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Parents' Guide to

NBA 2K22

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

On-court play shines, but ads steal the sport's spotlight.

NBA 2K22 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 3+

Based on 1 parent review

age 3+


Good really good no need to stress it good game

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (11 ):

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.

Game Details

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