REVIEW: ‘NBA 2k19 – The Cash Grab’ (PS4)

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NBA 2k19

NBA 2k19 has released and millions of people have flocked to this game, including myself, looking to become the next Legend of the Courts and be Immortalized in NBA 2k20. Sadly, there will be those who won’t ever make it there. Why? That’s because there’s a massive bodyguard protecting the goods, and its name is “Overall.”

Not sure what that is, let me explain, “Overall” is the combination of all your player’s attributes combined into a single “score” of sorts. This is “score” is displayed with a badge that gets fancier the higher your “Overall” rises from a dingy copper emblem to a fancy crown topped golden emblem. I have an issue with the badges, but we will get back to that. For now, let’s continue talking about “Overall.”

In 2k19 developer, 2K Games decided to do a tier list. This means when you hit a milestone, which is every 5 “levels” up until level 90, you unlock new things from something as minor as hair dying at 65 to something game-changing like “jump-shot creator” at 75, to just superfluous things like bikes, jewelry, skateboards, etc.

The overall system, in my opinion, is unfair to casual players and will force the hardcore players to spend money. The way “Overall” is set up, it requires players to pull out the wallet and buy some Virtual Currency aka VC. To hit that ’85’ overall soft cap in NBA 2k19, basic edition owners, such as myself, will need to spend a minimum of $50, about 150k VC, whereas Anniversary edition owners were given 100,000 VC, so they would only need to spend about $30, about 75k VC. It will cost you around 190k VC to reach that threshold.

Why is this important to reach as soon as possible? It is because players want to be able to enjoy the game at a decent difficulty. Playing below this threshold can lead to massive amounts of frustration, as the CPU in the story based mode, MyCareer, will simply overpower you,  and in the competitive modes of Pro-Am and Park, higher players will just dominate you.

Also with “Overall,” to raise it higher past level 85 you have to hit a cap breaker, which is filled up based on your performance, so obviously if you’re not at the soft cap of 85, that cap breaker will take quite a bit of time to level and you will be struggling, like myself, to get decent enough stats to help raise the bar at a moderate rate. This is another way in which NBA 2k19 has players being tempted to bust out the wallet and drop some money on VC.

NBA 2k19

Once you hit level 85 you have to continue to grind out the cap breaker just to be given random unlocks for your stats. If you wanted to rush to max your 3 pt shooting as a sharpshooter then all you can do is hope you get another notch added to that attribute. Otherwise, you have to hit another cap breaker and hope “Lady Luck” is on your side. It’s grossly unfair because if I’m aiming to be deadly with 3 pointers I want to max that out as fast as I can, not sit here and have an RNG, random number generator, mechanic tell me what I can level up next. This system inhibits players from building their player how they want.

In addition to the”Overall” system, the way you earn badges has changed quite a bit and this coincides with having a “decent” player to even properly grind them out. I do like the way they allow you to focus individually on a specific badge you would like to work on in the training facility, but the system in which it’s implemented could’ve been a bit better.

The badges are broken into two sections, “Primary” and “Secondary.” The primary badges are the badges you can get to Hall of Fame level, which is the highest level for badges. The rest of your badges fall either in Gold, Silver, or Bronze. The issue is that you have to memorize which badges are in those brackets which is confusing. I personally wish they had the badges just separated just like how they show when you’re building your player in the creation section thus removing the guesswork of trying to remember if Limitless Range for your Shot Creating Playmaker, was gold, silver, or bronze if it wasn’t a Hall of Fame badge.

Speaking of builds, in NBA 2k19 there are countless variations of builds that can be made from each of the 5 positions you can play on the court. Due to this, it’s VERY easy to mess up on a build and sometimes you won’t even realize you have until you’ve got a decent amount of time played on that character. Maybe your ball handling is too low, your strength is too weak, you picked up some wrong badges, or even the combination you chose to go with isn’t as viable as you thought it would be. This then forces you to restart all over again, and guess what, you have to drop MORE money on VC to put into that player just to see if you made the correct choice this time.

Though I’m being critical of this game, I do still plan to play it for several reasons, but mainly because it’s fun to play with friends and just shoot the breeze about the intricacies of the game. However, I don’t see myself ever really going hard for that 99, because the ability to do that requires the use of my wallet just to get started, because grinding for VC for free is insanely slow and I think they made it that way on purpose to push microtransactions.

NBA 2k19
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10


I don’t see myself ever really going hard for that 99, because the ability to do that requires the use of my wallet just to get started, because grinding for VC for free is insanely slow and I think they made it that way on purpose to push microtransactions.

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