Celebrating 25 years of NBA 2K games, the team at Visual Concepts have brought us NBA 2K24. Players can put themselves into the shoes of the Black Mamba himself. By reliving some of the critical moments in Kobe Bryant’s career, players can truly understand the ever-lasting influence Bryant has had in basketball.
NBA 2K24 standard edition and Black Mamba edition are available to buy now on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.
Is NBA 2K24 A Slam Dunk?
I have been a fan of the NBA 2K series since 2014, getting the game as a present every Christmas. I can say that since that first game of NBA 2K14, there have been drastic improvements, with NBA 2K24 pushing those improvements even further.
Tell me in the comments what game in the series was your first, and if you are enjoying this year’s installment.
Although NBA 2K24 is not as innovative as its predecessor, there is still plenty to talk about. The biggest addition to the game is the introduction of ProPlay technology. This makes movements more realistic than ever, giving a truly authentic on-court experience. Initially, 2K would rely on actors to try and deliver the authentic feel of movements, including signature moves. However, ProPlay directly translates that authentic feel of an actual NBAgame. Every aspect of the game has been given this upgrade, however, it will be seen more clearly in animations such as layups, jump shots and signature movements. The downside of this is that this is only available on next-gen consoles.
ProPlay is not the only addition made to gameplay. There have been much-needed upgrades to the timings of a shot. This has made it easier for players such as myself, who would struggle to get the correct green timings. 2K24 has certainly made it easier to make shots, as timings are much more forgiving. You can even set your shot release times on certain animations, making it easier than ever to play with a new team.
Like with other NBA 2K games, there are various game modes that you can get stuck into. The first game mode, which I normally sink the most hours into is MyCareer. This mode has progressively gotten better over the years, however, I am not sure if there has been much improvement this year. 2K24 seems like a painted-over version of 2K23. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time playing MyCareer, and I will continue to do so.
However, the story-line in this year’s edition does not seem as narrative-driven as in previous years. For example, I enjoyed NBA 2K22 because it was a genuine journey. Your player moves from High School to a D1 College, before making your debut in the NBA. I understand that you cannot recycle content like this, however, there just does not seem to be a narrative-driven story in this year’s version.
Will you become the new GOAT?
One new addition to MyCareer that I have enjoyed is the family flashbacks. Within the story, you are the most highly-rated prospect since LeBron James, which might have to do with your legacy. Your grandfather and father are basketball legends, and family flashbacks are a taste of how they got that title. Through these flashbacks, you are transported back to different eras. I think that this is done well, especially with how they’ve changed the graphics to represent the eras these games took place. It’s a fun edition.
However, the story is just one part of MyCareer. 2K has certainly built on the foundation of last year’s very open-world type feature. There is plenty on offer. You can go shopping for clothing and accessories to make a unique character, participate in challenges at specific courts, or take on other players in 3v3s. I have put plenty of hours into this mode already, however, I have so much more to explore with these activities.
This is the first year I have stepped into the MyTeam game mode. Although I am a fan of the NBA, I wouldn’t consider myself a super fan. So, I have been put off doing an ‘ultimate-team’ type of game mode. Having the Black Mamba version of the game made it easier. I was given the advantage of having a five-player option pack, which gives very powerful cards. As a new player, I did find the game mode easy to understand. I enjoyed opening packs, especially because there is the option to flip cards individually.
Due to never playing MyTeam before, I have had to do some research. This is to enable me to compare this to previous installments. Luckily, I still had the previous games in the series downloaded, and I was quickly able to make comparisons. One thing that stood out to me, was the introduction of the player market. The player market enables players access to almost every card. In previous years, such as NBA 2K23, players were only able to buy players through the auction house. I would certainly say that this is a welcome addition to the game. It is a simpler system, which makes it easy for new players.
Are you ready for a challenge?
Like with most ultimate team-type games, there is the option to play online against other players or to play single-player. Of course, being a newbie, I decided to throw myself straight into online play. And boy, that was a mistake. I have never seen so much skill, and I won’t lie and say I sat through the whole game. Regardless, I did not smash a controller, so that is always a bonus. Therefore, I decided to get stuck into the single-player portion of MyTeam. Let’s just say, that went a lot better.
The one downside with every type of ultimate-team type game mode, such as MyTeam, is micro-transactions. However, it seems that 2K is offering other methods to get cards, such as through increasing the amount of MTP from games. There is still the issue of micro-transactions. The more money you spend, the more of a chance you will get better cards. However, of course, you do have a choice. In a way, competing with a decent team without micro-transactions is certainly more satisfying.
Mamba Moments, MyNBA Eras and The W
One thing about NBA 2K24 is that there are many different game modes. The first game mode of note is about the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Byrant. You can relive 7 memorable games throughout Bryant’s career. I think this is a great idea to commemorate the memorable career of a player who offered so much to the basketball world. Given that this isn’t a main game mode, I think it is a fun addition. It would be great to cover more memorable moments from Bryant’s career. One which shows Bryant’s journey from being drafted to becoming a legend. However, I do not think people will be disappointed with this added extra.
What is your favourite NBA Era?
In addition to Mamba Moments, there is also MyNBA Eras. This game mode was introduced in NBA 2K23 and has continued into this year’s release. This is a fun edition where you can relive some key defining moments in different eras. This is almost a history lesson for me, as I unfortunately did not get to witness a lot of these great sporting moments. Again, this is an added mode, and I think it is another great addition to the game.
The W series is almost a miniature version of MyCareer. You are able to choose your path and make a story for yourself. This can be done by entering the league fresh from college, or an up-and-coming player, who already has vast experience. Although this is not as in-depth as MyCareer, this is the start of something that can continue to be improved through the next instalment. It would be amazing to see in the future if the women’s league can be implemented into the main career mode. This would offer a lot of replayability and a new story that we perhaps haven’t seen before. Especially considering The W series is constantly improving and becoming more well-known.
Graphics & Audio
NBA 2K24 is a great way to show the graphical upgrade from the previous generation of consoles to new-gen consoles. Having something like the city on the previous generation of consoles just does not seem possible. There is a lot of detail that has been put into the city, which can especially be seen in the loading times. Whether this be just walking around, or by fast travelling somewhere. Loading times are non-existent. Of course, there is the odd time when it can take a little bit longer than usual to load something. However the majority of the time you are seamlessly moving into the next portion of the game. This is especially shown when moving in between the story cinematics.
Another thing that I have enjoyed in this addition to the game is the use of actual NBA players. This is done through the social app on your player’s phone. Stars such as Westbrook have real-life videos where they speak about the performance of their player. I think this is a great little addition. Even though a lot of the time it does not match your actual performance. By this, I mean when your player has had a great game, and you have Westbrook saying it was not the best game for your player and to give you time.
What is your favourite song from the soundtrack?
I will probably annoy some people by saying this. But, I am that person who turns off the soundtrack on games. When I play a game a lot, I will get bored with the amount of times I hear a song. Which is why I often turn off the soundtrack on games such as this. Although, in my team trying out the game, I did leave the soundtrack on. There were of course some songs that I did not particularly like, but I did like the majority. I thought the soundtrack was suited for the game, and I have no complaints.
NBA 2K24 offers a lot of replayability. With the amount of game modes on offer this year, there is certainly something for everyone. And for someone like me, I will be sinking some hours into all the game modes. Like with all career mode-type games, the amount of time you put into that game mode is dependent on you. NBA 2K24 career mode offers a lot, and it is something that will take a while for you to feel like you have accomplished something. It will take even longer if you don’t use real-life money as well. As your growth as a player is dependent on the amount of coins you have, it can take a while to improve if you are doing it without help. I do believe that players will easily sink many hours into this year’s installment.
I will be honest here. When I play games such as this, my focus is mainly on the career mode. The story that 2K and Visual Concepts have given before has been enjoyable. Especially when they are rags to riches types of stories. Or just the type that starts from the bottom (this being high school or college) and then moves their way into the league. As I have mentioned previously, I do understand that this can get boring when it is used often. But I do not think this year’s story in career mode has been as good as previous years. And for me, that is a big letdown.
However, I cannot deny that the team behind NBA 2K24 has listened to the community. With improvements such as those seen in MyTeam and the introduction of ProPlay being highlights of this newest installment. It is, therefore, with all these points in mind, I will be awarding NBA 2K24 with the silver thumb culture award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.