A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Focuses on hard work, persevering against long odds, learning humility, teamwork, working with others. Players can choose to be self-centered, but many reactions are clearly weighted toward being a team player that works well with others.
Positive Role Models
Most players are based on real-life counterparts, most of whom are positive role models. Career mode focuses on the journey of a character from a league in China to G-League teams and eventually the NBA, as he learns humility, improves his game, and relies on teammates. Players can become jerks, but you're clearly pushed to be a positive player.
Ease of Play
Players can focus on improving their athlete's individual stats in different categories, making him a more useful player on the court. Unless you're willing to pay for credits to make your character powerful at the start, you'll spend a lot of time boosting your stats. Plus, mastering the shooting timing will take practice and luck to sink shots.
Violence & Scariness
Fouling another player is the extent of violence that can be committed. Otherwise, you can get hit by a dodgeball, but that's all in fun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Cheerleaders are shown in short shorts and tank tops on the court, but they're not focused upon or sexualized. Their dance routines can be skipped as well, to get back to the on-court action.
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No language concerns. Online multiplayer is unmoderated, which could possibly expose players to inappropriate content.
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Products & Purchases
Massive amount of logo placement in menus, arenas, career mode neighborhood, and more. Brands include Gatorade, Foot Locker, JBL, Nike, Under Armour, Reese's Puffs, etc. Players are presented multiple options to become a spokesperson for and face of companies in career mode. Players can also spend real cash to upgrade their teams and players, although it's not as intensive as previous years.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that NBA 2K19 is the latest installment in the popular and acclaimed basketball simulation for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game doesn't feature any offensive content, although players can sometimes be exposed to inappropriate comments during online play. Players will be exposed to tons of branding and products in virtually every aspect of the game, with brands like Nike, Under Armour, Reese's, Gatorade, and more consistently showing up on menu screens, on billboards, or as key portions of the game. Players have the opportunity to become brand ambassador of some of these products as part of the MyCareer portion of the game, promoting these items to their virtual "fans." Players can earn virtual currency to upgrade their created athlete's stats, acquire new gear, or packs for their created teams by playing the game, but there's a clear push for gamers to spend real money to accelerate their progress.
Is It Any Good?
This year expands the boundaries of virtually every single mode and feature of the game, but some of last year's issues, while improved slightly, still linger over the gameplay. Whenever an NBA 2K game comes out, it's expected that you'll find lots of content to keep you playing for hours, but NBA 2K19 stretches the boundaries of the code to bursting. The MyGM mode puts a bit of extra pressure on you to lead an expansion team to success, which is just great. Players that sometimes avoid the franchise mode owe it to themselves to try this one: You get an excellent take on the challenge that the back offices in organizations face in putting together a winning business. MyTeam is more fun to go through this time around as well. Apart from the extra challenges and online competitions, the three-on-three mode of Triple Threat brings things back to the playground when you and your friends would argue about which players were better. Thanks to this mode, you can put those questions to rest. Finally, making the created athlete in MyCareer a baller that has to prove that he belongs in the league is a bold decision that works well. The story, which highlights the challenges of G-league players and athletes from around the world trying to get a break, feels like a refreshing twist from previous years, which have just automatically launched you into the spotlight on your squad. Add to this the ability to negotiate contracts and game incentives for your athlete as he starts to deliver on his potential, and you're starting to see the building blocks of great storytelling.
But the weaker elements from last year still remain, even though they've been slightly improved. The developers clearly listened to the gripes about fans being squeezed for every bit of in-game currency while being pushed to spend money, and they loosened the requirements somewhat. Now players have the opportunity to earn more credits with daily spins, and can play more mini-games to collect cash. Unfortunately, you'll still find that the rates of some enhancements, game packs, or other necessary extras to make your players competitive are steep, while the cash you earn by playing games is still a bit light. As a result, the push for diving into your wallet, while lighter than before, is still a real struggle. The shooting system is still a bit questionable as well, as players still have to balance their shot meter with the positioning of a defender and their athlete's stats for a shot to succeed. The range between light coverage and smothered defense still seems to be razor thin, so low post play, fast breaks, and perimeter shooting by only the steeliest shooters in the league almost take over for pulling up a jump shot or a running layup. These issues, and the massive advertising blitz you have in every game, have to be taken with grains of salt, though, because there's so much content to love in NBA 2K19 that you can take a little bit of bad with so much basketball goodness.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.