NBA 2K22 (Switch) Review
Now that we have a new generation of consoles, we’re at that point where the main focus on a multiplatform game isn’t on the previous generation. So what happens to the Switch? A console that already gets slightly downgraded versions or ‘legacy’ editions. There’s no legacy edition here for NBA 2K22 on Switch, but it certainly is less fancy.
Look, we know what basketball is, so I’m not going to waste your time. NBA2K22 is more basketball. Upfront 2K22 delivers more of that, with the actual basketball part looking very similar to last year’s game. There have been tweaks and changes here and there. The shot meter is something fans had an issue with within 2K21; they should be relieved to know it’s been fixed. The new shot meter feels much more straightforward in showing how your shot will go. Defending and stealing feel better than last year’s game. The basketball part of this game is solid; on the Switch, it runs well at 30fps. If you’re after 2K22 to play ball and not deal with the MyCareer or MyTeam, this game will have you covered.
Now for the rest of the game, the two big standouts are MyCareer and MyTeam.MyCareer is back, time to make your player and work your way from college basketball to the NBA. Don’t stop there; you want to become one of the greats! Last year’s MyCareer had a story of your player trying to live in their famous father’s shadow. This year you’re a social media talent, trying to prove to everyone that you’re not just some amateur. While the previous career modes had an actual story to them, it feels very stripped back this time. It may be because there are only so many ways you can tell a story about a new player having to/wanting to prove themselves and make it to the NBA. Here your journey to the NBA moves quickly, and you’re given decisions along the way to speed it up even more.
MyTeam, oh how I haven’t missed you. Some changes have been made for those who are into it. Even when you’re not actively in the mode, you can feel its presence throughout. It would be wishful thinking that 2K22 eased up on the microtransactions. 2 K are showing no sign of slowing down. And I get it, mobile games can be full of ridiculously priced microtransactions, but they’re usually free to start, at least. The mode was gross last year, it’s gross this year, and it’ll likely go on until someone else makes a decent rival game.
WNBA is still present, only within MyLeague like last year’s game. It’s a disappointment, given only the new consoles seem to be capable of letting you play the Career mode titled “The W Online”. It appears to be a more substantial mode, with MyPlayer going up against others and earning rewards. Instead, Switch owners get what they got last year: the bare minimum. As with last year, the MyCareer and MyTeam parts of the game are inaccessible offline. I get that MyTeam is tied up in all of its microtransactions and whatnot, but it sucks MyCareer is a no go without some Wi-Fi. Not everything requires being online, but it still limits down where you can have your Switch on the go.
Like last year, once the Switch goes into sleep mode, prepare to be taken back to the main menu because the connection dropped. It’s not so much of an issue for other consoles. They don’t have a handheld only version. Even coming out of sleep mode once the game is connected online but the mode isn’t online-only, you get booted all the same. It’s all made worse by how long the loading takes, which is just cruel when it has you sitting there for so long to tell you it can’t connect to the server (despite no connection issues on the Switch). I got used to putting the Switch down for a minute when I hit a loading screen. Life’s just too short to be waiting on 2K servers.
The visuals look like 2K have gone all out on the new consoles, but we’re still playing on the Switch. The visuals haven’t changed from last year. They’ve wrung as much out of the Switch as possible at this point. As a result, cutscenes away from the basketball court are something to behold. I cannot show you any of my time with the game because screenshots don’t work in 2K22. The actual on-court visuals are fine enough, you’ll see the occasional amusing glitch where someone’s hair does something stupid, or there’ll be some goofy low-quality face.
The Neighbourhood portion of MyCareer now takes place on a flashy cruise boat, the Cancha del Mar, and instead of one big area, it’s now several open empty spaces. If you want to get in a spot of training, you can go to the Gatorade Training facility. Need a boost while you’re there? Buy some Gatorade for your player. There’s the shopping deck/promenade that’s littered with your favourite real-world sporting stores if the Gatorade centre wasn’t a bit much. Prepare to get out your wallet. Just like in the real world, all of those clothes are going to cost you. Only you’re stuck just being able to wear them in 2K22.
There’s also a quest journal that gives you objectives to earn points, giving you some incentive to interact with the boat part of the game. There are daily mini-game exercises in the training facility and daily prize wheels to spin. Unfortunately, it does nothing but feel like 2K22 is trying to keep you doing stupid stuff to get too little for, especially when they want you to spend money. Once again, it’s unavoidable NBA2K as a whole feels like it’s some money laundering scheme putting up a basketball game as a front.
You can head over and shoot some hoops with other people online, you know, the basketball you’re here to play. This section becomes more dependent on there being a big enough player base to find a game quickly. There are 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5 courts available depending on how you want to play. Just like most online-focused games, there are seasons to gain enough points and unlock rewards. The ship is meant to make stops throughout the season at different locations. At the moment of writing, I haven’t seen one happen.
I get that you want to have your immersive ‘neighbourhood’, and they at the very least, didn’t just reuse what they had last year. It still doesn’t escape the fact that it feels very unnecessary. I don’t doubt there’ll be people who want to go around showing off their flashy brand clothing and dunks in a big communal space and would rather play basketball with other people.
It’s pretty minor compared to the actual content of the cruise ship, but once you step away from the court, the visuals are something else. Then there’s lighting issues, camera glitches, and it generally feels like the cruise ship came right out of the Xbox 360 era. It’s better than them doing nothing, but I’m not sure this is what people had in mind either. Something to note, the game is over 46GB!! Make sure you have a decent-sized MicroSD card if you’re getting this game.
Last time I enjoyed the MyGM mode, getting to run a team and meeting the owners’ expectations while keeping your staff and team happy. There’s also the limited dialogue at times, chit chats with two different players in a row, and both of them had the exact same conversation. It came up a fair few times too, 2K22 isn’t prepared for you to be spending much time chit-chatting. Although there was a conversation about Frasier, I won’t soon forget. I also copped the same Taco Bell, M&Ms and Sour Patch Kids dialogue from last year. Along with the MyGM mode, there’s the other MyLeague content returning. I wouldn’t hold my breath on too much being different from last year.
So why am I mostly talking about what’s wrong or missing? We’re at that point with sports games where all the focus goes into the new consoles and every year out is one step closer to ‘legacy’ editions. 2K22 isn’t there yet, but it’s not far off. If you want to play basketball, it’s still solid this year, at the very least. If you want to check out the open-world online cruise ship that still thirsts for your money, hop on board.
+ The basketball core is still great
- Not a great deal of change from last year
- Feels like there’s less than last years offering
- Won’t let you forget it’s all about the $$$