Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Teamwork, aiming for a goal of being a champion, and improving yourself and those around you are some of the messages put forward. Players can choose to make their athletes focus on more flashy/flamboyant, self-focused directions to their career, which will cut off certain opportunities and present others (although these can all be adjusted for over time without significant penalty, apart from time investment). Players also have more choices presented to them about which kind of path they want to take to becoming a professional, with some career options eliminated based on their choices.
Positive Role Models
Professional players included are based on real-life counterparts, most of whom are positive role models. Players can choose to be more self-focused during play, which doesn't make them particularly liked by team members or people in their organization. Since you play as a basketball influencer-turned-pro, you define your own path and success in the league and outside of it, but there are virtually no repercussions or impact from the decisions you make. Things inevitably work out for you regardless, with limited story growth. Characters from previous MyCareer games pop up but have minimal impact on story or your character.
Players can create a diverse number of athletes for both NBA and WNBA, hire a diverse staff in the Franchise mode, and collect a significant number of historic and current-day athletes in the MyTeam mode. Diverse collection of men and women in positions of influence in the MyCareer mode that you'll interact with.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
Players need to spend lots of time practicing and working their way through changes in shooting mechanics to ensure that they can successfully hit shots from anywhere on the court. Even with practice, there's still significant chance that buckets will be missed under defensive pressure. Created players in MyCareer will be horrible at making shots, even if their skills are focused on shooting, without a significant time investment (and possible financial investment) in boosting their stats. The badge system helps, but players need to spend time learning dribbling moves, reading defenses, getting players open to have success. Running plays to get teammates open is more vital than ever. A new aggressive dunk meter relies on this timing scheme as well, resulting in embarrassing misses if your timing is wildly off.
Violence & Scariness
While players can commit fouls, there's nothing bloody or gory shown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Online play is ummoderated, possibly exposing players to inappropriate comments from competitors.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
2022 installment of long-running and globally popular franchise. Logos can be found along rotating billboards in arenas, as part of character endorsement deals, as branded replay sequences during games. In the city, stores and locations are branded with various products -- e.g., Ruffles, Sour Patch Kids, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Mobile One. Various clothing lines and sporting goods from Nike, New Balance, Adidas, etc., with some brand ambassadors from these companies doling out mission quests on branded courts. Some NBA stars wear clothing with Mountain Dew emblazoned on it. Character "Jake from State Farm" not only pops up in the city but even gives you missions to wear branded State Farm clothing, with some tasks being to run around the city and be seen wearing it. Players will also have to spend either credits earned through play or purchased with real money to improve their athlete's skills. Intensity of spending is heightened in the MyTeam mode, where players earn classic and modern players for their fantasy team through play but can spend money to buy packs of upgrades, players, and more. Multiple editions available for purchase, each providing varying extras for play.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that NBA 2K22 is a basketball simulation for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PCs. This is the latest installment in the long-running and globally popular sports franchise that tries to present a complete version of the sport from the developmental leagues to the WNBA and the NBA, whether you're on the court or in the front offices. There's no offensive content to be found in the game, although unmoderated online play can expose gamers to inappropriate comments. The large amount of branding from previous years is even more significant in NBA 2K22, with billboards for Ruffles, Sour Patch Kids, Mobil 1, and more. Stores for Adidas, Nike, New Balance, and more are prominently featured in a mall, with the option to display clothing on a catwalk in the city for a fashion show. The commercial character Jake from State Farm also makes an appearance, not only providing missions to players but giving State Farm-branded clothing for players to wear and show off as they move through the streets. Some NBA players show up in the city wearing branded clothing, and there are brand ambassadors from companies that host different competitions at company-endorsed courts. Players can earn currency to enhance their athlete's stats through gameplay, but there's an obvious push to buy coins with real money to boost players faster. The same can be said for MyTeam, although currency is used to purchase equipment, players, and other items for your fantasy team. There are multiple versions of this year's game, all of which provide additional bonus content for players to take advantage of in the game's modes. Once again, players will need to spend a lot of time practicing and mastering their shooting, because the shot timing meter is very small and requires perfect release along with an open look at the basket for the most success. While that's easier to accomplish in the lower-stress environment of the practice gym, it's significantly harder during a game situation, and even with badges to enhance a player's success, there will be plenty of missed shots. An aggressive dunk meter works on the same principle, meaning that a mistimed slam will result in a wildly inaccurate miss or failure.
Is It Any Good?
On-court gameplay has never been better, but the overabundant push for spending real money and branding this year just leaves a bad taste in your mouth, especially for fans focused on the sport. If last year's game was setting a foundation for the future, then NBA 2K22 has solidified its dominance with increasingly improved play. While it was easier to carve through defenses and drive the lane before, this year features more collapsing paths, faster double teams, and traps that limit the fast break, especially on higher difficulty levels. In fact, if you're not careful with your shooting, you'll find most defenders rejecting or plucking your shots out of the air, embarrassing your shooter and sucking momentum from your team. That makes running plays to isolate opponents, or swinging the ball around the perimeter for an open shot more vital than ever before, so if you haven't taken the time to practice in the 2K Gym to improve your stick skills, you'd better do so before you get blown out in a game. The same can be said about shooting, which has more focus on the height and arc of a shot as well as the timing of release for the shot meter, and an aggressive dunk meter for flashy slams. It feels awesome to flush a monster jam with a successful dunk, but miss it, and the clang of the ball on the rim will just make you want to hang your head in shame. MyTeam is still as solid as ever; the inclusion of a card grading system adds a new wrinkle to the fantasy team mode by boosting the output of in-game currency for each game played with top-tier cards in your lineup. Also, the option to provide new fantasy drafts before taking on opponents levels the playing field in multiplayer matches. No longer will you have to face off against blatantly imbalanced teams because someone has spent tons of cash building the best starting five and bench. Instead, your chances come down to a luck of the draw, allowing your skill in the game to help you earn better rewards. This is a welcome change for this mode, which has been one of the most engaging but is also criticized for frequently pushing users to spend more cash to successfully take on challenges or gain credits to boost characters.
But while other elements of the game have been influenced by MyTeam, such as bringing seasonal play to MyCareer to refresh the content, it also comes with a focus on branding and cash that feels like it drains the spirit of the game. This year's decision to move away from story-driven career modes and onto side quest-like tasks makes sense: The stories have started strong but haven't had a successful conclusion for a long time (although it's odd to see characters from previous career stories giving quests just because they're there). But with so much revolving around branding and possibly commoditizing your player into a multi-hyphenate product, some of the spirit of the game feels lost. Previous games had lots of branding from Gatorade for training, Mobil 1 for replays, and other products in arenas, but much fewer logos on jerseys. This has been cranked up to an all-time fever pitch, with brand ambassadors hosting challenges on their courts, athletes wearing clothing from brands like Mountain Dew, and the character Jake from State Farm not only showing up multiple times but asking you to wear his branded outfit. Sure, it's optional, just like the choice to promote a brand in a post-game interview, but after a while, it feels like you're playing basketball brought to you by bland corporate interests. Blame some of that also on the focus on your "character" being a basketball influencer who's driven to build their personal brand. While there are only a few moments where you get a sense that your choices will impact how the game plays out (like a controversy over playing time), for the most part, your decisions don't seem to affect your career, which, again, feels lifeless. Moving past this problem, the WNBA mode, which was thin last year, is mildly improved, with the addition of scrimmages and badges, but it still needs more content and more gameplay to make it seem like a fuller mode instead of an afterthought. At least franchise feels a bit deeper, with you juggling and developing your staff over multiple seasons to improve and strengthen their badges. That translates to advantages for your players and feels like a substantial extra for players who want to track the growth of their team over the years. Overall, if you can overlook some of the minor adjustments and the hefty consumerism, you'll have a fun time on the court -- just try not to get blinded by the ads as you make your way to the basket.
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.