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NBA 2K19 Alternative Impressions

NBA 2K19

NBA 2K19 Alternative Impressions

We posted our NBA 2K19 review earlier this week — but if you are somehow still on the fence, here are a few more takes on the game to help you decide on a buying decision…

Matt Llewellyn

So far, my prevailing sentiment is that NBA 2K19 is everything that 2K18 should’ve been. The core gameplay is really on point in all aspects of the game. Defense has been improved, spacing is a lot better, and the playbooks have been expanded so that each game feels unique.

MyCareer has also seen a big improvement. The story is more grounded, minus one head scratching scene, and the Neighborhood has been filled to the brim with activities. The Under Armour cages are a riot and the call back to the old Slamball league is a fun way to play. Park and Pro-Am continue to be a great way to level up your player and compete online.

MyLeague is as deep as ever and remains the most densely packed franchise mode in sports games. Between relocation, team uniform designing, and even expansion, everything is there. MyTeam gets an overhaul too for all the card-collecting fanatics out there.

Commentary is still the best in the business with Kevin Harlan still heading things up. The color palette is vibrant and although the player models aren’t as photo realistic as NBA Live 19’s, it’s still a good looking game.

My only gripes are that the game is still very microtransaction heavy and floating a pass over a defender to a cutting teammate is flat out missing unless you try to throw an oop. VC still rules the day, especially in MyCareer where players will often feel compelled to spend real money for player attributes just to keep up.

Minor quibbles aside, NBA 2K19 has picked a fine year to have King James grace the anniversary edition cover. Despite some great strides made by the competition, NBA 2K19 still wears the crown in the kingdom of hoops video games.

Brian O’Neill

2K19 is definitely an improved experience, practically across the board. Gameplay is what I’ve noticed being the most improved year over year, and in particular, defense. As in, it can be really hard to score! And I think it’s a great challenge, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

Then on the offensive side of the ball, I’m really happy about the layup meter. Layup timing was a problem for me in 2K18, and I already feel more confident five days into 2K19 than I did all of last year.

The only game modes I’ve tried so far are MyTeam and MyCareer, which are both more engaging than last year. It seems like 2K has listened to the community and made some changes based on 2K18 feedback. Specifically in MyTeam, there is more content at launch, and the ability to earn a surprising amount of cards via the new token system. Yes, VC is still the bane of our collective existence, but at least there appears to be other paths for getting awesome players on our squads this year.

Overall I’m loving what I’m seeing/playing, and can’t wait to dive deeper.

Kevin Scott

It’s a testament to how deep NBA 2K19 is that I’ve now spent nearly a week with the game and yet barely even feel as if I’ve scratched the surface. There are simply too many modes and ways to play within those modes that it’s clear there will be plenty to do for months. I’ll focus on the two modes I’ve spent the most time with thus far.

MyCareer has a much better storyline this year, leading you on a roundabout track to the NBA that’s filled with contentious rivalries and important lessons about appreciating your own path to success. Yes, there are still microtransactions throughout the Neighborhood but it doesn’t lean quite as heavily on them. I mean, at least you can get a haircut without having to pony up any VC. Also, you can skip all the cutscenes if you just want to get to the action.

I appreciate how training for badges has become a little more simplified so you can use drills to target the specific skills you want to improve. Of course, these can get a little repetitive but they are fun enough and, more importantly, there are enough different badges to allow you to mix things up.

The layout of the Neighborhood has thankfully been simplified, allowing you to get around to all of the different facilities with relative ease compared to last year’s inconvenient design. Parks worked well enough for me in satisfying the online itch but I had trouble getting any games going in the Jordan Rec Center.

MyTeam has been expanded from the bare essentials mode it seemed to be last year, especially when compared to the other Ultimate modes out there. There are a lot more ways to play and build your team, with regular updates to be expected throughout the year. I’m still not a huge fan of Ultimate Team modes — especially ones that include contracts — and I’d prefer to not have to win an online game to unlock the auction house but those are minor gripes.

As for gameplay, I must echo the others in saying that the most noticeable difference is on defense, where it has become much easier to keep your man in front of you, even in online play where lag had complicated matters in the past. It’s also nice to see improved AI from non-user teammates, whose deficiencies in the past had limited your strategic options.

NBA 2K19 offers something for every hoops fan. No matter how you want to play basketball, it provides a comprehensive and enjoyable experience that rewards a knowledge and appreciation of the sport more than ever before.

Brandon Kosal

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me get this out of the way: NBA 2K19 is the best NBA 2K ever released. Yes, I know that this is repeated each release cycle, but it’s the absolute truth. Don’t expect anything new or groundbreaking here, but what is here is an even more refined version of the best sports video game on the planet.

If you felt burned out with 2K18 and are looking for some sort of huge revamp of the series, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re like me and just want to see the core of the game improved rather than rebuilt, then you’ll be thrilled with 2K19.

More than anything else, I look first to see what sort of gameplay improvements have been made. And even though some past releases have felt lackadaisical in this regard, 2K19 does not. The biggest on-court improvement is that it’s no longer an automatic that you can blow by your defender and easily get to the hoop. If anything, it feels like the pendulum may have swung too far the other way, making it almost too difficult to get to the hoop. But I’m chalking that up to my 2K18 bad habits. With some more playing time and slider tweaks, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Rebounding also feels a bit better. I thought it was too easy to snag rebounds in traffic, but that seems to be toned down a bit with 2K19. Also, shot timing has been adjusted as well. With past releases, it seemed like you would have a wide or semi-open shot only for the feedback to read it as heavily covered. That’s been adjusted this year, and as a result the feedback feels more realistic.

MyLeague, MyTeam and MyPlayer have also received their fair share of updates. MyPlayer is such a deep mode that it’s hard to say how it will play out this year, but if you loved last year’s mode then you’ll love this year’s as well. MyTeam has added a new 3-on-3, 21-style mode for both offline and online play. Other than that, it’s largely the same as previous releases. MyLeague has received the usual CBA refinements to bring it one step closer to total realism, but it remains largely unchanged and, as a result, feels a bit stale to me.

That said, what’s most important to me is the gameplay and, yet again, 2K has knocked it out of the park with another phenomenal release. There aren’t a lot of huge changes, but there didn’t need to be. What was here was already great, and with 2K19 greatness just became even greater.


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  1. Those aren't alternative impressions. Want a real alternative impression? I feel it's not as improved as everyone is saying it is. I've played several games of myteam unlimited that played out exactly the same as 2k18. 5 out pick and pop with no way to stop it. I still get blown by in wide open isolation. "Help" still lacks the proper rotation to avoid wide open threes.
    To be fair those games were against people I felt way outmatched against and really knew what they were doing. However, that brings me to another complaint. When I feel evenly matched with an opponent there's too much "realism" to feel satisfying when I get a win. By that, I mean too much randomness. I switch to control a big to guard the screener and the CPU on all defender fouls the ball handler. Or a foul way off the ball by CPU  giving them free throws.  Or CPU sometimes stealing passes and sometimes not. Or a contested three going in and an uncontested one missing. I appreciate what they're going for, but i prefer a little more competiveness over realism in my competitive modes.
    Still a decent game, though.
    I selfishly wanted to read bad reviews about this game. Don't get me wrong I love 2k basketball, bought both 2k and Live last year but after Madden, Nascar, PES, Golf club , I just ran out of money to get this lol.
    Offline I play on all star and I enjoy it very much. Iam a 39 yo gamer so my time isn’t devoted to gaming but I usually do quick match with random teams.  I haven’t mastered the movement control and all the nunance of attacking defender, but I play to strength like mid matches, penetration and kicking, and ball movement. The CPU changes D-pressure,  plays to lineup strength, and  adjust to opponents.....offline I think it’s best the best entry out of the series.
    I also play offline mostly. I've played about 4 hours now in My Team and I'm very pleased with it. I don't feel the VC is being pushed and I"m getting plenty of MT to spend by winning games offline. I played a few games quick matches, and they played smoothly and there wasn't much cheese from the opponnent because defense is go good this year. My career started out really good, but I got a little bored with it after I got through the main story.  The game plays smooth and feels to be the most polished 2k since 2k16 which I still think is the best 2k ever made this gen. 
    Btw for any fans of the classic teams, this installment by far  has the best looking meaningful classic/legend players....they still have to do better with some of the reserves..PS they could have put a better looking  04 Kobe a mini fro Pippen
    To whoever said this games players doesn't look as good as Lives.....It looks better. I thought everyone now knows those photo shots they were hyping doesn't look anything close to the live action play. 2K barely budged graphically from the last entry, but its all consistent. they weren't promoting photos beforehand that look nothing like the players during game play. I play offline, and this is by far my favorite 2K. Everything feels like its as close to watching a live basketball game as ever. The rebounding battles/tip battles are intense when it happens! This goes with diving for live balls as well. I cant explain how things like that in this years game, is making it the most fun I've had with a 2K game in a while.

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