When I agreed to do this NBA 2K22 review, I knew I was in for a difficult experience. Everyone knows that the people who are the most critical of each NBA 2K installment are also the ones who are first to return every year. It's a well-known fact. Having established an annual tradition of churning out the same half-baked gameplay each year with a new number at the end of it, the criticisms leveled at them by their most ardent supporters have become all too familiar by now. I am pleased to report that, while by no means a perfect game, NBA 2K22 represents a significant departure from the franchise's previous formula and represents a significant step forward in the right direction for the franchise.
In spite of the fact that nostalgia plays an undeniable role in informing our opinions of previous NBA 2K games (your favorite 2K is probably just the one on which you first started playing with your friends), NBA 2K22 is unquestionably superior to the previous few entries. While NBA 2K22 Battle Pass
does not completely reinvent the wheel, it does a fantastic job of getting the fundamentals right. Even if it is not without flaws, the latest iteration of the game from developer Visual Concepts feels like some of the routine criticisms have finally been heard, resulting in the best basketball game we have seen in years.
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It's the first thing we notice about Visual Concepts' improved gameplay in NBA 2K22, and that's that it feels significantly more skill-based than the game's predecessor. It appears that the controller-shattering moments such as losing a game due to a last-second move from one baseline to another, or the algorithm seemingly at random deciding that your critical uncontested 3 should not go in, are no longer a thing of the past.
Because of the haptic feedback provided by the DualSense, the gameplay on the defensive end of the court feels significantly more substantial as well. Pushback on the buttons you press or hold as a result of backing down opponents and posting up results in pushback. When you switch to a player who is defending against a more dominant opponent, your controller may even tighten the shoulder buttons without your input. Things like alley-oops and ball-handling now necessitate much more precision and timing than they ever have before, and there are a slew of new signature dribble moves to experiment with.
The defensive AI is shown to be quite ruthless during the course of the gameplay. The computer-based players move more quickly and can read the majority of players more easily, to the point where it becomes nearly impossible to score on the court when All-Star difficulty is enabled. Although it is unclear how the new shot contesting system works in practice, the influx of new block animations is a lot of fun to use when on defense, according to the developers.
All of the new animations significantly improve the overall quality of the gameplay. It is clear that today's stars are distinct versions of themselves; Luka Doncic moves on offense in the same manner as Luka Doncic does in real life, and not like some generic point guard. These innovative changes contribute to the feeling that NBA 2K22 is a completely new game, one that is ideal for ushering in the Next Generation.
My first impressions of the new shot meter were not positive in the least. It appeared to me to be a really stupid and overly-sized game when I first opened it and looked at it. I was right. I've begun to get used to it after spending more time with it, as is customary with all of these sports-themed video games, and I've come to appreciate the benefits of having a larger shot meter. For starters, it gets smaller as your player becomes more fatigued, which is an interesting take on that aspect of basketball from the perspective of the game's mechanics.