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NBA 2K20: It's What You Make of It

NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20: It's What You Make of It

One of the best parts about iconic video game franchises is how different people can love the same game but for completely different reasons. A Super Mario fan on one side of the world might be super dedicated to finishing each level completely, insisting on collecting every single coin and bashing every last goomba into the dirt. On the other side of the world resides another Super Mario fanatic whose singular focus is completing the game in the shortest time possible. Same game. Two different super fans with two different experiences with that game.

The same holds true for me and my beloved NBA 2K. While I can’t say I’ve bought the game every year, I distinctly remember purchasing a Dreamcast and the original NBA 2K after an in-store recommendation from an FYE employee. I couldn’t imagine a virtual basketball world outside of NBA Live or NBA Jam, but he insisted it was the best hoops game he had ever played. After just a short time with the game, I knew he was right all along. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

During a brief sports game respite over a decade ago, I distinctly remember receiving NBA 2K11 as a birthday gift. Since that time, I’ve purchased every release without fail. The 2K series has had quite a run, all the way from the scrappy, start-up underdog basketball franchise, to overtaking NBA Live, to essentially killing the Live franchise on its way to franchise dominance. This was all followed immediately by the inevitable microtransaction money grab (of course).

And that’s the state in which we 2K fans seem to currently exist. Most 2K articles are followed by a litany of negative comments, largely about microtransactions and frustrations with online modes. The funny thing is it’s even impacted my view of the franchise, and I don’t really touch any of the modes that are affected by those particular negative comments.

Which brings me back to my original point: Everyone can have a different style of play when it comes to video games. And for me personally, although I do enjoy a good simulated franchise or even solo exhibition games against the computer, my favorite way to play is with one of my good friends. In fact, we’ve been doing so regularly since NBA 2K12.

That fact isn’t particularly unique. I mean, who doesn’t love playing video games with their friends? But for us, our NBA 2K battle nights have reached legendary, epic status. What started as a few games here and there eventually morphed into weekly contests. And somewhere in the middle of all that, we’ve developed an unofficial system. Or, more accurately, an unofficial set of rules that we both follow.

A weeknight matchup is typically one game, while a weekend matchup would be at least two, perhaps up to four games, and yes, of course we keep score. A few days before game day, we’ll exchange some texts where we agree to certain matchups. Someone will eventually pick a set of teams, an amount usually higher than the number of games we’ll play, and the other person will follow up with their selections.

Once game day arrives, we agree to a set of matchups, figure out the home and away designation, and of course assign the appropriate uniforms. We always play 12 minute quarters with all of the regular NBA rules applied. In addition, aside from the first few weeks after release, we always use a slider set from the OS forums. For the past few years, including this one, we’ve used Schnaidt1’s and they work really well.

As for rosters, during the season we’ll use the official 2K roster, but we never factor in any injuries. It’s a chore to make the injured players healthy one by one, but since the 2K injury-free roster inexplicably omits the ratings updates throughout the year, this is the best option we’ve found. During the offseason, particularly after the draft and free agency, we’ll use a roster set from the forums as well, which is actually more convenient since the best roster sets don’t include injuries. So for us, Kevin Durant has already made his Brooklyn debut.

Playing online can be fun, but nothing beats being in the same room with the person you’re competing against. League Pass is always a button press away if a certain games call for attention, or if a beating is so severe that a break is needed. Trash talk is, of course, kept to a maximum. So are name-based puns after a big play by a certain player. “You can Luka but you can’t touch” definitely doesn’t feel as good typing out here as it did when I verbalized it last week, but that’s okay.

Neither of us are big on calling plays — we let the AI coaches call them — but everything else we handle ourselves, and we try to keep it as realistic as possible. Many games have yielded extremely unrealistic results, but for the most part, the aspect I enjoy most is how it feels like an actual NBA game. You have to be strategic with your substitution patterns and smart about playing to certain matchups on the floor. I enjoy the drive and kick out for a three, but if my team is awful from beyond the arc, I have to adjust.

I wish I kept all of the records since we started playing, but only the current season is kept. And throughout all of the years, we’ve remained remarkably close when it comes to wins and losses. For example, as of this writing, I am in the lead on NBA 2K20, but by only one game. I remember that he beat me overall in NBA 2K19, and vice versa for NBA 2K18. During each release, I don’t think there’s ever been a gap bigger than five games.

And as the 2K franchise has evolved, so have we and so have our 2K battles. Weekly battles have turned into bi-weekly or even monthly contests. The four game nights have been replaced by two game nights. Hey, advancing age and children will do that to any woman or man.

But that’s what I love most about NBA 2K. Despite some negative changes, the core game is still a lot of fun. It receives a lot of warranted scrutiny based on where a lot of the focus goes these days, but even if there are valid gripes every year, it’s still a phenomenal basketball game. I don’t really mess with MyPlayer or MyTeam all that much, so I get to avoid most of the money grabs and online frustrations as well.

What I’m left with is a great game of basketball, aided by great friends and great forums.

That’s the way I play NBA 2K. How about you? What about other franchises like Madden or The Show? What do you enjoy most about those? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. oh but looooook, yes it is indeed what you make out of it. I sqauad up with fam and friends in the park and pro am. win or lose its great vibes and its the community over the game itself these days. thanks for this.
    And the article isn't meant to make light of the issues -- as Brandon calls out -- just that community really does make these games fun even when they have issues.
    It's a big part of why I hope a lot of people come here, and it's why I push people to find leagues etc. if they just want to find some peeps to play against who are on the same wavelength -- assuming you can't find that in real life like Brandon has.
    Also, I love that Brandon calls out his house rules, I have definitely had these throughout the years. I did created teams with a friend in the EA NHL series for many years, but we had outlines for what we could do with our players.
    As an adult gamer in my 40s I have a very small window of time to enjoy the games I buy. For more context I still have battlefield 5, last of us remastered, Spider-Man, and kingdom hearts 3 in plastic. Nonetheless I’m a devoted 2K fan and have bought every version of 2K since it’s inception on Sega Dreamcast.  That being sad I haven’t dug deep into what 2K has to offer I play the NBA now  and Myteam when time permits and I very much enjoy it. I have minor gripes with gameplay and some constructive feedback on presentation. But overall I really like the game and am looking forward to the next gen version.
    the core game is fun, but hasn't it basically always been fun? I can't remember hating 2K's core game for any year. But I said on another thread, what kept me returning back wasn't online stuff, it was those amazing offline modes they had like Jordan Challenge, Lebron Path to Greatness, create a Legend, The Crib etc... I'd argue the core game played better previous years and just had more polish. 2k's lost focus. Focsing strictly on My career and VC, and honestly, people are just fed up. Core game won't keep you around if you keep disappointing people year after year.
    I too have owned every 2k game ever made. And this year is the first one I have put down after about two weeks because it's simply too difficult to shoot with user timing.
    Never have I had to use real fg % in a game of 2k until 2k20. And trust me that ain't too fun. Me and my best friend have been playing 2k and live since inception of both and we just play 16 thru 19 on Xbox one. We still play seasons on 2k14 and 15 on 360. Simply because shooting has a timing that's easy to read when to release the shot.
    If this is what I have to look forward to then this will be my last purchase of this series. Even live recently has this same problem. There simply isn't a realistic way to release the shot with "tells" or consistency. The gameplay quirks can be usually overcome with sliders adjustments here and there but , the NBA is about shooting the ball. If I can't shoot, what's the point?
    Might play online here and there or with My Player but the same problem exists. It simply ain't fun anymore. So we go back and play the other versions. Make roster adjustments and such. Worst 2k I have ever played simply because of shooting......is this one.
    I'm all about designing uniforms and courts in MyLeague. Which is a good thing, since my Steam installation is missing files that won't let me even enter MyCareer.
    AltWorlds
    I'm all about designing uniforms and courts in MyLeague. Which is a good thing, since my Steam installation is missing files that won't let me even enter MyCareer.

    Haha, quite the element to slide in there at the end. So yes, it is good you're into things not relating to that. You can't do a fresh install?
    I've been playing 2K since 2K5. I've only missed out on maybe 2 or 3 installations since then.
    I've never stopped playing a 2K game quicker than I have 2K20. And while there are things in my life that play into that (starting to work full-time, studying for my CPA, etc.) I can't deny the simple truth: I don't ENJOY playing 2K20.
    I'm finally just completely bored of the Park after seeing my enjoyment of MyCareer dwindle more and more from 2K18 to 19 to now. Everybody STILL has the same builds, it STILL takes ages to find games, the Rec is STILL unbalanced and lacking matchmaking. And I don't like how 2K tried to manipulate, like leading people into believing there'd be more creativity allowed in making our builds and then basically doing the same tired *** archetype stuff but with pie charts. And how they made the "grind" easier but then added about 20 new badges and made it harder to earn them (at least IMO).
    And I've always enjoyed the offline aspects of 2K. The Association and MyGM have always been my favorite mode. But the offline stuff shafted more than ever. They haven't touched blacktop mode in years (has anyone noticed this year that the team selection is kinda screwed up btw?). They completely f***ed up MyGM with the Action Point crap and tying everything to staff trust and morale and whatever.
    The only saving grace is Play Now Online is still pretty fun but I can only play against pick-and-roll-every-play players and people just trying to kamikaze to the hoop every play for so long before I grow bored of that too
    It's just...not fun. I used to be able to play 2K for hours and hours at a time and now I get to an hour and I'm like "k well that's enough of this" and turn it off to do something more enjoyable. What has 2K done to their game lol
    SonicBoom2040
    I too have owned every 2k game ever made. And this year is the first one I have put down after about two weeks because it's simply too difficult to shoot with user timing.
    Never have I had to use real fg % in a game of 2k until 2k20. And trust me that ain't too fun. Me and my best friend have been playing 2k and live since inception of both and we just play 16 thru 19 on Xbox one. We still play seasons on 2k14 and 15 on 360. Simply because shooting has a timing that's easy to read when to release the shot.
    If this is what I have to look forward to then this will be my last purchase of this series. Even live recently has this same problem. There simply isn't a realistic way to release the shot with "tells" or consistency. The gameplay quirks can be usually overcome with sliders adjustments here and there but , the NBA is about shooting the ball. If I can't shoot, what's the point?
    Might play online here and there or with My Player but the same problem exists. It simply ain't fun anymore. So we go back and play the other versions. Make roster adjustments and such. Worst 2k I have ever played simply because of shooting......is this one.

    I bust out 2k12 recently, this is before short meters or green releases, and I felt honestly, the game plays better and smarter. I didn't have a meter to use or a green flash to make the game better, it was better without it. They need to go back to what made the game great, they need to go back to the drawing board honestly.
    ChaseB
    Haha, quite the element to slide in there at the end. So yes, it is good you're into things not relating to that. You can't do a fresh install?

    I have verified files many times. I have reinstalled and reinstalled and reinstalled. I always end up with massive files missing with no way to download or install them. I had the same problem with '17 and '18. For '17, 2K support worked with me off and on for several months, turning the code inside out, with no solution. To top it off, Microsoft Support turned that computer inside out, and though there were some bizarre issues with its hard drive setup, those were resolved, but it didn't fix them. I've had similar issues with every iteration of the game, even though I've been on different computers.
    Back when I was working on 2K17, 2K Support and Microsoft Support both suggested I contact Steam Support. Except Steam Support doesn't exist. If you have a common problem, the machine directs you to an FAQ list to fix it. If you have an uncommon problem, the machine directs you to a message board, where the only people to help you are fellow players. Um, fellow players aren't programmers, and on Steam, they're more likely to mock you than help you. If anything, Steam has it exactly backwards -- players can easily help you with common problems, and they should have staff to help you with uncommon problems. I've also contacted the Steam Support account on Twitter many times, but it appears to be run by a bot, as well. Assuming the problem was with my Steam account somehow, this year I started a second Steam account just for 2K, to see if I could get around it. Same problems.
    You are the first person in three years outside of 2K Support to acknowledge me when I've said I've had these problems, so thank you. I just want to know if there are other players who are having similar problems, to this degree, because I've never seen anyone on the boards have exactly these problems, and then find out if there's a fix. If it turns out I'm the only one in the world who is inexplicably having these problems, then I will kill my dream of playing this game and seeing my creations in-game. I just want to know which to do.
    By the way, this is what it looks like when I play MyCareer on 2K20:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikdawq_-F64
    which still isn't as bad as it was with 2K17:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_gBNtcvJwc&t=112s
    I've pretty much always been a franchise/association/MyLeague mode guy. I'll occasionally dabble into other modes but I much prefer playing team basketball over just playing a single player like in most of the online modes. I don't ever remember not liking any 2k game and this year is no different. Sure, there are some I like more than others but so far I've always been able to get my money's worth.
    I always enjoy NBA2K. This year is no different. I have been around long enough to know what's up. I know the legacy issues; lack of fouls, ML bugs, etc. I enjoy games for what they are, as long as the pros outweigh the cons I'm good. Like pretty much every year, 2K20 has been the best playing 2K for me. I'm enjoying Madden and the Show as well. I kind of feel like theres this trend in gaming now where instead of enjoying games, people look for issues to complain about instead of playing, or finding something they do enjoy. Not just 2K, but every game.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Operation Sports mobile app
    AltWorlds
    I have verified files many times. I have reinstalled and reinstalled and reinstalled. I always end up with massive files missing with no way to download or install them. I had the same problem with '17 and '18. For '17, 2K support worked with me off and on for several months, turning the code inside out, with no solution. To top it off, Microsoft Support turned that computer inside out, and though there were some bizarre issues with its hard drive setup, those were resolved, but it didn't fix them. I've had similar issues with every iteration of the game, even though I've been on different computers.
    Back when I was working on 2K17, 2K Support and Microsoft Support both suggested I contact Steam Support. Except Steam Support doesn't exist. If you have a common problem, the machine directs you to an FAQ list to fix it. If you have an uncommon problem, the machine directs you to a message board, where the only people to help you are fellow players. Um, fellow players aren't programmers, and on Steam, they're more likely to mock you than help you. If anything, Steam has it exactly backwards -- players can easily help you with common problems, and they should have staff to help you with uncommon problems. I've also contacted the Steam Support account on Twitter many times, but it appears to be run by a bot, as well. Assuming the problem was with my Steam account somehow, this year I started a second Steam account just for 2K, to see if I could get around it. Same problems.
    You are the first person in three years outside of 2K Support to acknowledge me when I've said I've had these problems, so thank you. I just want to know if there are other players who are having similar problems, to this degree, because I've never seen anyone on the boards have exactly these problems, and then find out if there's a fix. If it turns out I'm the only one in the world who is inexplicably having these problems, then I will kill my dream of playing this game and seeing my creations in-game. I just want to know which to do.
    By the way, this is what it looks like when I play MyCareer on 2K20:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikdawq_-F64
    which still isn't as bad as it was with 2K17:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_gBNtcvJwc&t=112s

    That is one of the weirder problems I've ever heard of considering it has spanned years and versions, did you ever try getting the game outside of Steam? Did you ever try on a different computer?
    Ive learned to just try and enjoy the game, rather than to nitpick the game to death. I only play sports games, and I play just to relax, of a evening, or if Im having a bad day due to chronic pain, and dont feel like going outside I can play a game, and try to get my mind off the pain Im in.
    Im not into playing with friends, or online, all I care about is My League, and while it does frustrate me, with sim stats, still not being accurate to real life, and the lack of fouls, and lack of non steal turnovers, the game has cam along way since the very 1st one.
    Considering I was probably only about 6 yrs old, when the 1st Atari came out, where you played with stick like characters in basketball and baseball, and your football players were square shaped, I can appreciate todays games, more so than the majority of people who play video games,lol.
    Its been hard,breaking myself from being very OCD about stats, and the issues like lack of fouls and lack of non steal turnovers, that hurt the simulation factor in gameplay. For the past several yrs, I dwelled on the issues, hurting the game, instead of the good things it done. Now there were some yrs, like NBA2k11, 12, and I think maybe 13 even had this stat glitch, that were game breaking issues if you just played Association mode, but since about NBA2k14, when those issues finally got fixed, you could find a lot of good points about NBA2k, if you didnt dwell on all the things it did poorly, like some sim stats being no very accurate.
    But I have finally broke myself of ridiculous disease that is being OCD about every stat having to be accurate to what you would see IRL. Because its just a few stat lines that are wrong, its not like all the stats are way off.
    I wish I had looked at it this way a few yrs ago, and focused on the good, instead of the bad. Its actually the way you should look at life too for that matter. NBA2k has came along way, in not just since they 1st started making the game, but in just the past few yrs. Sure NBA2k14, thru 19 had their issues, as does NBA2k20, but 20 is by far is the best overall game to date, and that goes for all sports games, not just basketball games.
    Im actually enjoying games again, like I did many yrs ago, when we didnt have all the extra stat layers, now that Im not dwelling on the things that it gets wrong. I do think we still need to point out the flaws, and hold 2k accountable for the issues like like of all the fouls,stats, and the issues in the offline modes, otherwise they will continue ignoring it, as its obvious 90% or more of their time already is focused on the online side, and since us diehard basketball fans, are now in the minority we definitely have got to make our voice heard if we stand any chance of improvements and fixes in MyLeague and MyGM. But as long as we have already spent the money on the game, we may as well enjoy it for what it is, which is still a pretty good basketball game.
    ChaseB
    That is one of the weirder problems I've ever heard of considering it has spanned years and versions, did you ever try getting the game outside of Steam? Did you ever try on a different computer?

    The various iterations have been on three or four different computers by this point. (I finally wised up and got a more physically stable computer.) All of this makes me think the problem is tied specifically to my Steam account. I did start another account for the game this year, but both Steam accounts are on this computer, and given that I can "borrow" games between the two accounts, the two accounts are linked, so I could still be getting "penalized" (what else can I call it?) by the first account.
    I've thought about trying to find someone local on here to rent time on their computer a couple of times a month. I don't know anyone who plays this game. My acquaintances don't care about video games and are violently opposed to sports.
    As far as I know, the only way I can get the game on PC is Steam, and I don't have the money to futz around with getting platforms or a TV beyond my PC, especially when I'd be using it for only one game.
    I don't have this problem with any other Steam games. And for 2K17, Support worked with me for months with no solution. For 2K18, I assumed it was, as Support concluded, a problem with my Steam account, about which I can do nothing, so I never contacted them. That's why this year, I figured the solution was a different Steam account, but no.
    Apparently, I can get the game via Gamestop. But it's going to be a couple of months before I can afford it, with the holidays coming up. And then, of course, I could still have the same problems. But, after three years, I'm desperate to get all of this manifested. I still have the one league save slot going, for now, but I'm just waiting for it to tell me I can no longer save any changes at all there, and I'm still doing a lot of refining of my uniforms and courts.
    I wonder if you started a new Steam account with like a different IP if that would help. Or have you tried doing this at different houses and stuff already?
    ChaseB
    I wonder if you started a new Steam account with like a different IP if that would help. Or have you tried doing this at different houses and stuff already?

    I installed 2K17 in Alaska and 2K20 in Minnesota. Different computers, too.
    I play the game the same way I always have, by playing sim ball offline against the AI, either in MyLeague/MyGM or in Play Now games. Most things in my life have changed, I have completely changed over the years, but the way I play 2K is one of the few things that haven't changed.
    I’m waiting on one of you guys to post about WNBA action. Since this is basically the same game every year I strictly play with the females of the WNBA. Animations are dope and it’s a great change of pace. May get into the NBA aspect near All Star Weekend.
    I'm a dedicated roster creator in case you guys haven't checked out my work the past few years. I got back in the sig shot game this year. Those are all complete and now I'm working on ratings and tendencies. Roster is updated basically everyday but it's far from complete.
    William9holla
    I’m waiting on one of you guys to post about WNBA action. Since this is basically the same game every year I strictly play with the females of the WNBA. Animations are dope and it’s a great change of pace. May get into the NBA aspect near All Star Weekend.

    We've posted about it a couple times, and I've been a champion of saying how criminal it is you can't even use them in PNO against friends. I think the best gameplay is still found in the WNBA games because it mitigates some of the nonsense 2K has with super charged abilities and ratings.
    ChaseB
    We've posted about it a couple times, and I've been a champion of saying how criminal it is you can't even use them in PNO against friends. I think the best gameplay is still found in the WNBA games because it mitigates some of the nonsense 2K has with super charged abilities and ratings.

    I have to agree the WNBA action in 2K is great. I see animations in that that I don’t see on the NBA side of things. Ex WNBA players have this gathering the lose ball animation that I have not seen play out on the NBA side.

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