NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 joins the lineup of basketball games keeping those who enjoy the game, but choose not to get off the couch, entertained.
I have not previously played the earlier title, and considering I spent some time in NBA 2K titles, as well as being a big fan of NBA Jam, I was keen to get my hands on this game and sink my teeth into a new Arcade style Basketball game.
Before I get too far in, I need to mention that gamers that play other NBA games should note that this is not a very realistic game. You can expect the impossible to be possible. You will be able to dunk from outside the three-point line; catch a rebound, do a vertical spin in the air and dunk in the one motion; and much more.
After playing through a complete season, I experienced enough to confidently say, this game is not shy in rewarding you when you are on a streak, as well as kicking you when you miss a few shots. For example, you may find a selection of boost areas which will basically guarantee a successful shot or a multiplier if scoring within the zone. Alternatively, an ice layer may appear over the hoop which will only get removed by taking shots (which will not go in). This will mean that, especially when playing against AI characters, a close game can quickly become a wipeout.
This is where my frustration stemmed from. I was very keen to play a less serious basketball game, but this game seemed too unbalanced once the streak rewards kick in. For the majority of my gameplay, it swung in my favour and I was able to win matches quite easily. But when I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, I really felt punished for missing some shots.
It is not surprising that NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 does have micro-transactions if you choose to spend more money on the game. It is possible to acquire these without extra purchases though with some more time playing.
The character selection is quite plentiful with a great assortment of current and past stars. These are obtainable individually or in card packs similar to real-life trading cards. You can use these characters in their individual teams or you can select some to be allocated to your own team. The more you use each player, the more they will level up and become better. As expected, each player has their individual attributes and choosing the right player who has advantages over your opponents will make each match somewhat easier.
Although this game can be played by up to 4 people at a time, I did not experience this function and cannot comment on this factor.
Audio & Visuals
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is an arcade-style version of the sport. Each character retains a resemblance to the actual players while being a cartoon-like character. Each location has been well designed and look good. The soundtrack and game sounds are great, matching the gameplay and the visuals very well.
Arcade-style sports games are generally pretty fun and successfully scoring with an unrealistic maneuver is rather satisfying. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 definitely fits this model and would be a fun party game with your friends. Some extra play time will be required to unlock the biggest names in NBA history, but it will be worth the investment.
A review copy was supplied by 2K for the purposes of this review