Name: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: 2K Games
Released: 16.10.2018
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose

I’ll start this whole thing with a confession – I know next to nothing about basketball, and NBA 2K Playground 2 is my first basketball game experience ever. As far as I understand this is sort of the FIFA Street of the NBA franchise. How well was my experience though, only one way to find out!

Graphics

NBA 2K Playground 2 has a sort of cartoon/caricature-style when it comes to its players. Not obviously not a bad thing by itself, but it feels a bit rushed and without any real charm. In addition to the fact that all of the players look really similar. The courts, on the other hand, looked really good. With the different teams having their different arenas. I do realize it’s just a re-skin of the objects, but it worked surprisingly well. NBA 2K Playground 2 also features some street courts, for example, at the beach.

Personally, I found the game to be way too dependent on “game juice”, with the screen shaking, crazy colors all around, and generally too much stuff happening when someone scores a goal (at least for my liking).

Sound wise the game is quite solid, sure the featured songs aren’t my type of music, but I won’t complain too much. There’s also a very cool feature which allows you to change the commentator of the matches. Although I have no clue who any of them are, it’s a plus in my book.
7/10

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 - (4)

Gameplay

The gameplay itself is solid, although not excellent. On the court the games are fast-paced and more importantly you can decide lots of the rules for yourself, like match length, the time before an attack is called off by the referee – which is definitely a cool feature. The two-on-two matches allow for lots of goals, but maybe not the most tactical gameplay ever. I did find it to be a bit too random whether or not you scored a goal, as this is all based on where you press the button on a scale (more on that in controls). Alas, there are some things I really don’t like when it comes to controlling my players; the defense part. I can’t for the life of me understand how I’m supposed to defend… Yeah, I get that different buttons does different things, like steal the ball, or shove the attacker, but for my part, it was just pure luck if I actually won the ball back, and I had to keep crossing my fingers for the opponent to miss, instead of actually winning the ball back myself.

And then, there are the microtransactions… All of them are for cosmetic changes, so at least it doesn’t affect the gameplay per se. Paying 192 NOK for 16000 of one of the in-game currencies used for cosmetic stuff doesn’t really feel micro, especially when you take into consideration that this is a full priced game, to begin with. Another thing as well; I still haven’t understood where I am supposed to use these cosmetic items, so for my part, this seems like even more waste of money than usual microtransactions.
7/10

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 - (1)

Controls

First of all, NBA 2K Playground 2 has a really simple, yet quite effective control system. The basics are easy to learn, but learning all of the different button combinations certainly takes time. I’ve obviously yet to learn all of the different combos, but those I have learned have proved rather good. One thing I didn’t like about the controlling is it seems really luck-based. For example, when shooting you need to hit “the green area” in order for the shot to have a chance of making it into the basket. I imagine this can be fun once you get the hang of it, something I never did. And personally, I would have liked it more if it wasn’t that type of system.
7/10

Replay Value

The whole basis of NBA 2K Playground 2 is that you’ll need to play lots and lots to unlock more players. Unfortunately, I found the game to become quite boring after a short while. Sure, you have like season mode which helps a little. However, the matches didn’t feel unique, and I found the progression to be way too slow. I’ve played the game continuously and have only been able to open one bronze pack with new players. This might be better once the online mode is a bit more alive than it was when I reviewed the game, with waiting times being longer than I had the patience for.
5/10

You can check out our review policy right here if you wonder how we set our scores.

Overall
6.5/10
6.5/10
  • Graphics - 7/10
    7/10
  • Gameplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Controls - 7/10
    7/10
  • Replay Value - 5/10
    5/10
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Verdict

To summarize my feelings; NBA 2K Playground 2 doesn’t feel finished. And it certainly does not defend its price, when the publishers have decided to allow for microtransactions. If you like basketball and particularly the not so serious sort played in NBA 2K Playground 2 you’ll most likely have a better experience with the game than me. Although I might suggest you wait for a sale, at least if you are prone to paying for stuff in-game.

Pros

  • Good sound design
  • You can make rules yourself
  • The controls are quite good

Cons

  • Microtransactions
  • Low replay value

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