As impressive a the NBA 2K21 PS5 sizzle reel may be, under the eye candy lies a a micro-transaction-riddled game nursing mixed-reviews.
A brand new PS5 gameplay reveal for NBA 2K21 released yesterday delivers yet another compelling peek at what’s in store when the next-gen consoles launch next month.
The sizzle reel is impressive stuff; there’s no denying that. The player models, smooth animations, sleek lighting, and high-fidelity textures combine to showcase the best looking NBA 2K we’ve ever seen. Nothing quite screams next-gen like droplets of sweat streaming down Steph Curry’s brow as he deliver his iconic mouth guard gnaw.
Videos, pieced together after the trailer dropped yesterday, offer comparisons with the PS4 version of NBA 2K21, and illustrate the magnitude of the leap. It’s stunning.
Yet, under that torrent of next-gen eye candy lies a game that in its current-gen incarnation nurses mixed-reviews. One still weighed down by 2K Games’ incessant drive to divest players of their hard-earned cash at every opportunity with a tempting glut of micro-transactions. A 69 Metascore and 0.9 User Score on Metacritic attest to this.
2K says that the next-gen version of NBA 2K21 doesn’t just include a significant visual facelift. The AI’s been improved, as have the physics, player movement, and player impact thanks to fresh animations and a new collision engine. The changes have ‘the entire arena come to life’ as over 150 unique AI-driven characters interact seamlessly.
The MyPLAYER Builder also lands some love. As do various other modes, including expanded and rebranded NBA 2K21 Neighborhood feature, but 2K remains tight-lipped about the scope of these improvements. From there, the feature list trails off to cite an expanded soundtrack, and, well, not much else.
While this PR-drafted list promises a lot, there’s no skirting around the fact this is still very much NBA 2K21, albeit sporting a brand new set of threads tailored to tap into the power and performance of the PS5.
I’d suggest holding out on taking what is undoubtedly an impressive visual treat as a surefire sign that 2K and Visual Concepts will deliver the major NBA 2K2 upgrade demanded by fans for years. History tells us that 2K is the master of the thinly-veiled micro-transaction riddled reskins.
Whether NBA 2K21 warrants a purchase, let alone a hiked next-gen price tag, remains very much unproven, despite a trailer oozing with potential.