NBA 2K20 is one of the best sports games I’ve played in a long time. It’s also a giant scam that is perpetually gross, and sometimes even terrifying, to be around.
This might sound weird considering this is a sports game, but 2K’s basketball titles are some of the hardest things I ever have to review for this site. What I perceive to be the “good” and the “bad” of each entry in the series aren’t things that can be easily separated. In 2K20 they’re intertwined, everything good about it undermined by—and indivisible from—everything bad.
Wait, is this a review of NBA 2K20?
Nope. As we always do, this is only a review of 2K20’s MyCareer mode, not the entire game. I think its scope, coupled with the focus 2K places on it in terms of creating and selling their game, make it interesting enough to warrant this focus.
I’ve spoken so much about this game’s obsession with microtransactions at this point that I don’t want to bore you again here. Suffice to say, NBA 2K20—a full-priced retail game—is rotten with attempts to get you to spend real money on everything from players to clothing to player stats. Some game modes, like MyTeam, are built entirely around this thirst, but even in MyCareer’s singleplayer you’re being hounded.
For years 2K’s MyCareer storylines have been a disaster, saddled with ludicrous paths to the NBA and downright embarrassing attempts at “hello fellow kids” humour. That’s all been replaced in 2K20 with the earnest tale of a college kid who takes a principled stand against organisational hijinx, only to see his draft stock plummet.
An unexpectedly topical jab at the NCAA, this year’s MyCareer story has you play a handful of college games before embarking on a journey towards the NBA that includes invitational tournaments, the Draft Combine (complete with mini-games for stuff like vertical leap) and Summer League.
It’s a lightning-fast introduction, which you’ll blow through in only a few hours, but it’s also by far and away the most authentic career path the series has ever managed. Like FIFA’s The Journey, while this certainly has its hokey moments, it’s sincere with most of what it’s attempting, and slots in nicely alongside your actual NBA play as a result. It’s wil