NBA 2K20 is the latest of 2K Games’ annual basketball simulation series. Expectations going into yearly released sports games are not overly high. Limited development time tends to lead to repetitive and uninspired products. Given this, it’s actually an impressive feat how poorly NBA 2K20 has been received. People aren’t wrong to hate though. This is one of the worst sports games ever made.
NBA 2K19 and 2K20 next to one another. It’s frightening how well they line up.
MyCareer is NBA 2K20’s largest game mode and the primary focus of development. It’s your standard create a player and live an athlete’s dream experience. Considering this is supposed to be NBA 2K’s primary game mode, the lack of innovation is concerning.
The Neighborhood is almost identical. A handful of buildings have been redesigned but don’t expect any meaningful changes. Park players are stuck with the exact same courts as last year. Rec and Pro-AM have received mild visual enhancements but function, or often don’t function, the exact same as last year.
A big selling point leading up to release was NBA 2K20’s new approach to archetypes and badges. 2K Games promised the archetype system had been abolished and replaced by an open choice player creator. The reality? Not exactly true.
The new pie charts system has you select a build based on its overall strengths. If you want a build that focuses primarily on shooting and playmaking, you can do that. Unfortunately, likely due to gameplay balance, this ends up operating very similarly to archetypes. An NBA 2K20 Inside-Outside Scorer isn’t any different to an NBA 2K19 Slashing Sharpshooter. Different name, same outcome. That’s a reoccurring theme of this entire game.
To the developer’s credit, the new badge system is very nice. Players are free to tweak badges to suit their own specialty. I have an Inside-Out Facilitator with Hall of Fame Catch & Shoot. This lets me be a primary slasher with a secondary focus on three-point spot shooting. Alternatively, I could have invested badge points into Difficult Shots and gone for a shot creator type. Earning these badge points can be a little slow but long-term this system seems to be an upgrade.