Gaming

NBA 2K21 review: Fading glory of basketball

Apart from a few fixes, it doesn’t try to reinvent anything

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As of writing, we’re still in the midst of the NBA Playoffs taking place in Orlando, Florida. As the NBA turned to a quarantine bubble setup, the game just doesn’t feel the same. Fortunately, this time of the year — as weird as 2020 has gone — brings one constant thing to NBA fans alike. That’s right, a new NBA 2K video game!

NBA 2K21 comes around with almost the exact same flavor as its predecessor. It’s still the same kind of sports simulation that mirrors pre-pandemic NBA basketball. The live crowds, the clutch plays, and the jaw-dropping moments — it’s the same full NBA experience. But is this version of the game worth even looking at, now?

Is there anything new to look forward to?

Rodneil: There really wasn’t anything that’s remarkably new that was announced leading up to the game. It’s a little disappointing. But that may also be because 2K has already done everything it can do on the PS4/PS4 Pro platform?

Gab: I personally had zero expectations coming into the game. I got to play the demo a little bit and I got a glimpse of some of the changes — like the shot meter. Also, that demo pretty much jinxed the NBA Finals by putting the Bucks and Clippers in it. But again, it’s still the same NBA 2K game as before.

What made NBA 2K21 stand out from last year?

Gab: In my opinion, they didn’t do much to make this version stand out in any way. It’s still the same core experience as the previous two games. However, they tweaked the Pro Stick a little bit to add more fluidity to certain actions done in-game. And of course, there’s the change in the shooting controls when using the Pro Stick.

Rodneil: Some face scans and overall character models for players in the all-time and classic teams also look better. Previously, they looked like “lite” versions of players models in current teams, but no longer seems to be the case. 

That said, some classic teams are in desperate need of more real players. If all 2K has rights to are just five players from that classic team, that isn’t much of a team. Either they put more thought into the generic players or they just scrap the team altogether and just add them when they have at least 8 players from that team. 

What about the game modes? Are they any different from before?

Rodneil: I only really spend most of my time on three game modes: Quick Play, MyCareer, MyLeague/MyGM. For MyLeague/MyGM, I mostly customize the experience to my liking. Since I grew up looking up to players that entered the league around the 90s to 2000s, I would usually load user-created rosters and relive a particular NBA season. 

I’m not sure if there are enough players like me, but I think a good addition would be a “What if” or “Legacy” option in MyLeague. What it will do is let you relive a particular season and make your own trades. 

Of course, I understand the challenges of getting the rights to all the players but perhaps what 2K can do is highlight user-created rosters that can be used for each mode but have the year change from 2020-201 to whatever season you’re trying to relive. 

Gab: Apart from the usual Quick Play and MyCareer, I do play MyTeam from time to time. Even in the previous versions, I always found myself going through this game mode to take a break from getting triple-doubles in MyCareer. I honestly felt that this time around, there’s actually an incentive to keep playing.

The usual roster of mini game modes and weekly challenges are there, which also ultimately test your game skill. This time, they even included a whole progression-type of reward system like how most shooter games have battle passes. Essentially, you earn XP to level up and earn rewards as you reach certain levels.

This is honestly a great addition to MyTeam as a whole. Before, I felt like there’s really nothing much you could do in it when you’ve finished the challenges. With this added feature of a progression-style reward system, I get to explore more of MyTeam.

Speaking of MyCareer, how did NBA 2K21 handle it?

Gab: MyCareer this time around was disappointing, at best. Last year, they did an entire college stretch, and it just felt like it wasn’t worth the wait. While I applaud going all the way back into a high school root, it just made the tedious part even more so.

For starters, I don’t know if it’s pretty common to switch sports in your senior year of high school. But somehow, that’s how this story begins: with Junior switching to high school basketball at the wake of his dad, Duke’s death. It doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the MyCareer experience, and instead makes the campaign longer.

Rodneil: The whole prep-to-pro thing just feels really out of place now. Plus your player during that period just doesn’t feel like it’s worth playing.

I want a story that chronicles an NBA journey, not some forced narrative about who I am as a player.  It’s called MyCareer but every year it just keeps feeling like the story doesn’t match the game mode. 

After all of that, is this still worth playing?

NBA 2K21 serves the obvious mixed bag of great basketball with roughly the same mix of game modes to boot. The action, player movement, and dynamic player moments is still top-notch. And while questionable decisions were made to the core gameplay, it’s still a joy to play even when you’re just passing time.

If you were getting into NBA 2K21 with a lot of expectations, I assure you that you will be disappointed, at best. An extended MyCareer storyline, coupled with not-so-stacked Classic teams for Quick Play don’t seem to incentivize you to maximize the game. While MyTeam actually gets some shine, I was sort of hoping every other game mode did too.

In the end, you will still consider getting this game, and possibly go for the Mamba Edition if you’re dead set on the PlayStation 5. If you still love playing the game of basketball from the comfort of your home, it will surely bring you that. 

Gaming

PlayStation 5 pre-order second batch in PH happening Jan 22

Another 5-minute window

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You’ve been waiting for this, haven’t you? The second batch of pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 in the Philippines is officially happening on January 22, 2021.

Just like the first batch, the pre-order period will happen for only five minutes from 2PM to 2:05PM. Participating retailers should still be the same. They are as follows:

  • iTech
  • Gameline
  • Metro Plaza
  • Abenson
  • Game One
  • GameXtreme

There were some pre-order blunders the first go round but here’s to hoping there won’t be a repeat of that.

Watch our PS5 Review.

 

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Gaming

Animal Crossing is launching a ColourPop makeup collection

Featuring your favorite characters

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Despite a full slate of exciting games last year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was one of the most influential games of 2020. The island life simulator allowed everyone stuck at home to connect with another despite the pandemic. However, even with the gameplay, the game is just so darn cute. If you wholeheartedly agree (and why wouldn’t you?), Nintendo is collaborating with ColourPop for an Animal Crossing-themed makeup collection.

In its announcement post on Twitter, Nintendo unveiled four color palettes in the collection. The forefront of the collection features Isabelle’s yellow complexion and her cute-as-a-button pink top. If you’re looking for something more inspired, Blathers and Celeste have their own color palette featuring combination of their colors. For the stylish, the Able Sisters shine in purple and lilac. If, however, you’re looking for capitalist chic, Tom Nook has his own palette featuring his cash-money green.

The Animal Crossing x ColourPop collection will launch on January 28. Though only four palettes were showcased, the collection might include further characters. Besides the main characters around your island, the game also has a wide variety of cute potential villagers.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo made five-fold profit thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Gaming

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition out now

Took them long enough!

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Thanks to Ubisoft and their collaboration with Universal Games and Digital Platforms, you get to team up, fight for love and defeat the league of seven evil exes. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition celebrates its 10-year anniversary and includes Knives Chau and Wallace Wells downloadable content.

The game oozes inspiration from the iconic graphic novel series and 2010 Universal Pictures film. It sticks to the series’ humor and classic gameplay combo. You can even rediscover the beloved 2D arcade-style beat ’em up game familiar to fans! And, if that wasn’t enough, the 8-bit animation by Paul Robertson, the critically acclaimed soundtrack from Anamanaguchi, and original cutscenes from Bryan Lee O’Malley will get to you.

You’ll need to team up with up to three friends locally or online, revive each other and share health and coins to defeat your enemies. And, you can compete with friends in mini-games of dodgeball, battle royale matches or cooperate in either boss rush or survival modes.

If you want the game, it’s out on the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia and Windows PC, as well as on Ubisoft+, the Ubisoft subscription service and Amazon Luna for $14.99. The game will also be playable on PS 5 and Xbox Series X|S via compatibility mode.

If you’re a huge fan of the classic series, there are pre-order Limited Editions of the Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition with exclusive merchandise and awesome features. Pre-orders for the physical and Limited Editions will be available for six weeks exclusively through limitedrungames.com.

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