Fans of the popular NBA 2K video game franchise are furious over a change in the latest edition of the annual game that some have said make it unplayable.
Normally by this time of year the NBA season is long over: Players have gone on holidays, perhaps hanging out on banana boats, getting in shape for next season or even playing a little simulated basketball action themselves.
But like everything else in 2020 it’s a different story this year, with the playoffs still going on, being played in a “bubble” after the season was suspended due to coronavirus.
This hasn’t impacted video game publisher 2K’s plans however.
The latest version of its popular franchise NBA 2K has been released on its usual September schedule, but fans who raced to pick up a copy aren’t happy.
Normally the game would feature updated rosters for the NBA’s 30 teams (free agency hasn’t happened yet this year so these rosters will probably need updating in the future), and maybe a few minor tweaks to gameplay and a new MyCareer storyline (usually not that dissimilar to last year’s).
But one change made in NBA 2K21 has left fans who shelled out the $79 for the game on PS4 and Xbox One ($89 on PC) wishing they hadn’t.
The “Pro Stick” is what the franchise calls the main way you control players in the game with the right analog stick (the left stick controls movement).
You can use the Pro Stick to perform post and dribble moves to get by defenders as well as to shoot the basketball.
The success of shooting in the game is based on a few factors including individual player rankings as well as how well you time and aim shots.
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It has gone “largely unchanged” since its inception according to NBA 2K gameplay director Mike Wang, but in the latest version some adjustments have been made, leaving fans unhappy.
Players have struggled with the introduction of a new targeting and timing system which they say has made it too hard to shoot.
Rather than last year’s game, where you timed the release of shots with the aim of going “green” (pretty much guaranteeing you’d make the shot), now the game is asking players to compensate for the aim of their shot as they’re trying to time it.
This has made it incredibly difficult for even veteran fans of the franchise to grasp.
One gamer said the changes had people “scared to shoot threes”, while a streamer said he’d been getting the “Ben Simmons treatment”.
Even this year’s cover athlete, Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard, has struggled.
In response, the game developers provided a “hot fix” on Sunday but it only applies to lower difficulty levels, and doesn’t change anything in multiplayer modes.
The game was released on Friday last week, and has already attracted more than 2000 mostly negative reviews on the game store Steam.
Shooting was a sore point for many reviewers, with some even seeking refunds, but others complained that the new game was pretty much the same as it has been for the last three or four years.