. For me, I’m trying to go for a mid/long range shooter, so it’s just a matter of trying to nail the timing. It seems a bit easier than last year, but playing as a “My Player” early on is tough. If you’re sticking to just playing as professional players or just general players with better ratings, things are going to more than likely feel a bit easier.

My Career
For 2K22, gamers are placed in the role of MP, a skilled baller who also has quite a presence not only on the court but also on YouTube. You work your way from high school, to college and then into the NBA. While I don’t mind the trajectory of the My Career Mode in 2K22, I think that more could have been done before your player reaches the NBA. My personal favorite story beats actually appeared in 2K21. In that game, you played through some of your high school career and then made your way to college (part of the season and the tournament) and then made your way to the pros. While there is a dab of high school and college basketball here in 2K22, the whole process is over with way too quickly. What was so good about last year’s version was that you were kind of eased into game by playing against lesser talent on the high school and college level. With your player being pretty terrible to start out himself, the matchups seemed fair and you could gain a decent amount of VC (virtual currency) to improve you player by the time you went pro. That’s not here in 2K22. I would have liked to see an option to extend your college career or something like that. The events leading up to the NBA Draft were just way too abrupt. It didn’t really give you much time to get a feel for the characters and just had you thrust into things. 

Things do seem to get a bit more personal the more you play in your first season. I was drafted by the Denver Nuggets (I had no option to choose a preferred team) and that was that. There will be a lot of off the court drama that you’ll deal with here. Per usual, you’ll also have to face the media and make choices that will determine your relationships with your teammates, coaches and GM. I personally like this aspect of the game, but again, things here seem to try to create conflict between coaches/management where there really isn’t any. Then there’s the whole YouTube celebrity angle, which is (at least up to this point where I am) is only mentioned, but not really shown in any meaningful way. 
In terms of player progression, the pacing here at gaining the VC is pretty generous. In just a handful of games, I was able to jump from the base 60 rating to around a 65 or 66. The game this year does make it a little annoying when you’re adjusting your skills as they don’t show how much things cost in VC front and center. You have to adjust the skills, and then press X to see if you have enough VC to make the purchase. Of course, there is the ability to spend real world money on the eShop to improve your player. It’s honestly very tempting when starting out, but if you stick with it, you’ll gradually make your way to a reasonable level. The badge system is also back this year as well. By and large, not much has changed for player progression in 2K22 from 2K21, and I see that as a good thing.  

The Neighborhood
This year’s Neighborhood doesn’t take place in an actual neighborhood, but rather on a large cruise ship called the Cancha del Mar. Of course, “The City,” the next gen exclusive mode that lets players run loose around a town of sorts, is not present in the Nintendo Switch or current gen versions of the game. While it is nice to see a fresh coat of paint here with the Cancha del Mar, things still feel mostly the same, for better or worse. One of the most interesting additions are the ability to take on “quests.” In MMO/RPG fashion, you can chat with various NPCs on the ship and take on tasks that can earn you some VC. Of the few that I initiated, some of these required players to participate in online matches and accomplish various goals. With the low level of my character starting out, this just didn’t seem like it would be very fun for me. I think the overall idea is great, and maybe it’s something I’ll try to get into at a later time. For now, I’ll just focus on getting my player better statistically in My Career before worrying about dunking on folks online or tricking out my player with some fab threads. 

Personally, I never really cared for this aspect of NBA 2K. Apparently a lot of people really get into it. It IS the online hub for the game to use your created player, which might be fun for some. I’ve just never really seen the appeal. I prefer to focus on the single player side of things here. 

Visuals, Performance & Audio
If you’ve played the NBA 2K series on the Switch over the years you probably know what to expect. The game isn’t going to knock your socks off, but you get a decent looking basketball sim with pretty realistic physics and great presentation both on the visual and audio front. Playing the game during launch weekend can always be a time when you will experience some weird bugs and performance issues. While none of the things I encountered were game breaking, some things did leave me a little disappointed. For the character creation aspect, it seems like some of the hair options just weren’t loading properly, leaving what should have been a lush head of hair to being a flat, blurry mess on my player’s head. Not only that, but for some reason, the 2K22 accompanying mobile app was not available on launch weekend, making it so I couldn’t take a look at how the face scan feature would work in this year’s version of the game. 
Cutscenes are a bit hit or miss here. During the My Career Mode, there were times when things were a bit jumpy, but overall it seemed to be running quite a bit smoother than 2K21 on the Switch. As for the games themselves, things run pretty smoothly, and I never ran into any issues on the court. The game is locked to 30 frames per second and look pretty good on the Switch. 

NBA 2K22 on the Nintendo Switch is a decent effort and you can still find some fun with this basketball sim. It’s definitely not perfect, and the engine is definitely starting to show its age. Gameplay here remains solid, there are plenty of modes to play to keep you busy for dozens of hours. The My Career Mode is a bit underwhelming with an under-developed story and some odd story pacing. If you’re coming off of 2K21, I can’t full heartedly recommend the jump to 2K22. If you’ve sat out the past year or so of the series, it might be worth it for you.

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