Mixed or average reviews - based on 50 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 50
  2. Negative: 0 out of 50
Buy On
  1. Sep 9, 2020
    NBA 2K21 offers the best virtual basketball experience out there, even if it still needs some tweaks to polish the gameplay and microtransactions are, once again, everywhere.
  2. Sep 11, 2020
    With some small gameplay changes and an improved My Team Mode, NBA 2K21 offers enough to still be considered one of the best sports videogames on the market. Still, it takes a more powerful hardware to show the great change the franchise really needs.
  3. Sep 8, 2020
    Coronavirus has extended the previous season of the NBA and next-gen is very close, so the timing is not the best for this entry in the franchise, which is very continuist. However, it is still a great basketball game.
  4. Sep 15, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is a fantastic basketball simulation, but it is a shame that most of the game feels more like an update than an entirely new entry.
  5. Sep 14, 2020
    At the end of the day, NBA 2K21 is still an insanely good game of basketball that feels and plays like a game that hit its stride a couple of years ago and is now coming to the end of the generation. I still am amazed at how good the moment to moment action is in this game. And although I would have loved to see them really go for it in the MyCareer mode and revamp the microtransactions more than they did, this is still a game that I adore and continue to be impressed by. I have no idea what to expect from the PS5/XSX versions of this game but if its roots are still planted in the foundation of the last couple of years, we could have a very exciting game of basketball to look forward to.
  6. 80
    NBA 2K21 executes the fundamentals of basketball to perfection. Add to that a wonderful narrative in Long Shadow, and the package becomes even more appealing - even if MyCareer is linked to an online mode. These modes have a lot of potential, especially My Neighborhood, but some of the ideas still need a year or two of percolation before they're at their true potential.
  7. Sep 8, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is still one of the best sport simulations around, but if you are looking for something really new you should probably wait for its next-gen version.
  8. Sep 13, 2020
    Gameplay wise, NBA 2K21 is once again an excellent product, and the best hoops videogame on the market (also due to lack of competition). While very similar to its predecessor, it is also evolved and revised. However, being a 2K title, microtransactions are inescapable.
  9. Oct 12, 2020
    It's pretty much unchanged from last year, however. That's the deal with NBA 2K21. If you can find a way to deal with the new shooting mechanism and you don't mind some pretty bad storytelling, NBA 2K21 is great… because it's largely unchanged from last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that.
  10. 75
    No, it’s the same great game it was last year, the same awesome basketball gaming experience it was last year. It’s just not quite a must-buy, especially if you’re taking aim at the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.
  11. Sep 22, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is still the best in terms of simulation and production values that can be found in the sports genre, but the truth is that this is no longer enough to make it essential. In fact, gamers who already own 2K19 or 2K20 should stay there, unless they are dedicated to competing online and want to always be up to date.
  12. Sep 13, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is the best that basketball simulations have ever been, yet the game buckles under the weight of intense microtransactions designed to bleed you dry.
  13. Sep 13, 2020
    There aren't much changes in the latest entry in 2K's NBA series, and it seems that the developers are finally out of ideas, at least for this generation. If you already own the 2020 version, there is not much sense in paying the full price to get your hands on the new game, and maybe it's best to wait and see how the series will go forward when next gen arrives.
  14. If you want to transfer it to the next generation NBA 2K21, it may be the right choice to buy NBA 2K21 now. However, if you are not interested in the new generation, it would be better to continue playing NBA 2K20.
  15. Oct 9, 2020
    It's difficult not to see NBA 2K21 as a kind of early access. Not only because of its outdated teams or the mistakes made while trying to evolve the gameplay, but for the lack of some game modes that aren't accessible yet.
  16. Sep 14, 2020
    On the court, this is the pinnacle of virtual basketball. But the microtransactions are still overpowering, while the plentiful content has just been modified slightly compared to last year.
  17. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Nov 15, 2020
    It loses a point because of its Virtual Currency (VC) obsession, a recurringissue in 2K games. It’s supposed to ensure that all your actions in every mode – career, MyTeam, even watching 2KTV – secure rewards, but they’re often someagre that the entire game comes across as a grind, aimed at funnelling you towards the PS Store to part with real cash.Please don’t do that. The only way games like this and FIFA will change in the next gen is if their players make a sustainedeffort not to exchange any of their hard-earned dosh for digital trading cards. Otherwise this is solid, but on that front 2K (and EA, and the rest) must do better. [Issue#181, p.94]
  18. Oct 23, 2020
    On the court, this is a brilliant basketball game that doesn’t change much. Why would it when it’s not really necessary? The microtransactions, however, are more annoying than Houston’s playstyle.
  19. Oct 12, 2020
    While NBA 2K21 is clearly different from its predecessor in several ways, I can't say it's significantly better than what we saw last season. The game still looks fantastic, the commentary is still top-notch, and many of the same battles you might have had with the previous edition are still there, like whether you want to spend so much virtual and real money. If you don't have any basketball games in your library and want to change that, then by all means, this is as good as it can possibly get. If your whole virtual hoops life is lived on 2K20 for now, then waiting for next-gen isn't the worst move you can make.
  20. Oct 12, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is the same game of last year with some minor updates and a brand new story for MyCareer mode. Though the simulation is very good and it feels like a very realistic basketball game, all of the game modes orbit around microtransactions and loot boxes, especially MyTeam mode, where you will soon face super strong teams built spending real money. No matter how much or how well you play, competing at high level often feels too much difficult.
  21. Oct 1, 2020
    Great gameplay, as usual, though the addition of the shotmeter isn't exactly a home-run. However, the latest update did bring better options. The large amount of microtransactions are the game's biggest problem, but besides that NBA 2K21 is a decent new iteration in the franchise.
  22. Sep 30, 2020
    The proven concept of the franchise therefore remains unchanged and that makes NBA 2K21 hardly surprising, but a great basketball game.
  23. Sep 29, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is really a good game. It has a lot of good aspects and fun modes. It is disappointing that 2K has put little effort into it. 2K21 looks kinda like a reboot of 2K20. The gameplay is top notch in NBA 2K21, except for throwing the ball. This has also caused a lot of discontent within the NBA 2K community. With the addition of the new shot meter, scoring points is a lot more difficult. This in turn ensures that you will play the game longer to really get the hang of it.
  24. Sep 17, 2020
    As we approach a new console generation, Visual Concepts is building a version of NBA 2K21 from the ground up for the new systems. As a result, this current-gen NBA 2K21 feels left in the dust. It still offers the strong gameplay the series is known for, but compared to last year, it’s not making many leaps. I know I’ll still play it a good amount until I move on to the new-gen edition, but it’s disappointing that loyal fans playing on current-gen consoles didn’t get more of an upgrade. It still gives you a decent basketball experience, but we’ve come to expect better and more.
  25. Sep 15, 2020
    NBA2K21 is jam packed with plethora of modes, that will engross you for hours, but too soon you'll notice that some of these modes are hindered with microtransactions.
  26. Sep 14, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is a solid update of NBA 2K20... but with a strange and unpredictable twist. The new shooting meter is made for online competition and, in the end, follows the metagame rather the basketball flow. Maybe it's good for the pro gamers, but it feels unbalanced and frustrating for the basketball lovers.
  27. Sep 13, 2020
    NBA 2K21 stays a good basketball game, but it lacks any really new features, while the shooting system is pretty poor, even since it was patched. Still, 2K Game's offering is one of the best in this field.
  28. Sep 12, 2020
    NBA 2K21 remains a top-tier basketball simulation game, although one that has seemingly maxed out its potential on current-gen systems. Things like the shooting difficulty can and will be adjusted with patches over time. If you put in the time and work, you’ll probably learn to love the new skill gap it provides, but it’s definitely not for everyone. And that’s where NBA 2K21 misses its mark; it feels geared more towards the hardcore competitive community, leaving casual players and fans feeling lost and overwhelmed.
  29. Sep 11, 2020
    NBA 2K21’s current-gen version isn’t necessarily the biggest step forward the series has taken, nor should it be expected to be. The next-gen version of the game is just around the corner, where we should all expect to see the biggest changes and additions. But what’s there is still fun, even if it is more of the same. 2K’s reliance on microtransactions still feels incredibly out of place, and the game still doesn’t necessarily respect the player’s time. If you’re a fan of the series, chances are you’re already playing the game. If you’re on the fence, it may be worth waiting to see what the next-gen version offers.
  30. Sep 10, 2020
    In pursuing pro players, NBA 2K21 may be a little too intimidating for more casual players. Nevertheless, this is an obscenely detailed simulation that captures the ebb-and-flow of real-world basketball with unrivalled authenticity. It’s also enormous, and while some aspects have been left untouched, the likeable story and revamped MyTeam modes mean that it’s worth the upgrade. The in-game economy, which is heavily influenced by lucrative microtransactions, continues to be a sour spot – and it remains to be seen how much life this release will have with a next-gen successor right around the corner. Still, even with all of these drawbacks, it’s comfortably one of the best sports games available on the PS4.
  31. Sep 15, 2020
    Longtime players won’t find much to enjoy in this barely changed version of last year’s entry.
  32. Sep 7, 2020
    Even though the core gameplay is solid, most game modes are riddled with micro-transactions that prioritizes grinding and monetization over enjoyment.
  33. Sep 14, 2020
    NBA 2K21 marks a new low, which is really disappointing. At times, NBA 2K has been my favorite sports franchise, reinventing itself in ways that reverberated across the industry. But this year's edition feels incomplete and lacking. I would recommend revisiting older games before picking this one up; maybe the next-gen version will be more complete.
  34. Sep 8, 2020
    It’s hard to escape the feeling that the current-gen version of NBA 2K21 is merely a rushed appetizer before the next-gen main course. Yes, NBA 2K21 can still be a great time, but stagnant presentation, copy-and-pasted modes and features, and new mechanics that clearly weren’t fully worked out combine to make the game feel like a half-hearted buzzer beater throwaway.
  35. Sep 6, 2020
    Micro-transactions are still omnipresent, almost essential for career shooters, the fault of a new timing system that is very difficult to learn and very frustrating. The completely visually redesigned quarter hides the quarry's stagnation, most of the other modes have not changed and 2K20's flaws remain. Even the very lackluster in-game menus characterize the overall laziness of the title. Only the novelties of My Team mode are satisfactory for a forgettable title on the current generation of consoles.
  36. Sep 15, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is a sports title that ticks all the boxes in simulation gameplay but falters tremendously in its plastic progression systems. Virtual Currency puts a stranglehold on your enjoyment, and it plays a big part in upgrading and purchasing in-game stuff. Sure, it might have a decent (albeit short and cliched) story mode, but the ball is in your court as to whether you want to fork out your hard-earned money on microscopic differences. Although, at the end of the day, it seemed like hoop dreams to think anything of substance would be changed. Stick with previous entries or wait for the next-generation version.
  37. Oct 31, 2020
    NBA 2K21 makes welcome improvements to its MyCareer and MyTeam modes, but the frustratingly inconsistent new shooting system and lack of changes elsewhere make it feel like it’s lost its step over other sports games.
  38. Sep 25, 2020
    The decline of NBA 2K games continues. It is still a good basketball game overall, but some changes, like the new shot system along with severe A.I. problems cause some serious problems to the experience.
  39. Sep 24, 2020
    NBA 2K21 shows that the lone basketball sim we have now has largely stagnated. It's a full package, for sure, but one that demonstrates little-to-no motivation to meaningfully improve upon itself. That doesn't take away from the strong foundation that makes NBA 2K a fun and rewarding time. However, when you go through the same grind and the same process with only superficial changes, you just get burnt out faster than years prior. If ball is still life, NBA 2K21 is as good a version as any to pick, although even the greatest ballers need a rest.
  40. Sep 14, 2020
    NBA 2K20 was a fun and serious game of basketball to play. On the surface, I’m partial to the difficulty involved in shooting and the Advanced Pro Stick for NBA 2K21, as they can no doubt separate the great players from the average ones with endless combo possibilities. I like the idea of having to get better with shooting and while I’ve improved, the results are still too inconsistent no matter the player you have. What made last year’s version great with the new MyPLAYER designs are all here, but roughly not updated. The narrative in MyCAREER is enjoyable, but leaves a gaping hole at the end. The Neighborhood is also a nice change of scenery. It really comes down to the difficulty involved in NBA 2K21 holding it back from greatness. You’re not allowed to build up to it with confidence. Also, if purchasing the Standard Edition, the grind is worse when it comes to getting badges for your player or getting cards in MyTEAM. When the grind interferes with the gameplay, it becomes a major issue.
  41. Sep 13, 2020
    2K21 is still a very playable game that fans of the franchise will be happy to purchase. Without that shooting patch, however, it would have been a much different story.
  42. 60
    I know not to expect the world from a yearly sports title but NBA 2K21 feels like a backward step. As good as the passing and defence remains, the shooting has an unreliability the series just hasn't delivered before. Practice makes better but it doesn't seem to make perfect. The rest of the package remains fairly sound with great presentation and a swathe of modes to digest. Unfortunately, my time on the court felt compromised whenever I approached the net.
  43. Sep 13, 2020
    NBA 2K21 feels like a bit of an off-step, but it is still a solid basketball experience.
  44. Sep 13, 2020
    NBA 2K21 suffers from the same issues that have held the series down for years. A poor MyCareer story, reused assets, shoddy servers, and an over-importance of VC/microtransactions. The one redeeming quality that NBA 2K21 can boast is its high-level gameplay. Luckily, that’s what you want most from a basketball sim.
  45. Sep 13, 2020
    NBA 2K21 gives us the same observation as that established a year earlier with NBA 2K20: that of stagnating within the saga, without any real major improvement. But this time, the few bets attempted by the development studio have the main consequence of serving the game, at least in its first approaches and making it even a little less accessible to the general public. A quality episode certainly, despite its flaws, but not up to expectations. We could expect better for a transition to the new generation of consoles.
  46. Sep 10, 2020
    NBA 2K21 doesn't break the series' signature basketball gameplay, but its minor improvements and persistent addiction to obnoxious microtransactions mean more of the same isn't good enough anymore.
  47. Sep 9, 2020
    Much as last year, then, NBA 2K21 is a fantastic sports game wrapped in an unappealing layer of lootboxes and microtransactions.
  48. Sep 8, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is not perfect, but it is the best basketball game on the market. Is it for everyone? No. NBA 2K21 is a basketball simulator built for die-hard fans of the game, and, much like real-life basketball, players have to put in the time to be the best on the court.
  49. Oct 8, 2020
    NBA 2K21 is an utter disappointment with the lack of innovation and some reasonable step up from its predecessor. Driving force behind this year’s current-gen edition is that it possesses a better AI, some less predatorial microtransactions and few new animations. Sadly, that is not even enough to repay its price of 60 euros, and it is a true example of terrible practices that rules sports games.
  50. Sep 8, 2020
    I think 2K needs to adapt to a new model, I believe that they need to stop launching the same game every year, and instead start to push towards updating the existing game every year. 2K21 is the best basket sim you’ll get to play, but I could’ve said the same on 2K20.
User Score

Overwhelming dislike- based on 451 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 451
  1. Sep 5, 2020
    It absolutely disgusts me to be a basketball fan when 2k exists. This game is the equivalent to vomit, piss, and **** in a dumpster that's onIt absolutely disgusts me to be a basketball fan when 2k exists. This game is the equivalent to vomit, piss, and **** in a dumpster that's on fire. NBA 2k21 is the worst basketball game ever created with almost no changes from NBA 2k18 to here besides a stupid meter change. Just because you change the meter doesn't mean it's good Ronnie! The fact that your cover athlete, Damian Lillard said your game is trash is saying something about your product 2k. MyCareer has a trash story again and all they did was give birth to a 2k18 x 2k19 plus some palm trees, it's the same boring land of **** again. MyTeam is the same greedy garbage again with nothing changing, your builds are the exact same from 2k20, same gameplay but you can't make a shot. This why I encourage people to not spend their money on this trash, please encourage yourself and others not to spend money on this pissful company who are so greedy releasing the same copy and paste garbage every year. The game keeps crashing like the ****ty product it is. Don't buy this garbage for your sake and others, 0/10. Full Review »
  2. Sep 5, 2020
    Where do I **** start with this one??? Do you hate yourself??? Then buy this game. There’s nothing worse than the self loathing sensation ofWhere do I **** start with this one??? Do you hate yourself??? Then buy this game. There’s nothing worse than the self loathing sensation of knowing that you’ve been conned out of money, and 2K21 will deliver you that sensation in spades. I’ve played 2K for years, and NBA live before that. Honestly the shooting is one of the most unenjoyable things I’ve experienced in gaming. I understand they might want to make it more competitive.....But finishing a game with both teams totalling 60 odd three point attempts, with only 2 of those going in, is absolutely insane. It’s not hard, there’s no “skill gap”, it’s not about badges, the game is absolutely broken. You’ll run a perfect pick and roll, the defence collapses, you kick it out to the free man in the corner, and 97 times out of 100 you will brick that shot. I’m not exaggerating, it is insane. The cover athlete tweeted that he can’t even make a free throw for **** sake!!! I struggle to put this into perspective...I had “No Mans Sky” day one, and I feel more conned with 2k21.

    Also here’s a disclaimer; I’m using the new pro stick features they’ve forced on us, I went 10-0 in online triple threat was still **** I won those games exclusively shooting 3 feet away from the basket. Nothing fun about it.

    Apparently there’s a “hot fix” coming tomorrow for the shooting, but jesus christ read the reddit pages and twitter replies before you buy this game....Unless you hate yourself of course!
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 5, 2020
    The worst sports game i have ever played. Nothing in it works, I cant rhink of a single positive thing to say about it. Do not buy under anyThe worst sports game i have ever played. Nothing in it works, I cant rhink of a single positive thing to say about it. Do not buy under any circumstances Full Review »