MyPlayer mode is where you take a young nobody from nowhere all the way to the NBA. For some baffling reason though, the game does all it can to keep you off the court. You can make a fire mixtape with sick bars about SpongeBob if you’d like, all while raising your online profile. You play as an influencer you see, and like Jordan in the Flu Game, that’s a concept that made me quickly sprint to safety before vomiting everywhere.
Look, influencers, I get it. My job is writing what I think about toys all day. None of us have parents who think this is a real job. You chase that bag, make that money, Tik those Toks. But it’s not Influencer 2K22, and I just want to play some basketball. When NBA 2K22 lets me, it’s great - but it’s far too interested in making me do something else while trying to sell me things that have nothing to do with the sport.
NBA 2K22 is an almost impossible game to rate, because it’s a damn good basketball game at its core. The biggest problem is how it tries to be anything but a basketball game, and while that doesn’t damage the overall quality on the court, it makes it hard to root for it. It’s the ‘03 Lakers, and I hate the ‘03 Lakers.
Footstep for footstep, NBA 2K is probably the best sports sim on the market. It has the same slick pacing as FIFA, but with more realism. Added post controls this year give you additional individuality, though FIFA still has it beat for flair and unique movements, NBA 2K is much tighter in one-on-one scenarios and when it comes to shot precision. No other sports games come close. Sorry, Cricket 19.
The problem is FIFA makes you feel like you’re playing the game, while NBA 2K makes you feel like you’re watching it. Every dunk, block, pass, and steal is sponsored. You can’t make a substitution without the game reminding you to buy Gatorade. The game constantly stops for cheerleaders, courtside reporters, and yet more advertisements. Off the court, it’s even worse.