Publicly released on September 11, 2018, NBA 2K19 is the newest installation to the iconic basketball game franchise. The video game includes four primary game modes: Play Now, MyCareer, MyTeam, and MyLeague. In this article, I will be rating each portion of the game on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the poorest quality and 10 being the highest quality. Following these rankings, I will explain my reasoning for these scores while also providing a description of the game mode.
Ah, Play Now. The go-to game mode for when you’ve got friends over and want to play some 2K. This game mode allows you to pick any team you’d like and use them against your opponent. Whether it’s the dominant Golden State Warriors or the historic 2000-01 Shaq & Kobe Lakers, you are left with the option of choosing your squad. You even have the ability to pick an all-time franchise team. That’s right, you can have Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, Larry Bird, and Bill Russell all on one Celtic team if you’d like. But one issue I do have with this game mode is the lack of options you have in selecting a roster from a different league. Being a purchaser of NBA 2K17, I remember having the ability to select Euro League squads. For this edition of 2K, you don’t have that option. And I know the talent on these rosters is obviously inferior to NBA rosters, but I still enjoyed challenging myself by using these teams.
Play Now Rating: 8.5/10
Where do I even start with MyCareer? Widely recognized as the primary game mode in 2K, you’ll find most players digitally balling here. This portion of the game allows you to create your own NBA player with attributes that suit how you want to play. Say you want to be a 7’3″ center that is the ultimate board grabber or a 6’3″ shooter that can hit fade-away threes like free throws; the choice is yours. You can then take your player onto “The Playground” and challenge other online gamers. The abilities these players have lies some of my many complaints about the game mode, and why I may actually stop playing MyCareer.
I don’t want to say these archetypes are broken, but they are pushing the envelope. You see, when you shoot the ball, there’s a shot meter that appears next to your player. And if you time your release perfectly, the meter will light up green and your shot is guaranteed to go in. My issue with this is that people will memorize this and, well, make themselves virtually un-guardable. For example, I was playing this weekend with my friends against a “Shot Creating Sharpshooter.” And let me tell you, this was the greatest basketball player I had ever laid my eyes upon. The man single-handedly dismantled our team, shooting 12/12, (yes, you read that correctly, 100% from the field). And not to mention, the majority of these shots were at least 30 feet out. All he’d do was dribble up to the half court line, do a couple crossovers and lose his defender for a millisecond, and just jock up a three right before doing a backflip. And, of course, thge shot hit nothing but net.
“I believe the shot system is obviously unrealistic,” said 2K enthusiast and Prep senior Alexei Kowallis. “The shot contest mechanics need to be fixed. It almost feels like sharpshooters are [impossible to guard].”
Not only do I have an issue with the shooting in this game mode, but I also have to complain about the fouling system in online play. Since you cannot foul out in these neighborhood games, it is just an absolute reach party. What do I mean by that? Well, let me explain. I’m a center, so my primary technique is to post up when I’m trying to score. However, all my defender has to do is spam the “X” button, (steal control for Xbox), and they’ll either get a reach-in foul which just gives me the ball back without getting to shoot a free throw or else they’ll have the ball stolen from me and then proceed to get dunked on. The creativity of the game mode is unique and fun, but there are just too many exploits existing in the game mode for me to enjoy myself.
MyCareer Rating: 6.5/10
If there’s anything that screams pay to win in a game, it’s MyTeam. I’ll try be brief with this one because of my previous rant, but all I have to say is to make sure you bring your wallet when you hop on “MyTeam.”
In MyTeam, you are the GM of your own fantasy roster. With this ability, it is up to you to obtain players for your roster as well as staffing. To obtain these pieces, you have to complete challenges, goals, etc. Or, you can skip all that by paying literally hundred of dollars, (yes, people actually do this), on card packs to get the best players in the game.
So why do I find this unfair. Well simply, 2K is literally giving a shortcut to people who don’t have skill but have money, gifting them with the best players in the entire game. So I’d try playing a game online with my team that had no superstars but a couple fringe all-stars, and I’d be met with rosters who’d have players such as prime Allen Iverson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Michael Jordan, and Tim Duncan all in one lineup. I’d actually outplay my opponent, but because their team is so stacked with players that you can only get by having an insane amount of in game currency, I’d get completely annihilated. So because of this horrendous shortcut and pay-to-win factor, I’m giving MyTeam the following rating:
MyTeam Rating: 4.5/10
I’m going to be completely honest, MyLeague is my favorite game mode. It takes all the positives of MyTeam and mixes it up with completely customizable traits to give a very entertaining product.
In this game mode, you are once again an NBA GM. However, you have complete control over every aspect of the game. Say you want to play without a salary cap, or you want to have a team with only 99 Overall Michael Jordans. You can do that. Or would you like to create your own player and have him drafted to your team? You can also do that. Whatever you feel like doing with your roster, you can do it in MyLeague mode.
What’s also cool about this game mode is the multiplayer aspect. This weekend, my friends and I got a party of 8 people into one MyLeague lobby and held a draft. After we drafted our teams, we started the NBA season and competed against each other into the playoffs. It was a blast. And the cool thing about it was that you felt like you were an actual general manager. I’d be able to make trades mid-season, edit my playbook, sign free agents, alter the minutes of all my players, and do whatever I wanted with my roster. If I could think of one complaint I have about this game mode it’d be the strength of the opposing A.I.’s defense, (which is a bit intense), but still, it makes the game challenging.
MyLeague Rating 9/10
Average Rating: 7.1/10
In conclusion, I’m unsure if NBA 2K19 is really worth the purchase. The game has its fair share of bugs, and I’m not sure if spending another $60 on it will drastically improve your experience if you own prior 2K games. If you want an updated roster and slightly better graphics then sure, I can see why you’d want to own it. But with other games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout 76 coming out soon, I’m not entirely sure if this game is really worth the investment.