NBA 2K24 Review


NBA 2K24 Review


I’ve said it every year that I’ve reviewed its annual release, the NBA 2K franchise continues to boast itself as Take-Two’s flagship sporting title, not withstanding its growing number of just criticisms it’s been humbled by for its last few iterations. This year, the title boasts an updated roster with new and improved physics that mimic the pro’s excellently. You not only feel like you’re stepping foot onto the lacquered maple, but getting a first-hand grasp of what its like to be a baller. The problem there lies within its microtransaction filled campaigns that scream out for the player to burn cash to progress – and I’m not talking in-game currency, I’m talking dollar-dollar bills. It’s quite literally a walking billboard for what the basketball series has ultimately fallen victim to, with quality assurance in gameplay falling short to bonus content and pay-to-win progression.

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While there are glaring issues that are made evident, 2K24 boasts a bountiful follow-up to its predecessor with pre-existing content that will please any basketball fan and 2K fan alike. Quick exhibitions are still fun to play, online is great for a quick fix with a friend, and while I wouldn’t recommend jumping into the campaign without some loose change to spare, MyCareer is still polished enough to experience albeit an intrusively persistent need to encourage players to purchase virtual currency (VC). Overlooking these obstructions would be hypocritical, and unjust for those looking to purchase NBA 2K24 for an authentic experience, with 2K pushing boundaries of gamers that are yearning to play some ball, but are barricaded by boisterous microtransactions. There’s a lot to love about NBA 2K24, but more to be desired.

From Downtown...

Let’s talk practicality, a lacking key component for NBA 2K24 that’s sure to raise eyebrows and question 2K’s intentions for the series, as it continues to make questionable decisions such as virtually placing its entire MyCareer mode behind a paywall. While players can still access and experience the mode without having to open their wallets, it’s not viable. Without the extra expenditure, there’s little to no advancing. You’re given a cardboard cut-out with a star ranking of 60 to tediously build, but it’s almost incredulous that the title places an impasse on players to purchase content, or grind the campaign to its end of days. The story in MyCareer itself is fine, nothing spectacular. The outlier of it being a tribute to Mamba himself, the late great Kobe Bryant as the title’s numerical entry implies. 

Customisation is extremely limited, unless you already have pre-existing VC to spend. While NBA 2K24’s Black Mamba Edition comes with an ample allowance of 100k VC to begin your journey, it’s still not enough to make any major upgrades to your character, nor allow for material upgrades to give your player a “pro-baller” feel. NBA 2K24 relies too heavily on gamers breaking the bank, rather than breaking the backboard. It’s an inherently vicious cycle of losses that rewards little to nothing without experience, losing games and earning scraps to ration from afterwards. While last year was no stranger to the virtual currency method, along with microtransactions, NBA 2K24 is relentless in guaranteeing an in-game purchase, regardless of whatever intent the player deems necessary.

On the other hand, demonstrating some great quality-of-life updates to the franchise, NBA 2K24 introduces a new physics system in-place that replicates movements of each individual player, like a personal footprint. You’re not simply passing the ball over to another player on-court for them to simply guide it to the net, this is the first time you will experience indelible characteristics and mannerisms of each personality on court. “Pro Play” perfects this by live-wiring real-time footage of each player and connecting it to their attributes in-game. This is an astounding feat from the team at Visual Concepts and should be considered revolutionary for sporting titles, not just the NBA series. The dodging and weaving that saw Mamba’s career skyrocket to a gold-standard, or Lebron’s athleticism that is proclaimed by fans to be akin to a modern-day Michael Jordan.

It's not the best entry into the franchise, but most certainly not the worst, but NBA 2K24 may be reaching far beyond downtown, and undoubtedly missing after the final buzzer.

It’s a marginal step above mocap technology, that gives developers freedom to tweak physics on the fly. Whether this means a flurry of updates and patches however remains to be seen. While the extraordinary feature gives an extremely polished feel to its overall gameplay, AI on the other hand can be a handful when distinct calls are deft, and make zero sense. Random timeouts and unruly penalties throw the game into disarray at times, and are never really explained with other than quick quips from the commentary team. Simulating an NBA broadcast can be a task in its own right, but Visual Concepts knocks it out the park every year, with its clean UI designed to look and feel like you’re sitting on the couch, watching the game while the tension is palpable and your anxieties may be high on a close quarter.

Backcourt Bump...


✔️ Pro Play is revolutionary for the series, giving players the authentic touch.

✔️ Mamba Moments is a quality tribute to one of the game’s greatest.

❌ Laden in microtransactions, it regresses the series campaign mode exponentially.

❌ Character models are ultimately lifeless.

While NBA 2K24’s refined on-court experience is stellar, aesthetically the series is at a standstill with graphical fidelity almost resonating that of partnering Take-Two franchise, Grand Theft Auto V. The in-game models used for MyCareer are lifeless, with despondent, glassy-eyed characteristics which make them look inhumane. Our character “MP”, is as cookie-cutter as it gets when it comes to design, and ultimately suffers from reminding you that unless you have the cash to spend, you’re unequivocally stuck with a stock character. It goes without saying that its an unappealing look for a mode that’s supposed to be the title’s major attraction and literal time-sink.

The detrimental takeaway from earning badges in-game, is being punished for progression. Once you train to earn and level certain attributes, if an objective asks you to to the complete opposite, that badge will be removed. It’s a befuddling, and counter-intuitive system that’s undeniably frustrating, and maybe I’m playing the game wrong, but it should at least explain why I lost the badge in the first place – but it doesn’t. Now imagine a newcomer to the franchise being introduced to the inner workings of NBA 2K’s machinations through this iteration, it’s confusing to say the least.

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Finally, let’s talk about Mamba Moments. An awesome recap of Kobe’s greatest hits, allowing fans to relive the greatest moments of Mamba’s hall of fame career. An astounding celebration and tribute to one of the sport’s best, Mamba moments gives us a brief flashback to emphatic chapters throughout his time on the maple playground, allowing us gamers to act out some Bryant’s biggest highlights. The challenges themselves are outlined as mission objectives to complete, much like NBA 2K23’s Jordan Challenge mode. It was considered post-age golden era, witnessing a new wave of players making a mission statement, but would be considered a new wave golden-era with the Jordan era of basketball almost foregone. A fantastic love letter to one of the game’s greatest, and most polarising figures in its illustrious history.

As the verb above details, NBA 2K24 is as polarising as its cover athlete this year. While Mamba himself left behind a legacy, arguably untouched yet rivalled with top ballot players, the game exhibits what 2K and Visual Concepts needs to leave behind. Littered with microtransactions, a counterintuitive campaign that regresses and punishes with little reward, and poor writing has MyCareer seated in the bleeders. However, its added improvements such as “Pro Play” is an absolute dream that deserves those courtside seats, along with Mamba Moments, allowing those long time fans of this great sport to witness and experience the game first hand. It’s not the best entry into the franchise, but most certainly not the worst, but NBA 2K24 may be reaching far beyond downtown, and undoubtedly missing after the final buzzer.

NBA 2K24 Review


NBA 2K is a series of basketball sports simulation video games developed by Visual Concepts and released annually since 1999. The premise of the series is to emulate the sport of basketball, and more specifically, the National Basketball Association.



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