PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
NBA 2K24 was supposed to be the year of Kobe Bryant and Mamba mentality. Instead, I’m looking at a stripped-down version of NBA 2K games of years past, changed up to a point that maybe, just maybe, no one would notice all the shortcomings. Especially on PC where I happen to be reviewing this version from.
This year’s iteration of the long-running annual sports franchise brings with it a host of changes that, for better or worse, redefine almost all the systems we’ve come to know about NBA 2K. But make no mistake, visually it still looks like the same old game we both loved and hated for however long we’ve been the game.
The biggest and most welcome change implemented in the game is how a player gains XP. In the past, you were confined to completing Agenda challenges to get XP to progress. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world but sometimes you get challenges that simply don’t feel like it’s worth grinding for. The closest comparison that comes to mind is how Halo Infinite used to force players to use specific weapons. But now, you are able to get XP from other sources such as Domination and Triple Threat in MyTeam. Agendas are still present in the game but they just give you rewards such as shoe packs or MT Points.
The next big change is a bit contentious. The Auction House has been removed from the game and in its place is the Player Market. I know that players use it to get coins fast but it’s also shady as all heck. I personally don’t miss the Auction House. I don’t miss waiting hours and days after making a bid, only for someone else to bid higher at the very last moment. Now, 2K themselves determine the prices. I don’t know how things are going to shape up in the long run. But so far, I’m kind of liking it. In particular, the potential of unlocking a historic Sapphire Heat player from Daily Deals.
Salary Cap returns from past games, but it’s almost unrecognizable from when it was last featured. (In NBA 2k18, I think.) This new version of the game mode adds real weight to the cards, where at one point, high-value cards never really affected your salary cap. It may seem like a more convoluted version of the Limited game mode, and I can’t fault anyone for thinking of it that way.
You start by picking cards for your lineup. To play the mode, you need to make a lineup that goes under the salary cap. The cap changes every couple of weeks, along with the rewards. Making it a fun and agile game mode that will require you to flex your basketball knowledge.
It runs on a split-half setup. The first half of the game is your typical six-minute game where both players try to get a higher score. Cool. No drama there. The second half is where things get interesting, however. Now the game is essentially a sprint to the finish as the high score from the last half gets 24 points added to it and the first player to reach that score wins the game.
I really like this version of the Salary Cap. It’s the kind of shake-up players have been wanting for the longest time. It makes for a fast-paced experience that sets it far apart from your regular game of simulated basketball. Furthermore, you are discouraged from using the same cards over and over again since the card’s value only increases the more they see time on the court. (Guess this is the one place where load management is actually seen as a positive.)
Many players, like myself, bought the game because it commemorated Kobe’s most iconic games through Mamba Moments. This is probably the game mode that I enjoyed the most. Who doesn’t want to dominate every game as Kobe while completing challenges fit for the Black Mamba himself? On top of that, they’re all not complete games. Like the “62 In 3” game. You only play 3 quarters as Kobe, and the game cuts to the end when the buzzer sounds. I don’t know how the scoring works, so let’s assume that it’s simulated based on how you play.
The presentation is also a cut above your regular challenge mode as both the announcers and scoreboards are authentic to when the game actually aired on TV. But if you’re looking to relive Kobe’s 81-point game over the Raptors or his last-ever NBA game where he scored 60 points. Then tough luck. Those games are not part of Mamba Moments, for whatever reason.
And that’s all the positive things I have to say about NBA 2K24. It’s nice that they’ve changed some features and that Mamba Moments is so much fun. But there’s no denying that, aside from the usual 2K graphical/gameplay shenanigans, this year’s PC release has got to be the worst it has ever been for as long as I’ve been playing NBA 2K.
This is the first year I’ve really played NBA 2K on PC. I’ve played it here and there among friends in internet cafes but never going all-in past the multiplayer modes. So when I decided to go fully on PC, I was immediately shocked at how limited everything is. If you’re wondering, PlayStation 5 controllers aren’t recognized by the game. I had to settle for an Xbox controller which isn’t ideal but it’s better than nothing.
It didn’t take me long to see a lobby full of people trying to break the game. Whether it’s character models glitching out in every way possible or just an OVR 60 not missing shots, the ways are too numerous to count. Look, I know that 2K regards the consoles as the primary platform for NBA 2K but this here is straight-up abandonment.
NBA 2K24 on PC is just a port of the last-gen version that’s on PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch. This is freaking PC we’re talking about. Shouldn’t they have at least given us the option to pay for next gen and have next gen features? But that really doesn’t matter much since crossplay is only exclusive to next gen consoles. That’s right. It’s not enough that last gen consoles get screwed from the lack of crossplay but PC is even more isolated than anyone ever expected. But maybe, with all the stuff I’ve seen in lobbies, the console folks are better off not interacting with PC. Still sucks though.
This year’s MyCareer is an unmitigated failure in every possible way. The story part of the game has been completely removed. Your brand new MyPlayer is now tossed to the wolves, so to speak. You are effectively an OVR 60 starter who is expected to perform well against players objectively better than you are. And the only way to get better fast is to drop a large pile of VC to improve your stats to have a chance of getting Rookie of the Year and a Championship in the same year.
Personally, I’m not all that broken up about the removal. It’s been years since I’ve last viewed the story as anything more than filler. But I do remember enjoying it for the first year or two of MyCareer way back when. So I completely understand why people are really upset with the change. Onboarding is one of the toughest parts for anyone new to NBA 2K. And now it’s even harder than ever before.
NBA 2K24 is an extreme case of 1 step forward and 2 steps back. It’s already hard to see past all the negatives in NBA 2K24 unless you’re in tune with the changes year after year. Even then, it gets harder to ignore with each new game. If you’re playing this on PC, I only recommend playing MyTeam and Mamba Moments. I’d stay far away from MyCareer, It’s a headache and a half with very little upside besides being a place to earn VC and the occasional free stuff. Otherwise, just get the superior PS5 or Xbox Series version. Now, if you excuse me. I have Domination games to win and a Diamond Kyrie to work towards.
NBA 2K24 – Review
You’ll be left out with a “meh” after finishing the game. What game did we just play?
Salary Cap was more fun than expected
All experiences go to the season pass regardless of game mode
Positive changes to MyTeam
Removal of MyCareer storyline
Not optimized for PC
Unable to recognize a PS5 controller from the get-go