It’s fitting that NBA 2K20’s coverstar Anthony Davis went to Hollywood to join LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
One of the offseason’s big moves vibes well with a Hollywood-style offering from developer Visual Concepts in the MyCareer mode, not to mention the general true-to-life broadcast presentation quirks and quality-of-life tweaks.
Unlike Davis and LeBron, 2K has gone unchallenged for a while now, and 2K19 wasn’t any exception (82 on Metacritic). But 2K20 isn’t some veteran kicking back on a fat contract, as it offers more of a LeBron-type contender trying to keep the crown thanks to a dialed-in focus on fan feedback and lacking areas.
We’re a few years into the new motion system in the NBA 2K series, and it finally feels like things are where they were always meant to be from the onset.
Specifically, there is no more ice skating. It might sound silly, but the weight and sudden movements of some of the globe’s fastest athletes have always felt a bit off. Those at the controls of the series clearly heard this, as the motion engine has seen another tweak that is noticeable upon booting up the game for the first time.
This works in tandem with a few other alterations to really bring things together. Changes to the sprint button are a big starting point to mention. In the past, slamming down sprint didn’t have much in the way of ill consequences.
That’s not true anymore. Using sprint without considering it as most have in the past now has a big impact on stamina, to the point even a real-life workhorse like LeBron can get gassed and need to head to the bench.
This is a fun shift moving everything closer to a simulation experience. But perhaps even better, it presents another layer of strategy because now slamming on the sprint when making a cut or on a fast break is more meaningful and requires precise timings to make it work.
Another system working with these other two points is the distinctive dribbling alterations. This will throw off even longtime players at first. In the past, every player on the digital court dribbled the same, minus a few modifiers via moves.
That’s also not true anymore. LeBron handles the ball differently than a point guard or a clumsy center in real life, and that’s reflected here. It isn’t the biggest change to the gameplay experience, but it combines well with the motion and sprint tweaks to really improve the overall feel.
Add it all up, and as a brief example, there is no longer some big center like Joel Embiid shooting down the floor to block a speedy point guard on a breakaway because of turbo-button abuse.
Fittingly, team styles match real life better. Many teams seemed to perform the same way, especially in the hands of the A.I. Now, the Golden State Warriors are aggressively pushing it up the floor and taking more outside attempts. The teams that like to bang in the paint seem to focus on that aspect more.