NBA 2k Playgrounds 2 doesn’t play by the same rules that govern other modern sports games. 360 dunks, between the legs lay-ups, 3’s from beyond the court, and even elbows are legal. It forces you to play by its own set of rules. Forget simulation, this is like basketball on steroids.
First of all, let’s address the giant elephant in the room.
It’s unfortunate, but 2K is up to their old tricks again.
This is clear from the very moment you first load the game. You get the chance to open a limited number of player packs, all of which contain the players that you can use in-game. Now, how about the ones you don’t get? Well, you either have to grind for virtual currency to open more player packs or you can shell out some real money to buy them.
The roster includes NBA superstars from just about every era. This makes for fantastic team-ups such as Bill Russel and Kyrie Irving, Olijawon and Harden or even Lebron James and Michael Jordan. The possibilities are almost endless!
(Side note: all characters are unlockable with a full $10.00 purchase)
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the ones you initially unlocked. In my experience, I got lucky and had Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward and I was more than happy to use both to play the variety of modes that the game offers.
First, we have the standard 2 on 2 Exhibition game, where you can go up against a CPU or an online/couch buddy.
Next is the regular season mode where you control a team and run the gauntlet of a 15-game season. If you can get to the playoffs, each round is a best of 3. When you get to the finals, it’s there where you get to meet the winner from the opposing conference. Maybe it’s here where we can finally get Carmelo that coveted ring.
We also have a 3-point shootout where you pick one player and go head-to-head with another in a traditional 3 point shooting contest. Best bet is to go with Larry Bird or Stephen Curry on this one.
Lastly, the Online Championship mode. Here, you get to play as a player from just about any team. The rest of your teammates are either controlled by a friend or by a random online player. This is where you either get to show off your skills or potentially get your butt kicked by other players. Each game is a unique experience to the point where you’ll most likely keep telling yourself “one more game”.
Now on the real hard court is where this game shines. Different players have signature moves that you can pull off. Good examples would be Lebron James’ Tomahawk dunk or Durant’s fadeaway jump shot. These signature moves earn extra XP for your character, which you then use to level up to higher tiers. The higher the tier of your selected player, the more VC they generate for you in-game.
All scoring actions such as shooting, alley-oops, and even dunks have a shot meter which you constantly have to time correctly. If not, then this can lead to missed dunks and air balls if you’re not careful. However, releasing it at the right time won’t just award you with points, but with an acrobatic show as well.
The game also added a Lottery Ball which is basically a meter that builds up for every successful offensive or defensive action. Once it’s filled up, a random power-up is activated that affects your team. These include, but are not limited to, freezing your own basket (which requires your opponents 3 shots to properly thaw), Super Speed that gives you unlimited stamina, and everyone’s favorite the Super-Charged ball—a red-hot flaming ball that gives you 100% accuracy on your next shot! So make sure you shoot 3 pointers from halfway across the court for extra fun.
Playgrounds also feature a lot of street courts from all over the globe. Feeling sunny? Why don’t we take our game down on the outbacks of Australia! Feeling chilly? Then a trip to snowy Moscow perhaps? I kinda wish they added the Philippines to their list of street courts. It would’ve been really interesting how 2K would incorporate our country inside their own basketball game. Alas, it’s not meant to be.
NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 takes all the arcadey elements from the classic fireball that was NBA Jam and added in a couple of improvements that can really get you hooked on the high-flying, gravity-defying, slam dunking action!
Micro-transactions may have smeared the game’s shine a bit, but as a whole, it’s a helluva basketball game.
Review written by: Kurt John Palomaria
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by 2K Games. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.