NBA 2K21 Demo Reactions: What's New in the Latest Game?
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NBA 2K21 Demo Reactions – What’s New?

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BY August 27, 2021

There are a lot of people fairly upset over the new NBA 2K21 demo. Here’s the thing: I understand both sides of the coin. On the one hand, 2K was clear that current-gen consoles are not their focus. They wanted to put assets and energy into the next-gen version of the game. Still, players are wondering how they’re expected to buy a game that feels relatively similar to the last game. Other than new rosters, is it worth it to pick up NBA 2K21? Well, that’s what I want to get into. I had the chance to play both the Switch handheld version as well as the Xbox One version. I’m going to break down what’s new and other things you need to know in this NBA 2K21 demo reactions piece. Let’s start with the demo’s offerings.

What Can You Do in the NBA 2K21 Demo?

nba 2k21 demo reactions Image Credit: 2K

The demo is live for everyone to download on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. In the demo, you have the option to play as four teams. Firstly, you can play the present-day Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers. This is obviously their teams as of now, so this isn’t necessarily their 2020-2021 roster. That said, it’s worth noting the odd timing of the NBA season following COVID-19.  Usually, we’d be in the heart of free agency right now. Instead, we’re still working our way through the playoffs. As things lie right now, we won’t even have the draft until October 16. That puts the start of the new season on December 1.

This means the usual updates we enjoy about the new 2K games are not present at launch on current-gen consoles. On next-gen, the game will likely be available at launch for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This lines up much more nicely with the draft and free agency season, which starts October 18 this year. It’s wonky, but it’ll work out nicely for the next-gen players. If you plan on playing current-gen, then you’re set to have about 6 weeks where things look sort of the same as they do now on NBA 2K20. So yeah, it’s a bit messy, but it’ll work out.

The other set of teams you can play as in the demo are the All-Time Celtics and All-Time Lakers. This is a lot of fun and carries a sentimental value with the death of Kobe Bryant. Many of the positive NBA 2K21 demo reactions come from enjoying this aspect of the demo. It’s great to play as two of the most iconic teams in basketball history. That said when you’re on the court, does anything feel different?

Shot Meters, Dribble Moves & More

Let’s talk about the thing most people hate about the demo: the new shot meter. The shot meter in past games took on a vertical design. It felt more in line with how your player actually moves and jumps in the shot process. The horizontal shot meter is not new, however. Past 2K games featured this meter and players usually chose to switch back to the vertical if they had the option. It sounds like we will have the option to use the old meter in NBA 2K21 but you cannot change it in the demo. So, for now, you’re stuck with it.

On a brighter note, there are some fun new dribble moves to play around with that I really enjoy. Size up dribbles, in particular, feel really great in-game. As many stars do in the NBA, taking a moment to make a flashy move to see how your defender reacts is key to setting up a huge play. You can easily do that with the right stick. You can also control where you dribble the ball by holding the right trigger and moving the ball with the left stick. It feels a bit more intuitive than the past game and I can notice a real change.

The other “new” features in the game to how you finish shots and other elements of scoring feel no different to me. That’s fine because I feel like NBA 2K20 made strides in these elements. Keeping them the same is fine for me. Next, let’s briefly touch on the MyPlayer creator.

Exploring the MyPlayer Creator in the NBA 2K21 Demo: Reactions to the Building Process

The new MyCreator builder is actually not really that new at all. If you played NBA 2K20, then a lot of this is going to look the same. Overall, the game is borrowing most of its current-gen assets from the past game. The new version is expected to have some upgrades, but I’m curious as to just how many. Usually, 2K works with athletes to do face scans and other artistic developments to increase the likeness in-game. With COVID-19, I’m not sure how much of that actually occurred.

Picking your tendencies is a little easier thanks to pie charts that break down your strengths and weaknesses. Badges, which dictate your superstar abilities, are exactly the same though. When you’re finished up with your build, you’ll get a look at what sort of players you match up with from the past and present. You can test your build out on the court before confirming to make sure things feel right. Everything from wingspan to weight dictates how fast you move and what you can do on the court. I like feeling out my build first before putting time into it. Overall, I’m not overly impressed with new updates to MyPlayer creator because, well, it’s largely the same. I’m optimistic that the efforts for next-gen will pay off, but that means we don’t get many new features in the current-gen versions.

Options for Buying NBA 2K21        

You can purchase NBA 2K21 on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch for $59.99. There’s also a Mamba Forever edition that’s perfect if you plan on buying the next-gen version of the game. The Mamba Forever edition also includes NBA 2K21 Standard Edition on PS5 or Xbox Series X, 100K bonus VC, and the Zion Williamson Digital Collection, accessible on next-gen. This runs for a price of $99.99, with the standard next-gen version costing $69.99. $70 next-gen games has a lot of people confused and upset, but it’s very likely some publishers will charge more on next-gen. It’s worth noting that the Mamba Forever edition also only allows you a copy of the current-gen and next-gen game across console family. For example, you can only get the PS4 and PS5 copies on a single Mamba Edition. No mixing Xbox and PlayStation for this edition of the game.

If you tried out the NBA 2K21 demo, then let us know what your reactions are to the game. I know most people online are pretty upset or confused about what this game is going to be. Hopefully, running down the new features and offering some NBA 2K21 demo reactions helped. I’m with the group on this one: cautiously nervous and optimistic about the next-gen version. That said, the current-gen copy didn’t show too much to love in the demo. I’m still picking up the game, but I hope to see a better final product when the game launches on September 4. Thanks for reading Comic Years for all things gaming, comics, and pop culture.

Featured Image Credit: 2K


Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.


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