NBA 2K is widely considered to be the best basketball video game franchise of all time, but the latest release is getting ripped apart by players.
While critic reviews of NBA 2K20 have been generally positive, players of the franchise have launched into a full-on tirade, complaining about game-breaking bugs, aggressive microtransactions and missing features.
Those complaints boiled over on Monday when the hashtag #FIX2K20 started trending on Twitter. Much of that criticism was aimed at developers Visual Concepts and figurehead of the franchise, Ronnie "Ronnie 2K" Singh, the director of digital marketing at 2K.
We've seen these types of uprisings before. Game launches, especially sports franchises, bring out a passionate group of fans who demand new features and improvements to existing ones. But a short development cycle and the complexities of building a simulator mean those wishes are rarely fulfilled.
If you've seen NBA 2K20's user reviews — only 15% of which are positive on Steam after 2,100 ratings — then you might be dissuaded from buying the latest entry in this popular franchise.
But is 2K20 really that bad? In lieu of a full review, we're going to tackle these complaints and highlight what 2K20 does well so you can better decide on whether to buy 2K20 or wait for next season.
NBA 2K20 complaints
There are no shortages of reported issues with 2K20 just a few days after its launch. However, most players are facing the same problems. Here is our take on the grievances people have with 2K20 and whether it should influence your decision to buy the game.
Every game has bugs, some can be ignored and others can destroy the dozens of hours you've sunk into a game mode. I personally didn't get slammed by any major bugs in the 10+ hours I've played 2K20, but that doesn't mean other people aren't experiencing them.
PC users, in particular, are reporting all sorts of problems, from attribute bars not making progress to frozen load bars and serious server issues. The worst of these problems is when users use VC, or virtual currency, to boost the stats of a player, only for those stats to stay the same or even go down. That's a critical bug, especially because VC can be purchased with real money. In fact, the game encourages you at every corner to shell out cash.
For what it's worth, 2K announced on Twitter that its devs are "working around the clock to prepare an upcoming patch that will address other significant issues."
Slow load times
One complaint echoed by nearly every 2K20 player is that load times are painfully slow. I've joined the chorus after playing each of the game modes for a few hours.
Load times aren't bad for every game mode. MyCareer seems to be the biggest offender with some screens taking several minutes. Each game in MyCareer took no less than a minute to load and the Neighborhood was a serious test of patience as I waited for the game to bring me into shops and mini-games.
Load times in the MyGM game mode aren't awful but it feels like everything you do requires you to load a new screen. Want to talk to a player? Load screen. Want to jump to the next cut scene? Load screen. Done playing a game? Wait for a load screen to tell you how much VC you earned.
Fortunately, this isn't anything a software patch can't fix. Let's just hope it comes soon.
Microtransactions aren't a new concept but 2K20's aggressive push to get people to spend actual money on virtual coins has people rightfully angry.
Why 2K20 stands out as being especially ruthless about microtransactions is because VC is featured in almost every game mode. MyTeam, MyCareer and MyGM - they all take this virtual form of currency that can be purchased with actual money.
VC costs anywhere from $2 to $100. You can buy 5,000 VC for $1.99, 75,000 VC for $19.99 or 450,000 VC for $99.99.
Before spending money on VC, you'll need to figure out what you want to buy. In most cases, that will be player packs in MyTeam (NBA 2K's version of the Ultimate Team mode found in FIFA and Madden). Packs cost a different amount depending on the amount and quality of players in the pack. A base pack costs a few bucks while a Premiere pack goes for about $10 but gives you a better chance of getting star players.
You don't have to spend any real money to get VC. However, earning enough to level up your players, buy new kicks or open new player packs, requires you grind, or put dozens, if not hundreds, of hours into the game. You'll also be at a disadvantage against a player who spent actual money to quickly fill a roster with 90+ rated players.
Lack of new features
NBA 2K20 introduces several new features to the franchise.
Perhaps the biggest addition is the WNBA mode that lets you play a season as one of the 12 official women's basketball teams. The other major change to 2K20 is the new MyCareer story. Produced by Lebron James' SpringHill Entertainment, this year's story is actually pretty compelling.
2K also upgraded the motion engine for 2K20, although player movements still feel slow and clunky. You now also have the ability to play as one of 10 legendary teams and MyGM was revamped with Action Point, a divisive feature that adds consequences to your decisions.
While these are all solid additions to the franchise, the rest of 2K20 was practically left untouched. That includes MyCareer, one of the game's most popular modes. It's still an excellent franchise mode, with as much depth as the LA Clippers' lineup, but fans of MyCareer might feel cheated. The same goes for Neighborhood, which has some new additions but could use a major overhaul.
The general interface and gameplay haven't changed much, either.
Should you buy NBA 2K20?
Not if you haven't already.
That's not to say that those who did buy it should regret doing so — NBA 2K20 is a great game all things considered, and one of the deepest sports titles around.
But if you own 2K19 and weren't invested enough to buy 2K20 on Day 1, then there's no need to spend $60 unless you're excited about WNBA or the new MyCareer story mode. The game is otherwise similar to 2K19 and there still bugs that need ironing out.
We suggest you wait a few months before picking up 2K20. By that time, 2K will hopefully have fixed 2K20's bugs and online server issues and you can start looking for the game to drop in price.