eSports / nba 2k19

My Gaming Life EP. 3 - NBA 2K19 | Playing in China
A spontaneous purchase this week resulted in me now having a copy of NBA2K19. Sit back and let’s take a look at what’s on offer in this year’s release. To be truthful, I didn’t plan on buying NBA 2K19 this week, but after a conversation with @sirpabloescobar and a 50% off sale, I’ve happily been playing the game for the past two days. Today I’m going to primarily talk about the single player career story mode but that is not the main reason I bought the game. A group of my friends enjoy playing online Fantasy Draft League, and I hope to join them while documenting it for Scorum. It will be the subject of upcoming posts, but before I start playing against them in a fantasy draft, I need to get good at the game first. I’m somewhat familiar with the series, having played previous installments. However, the last version I played was back in 2016 and a lot has changed since then. I figured the past way to learn the game is to play the single player career mode, thinking it best to learn how to control one player well before trying to control the whole team. Thus why I am starting here. As I began the career mode, I was quickly surprised by what I found.My Player For anyone who hasn't played a solo career story mode recently in modern games, the mode focuses on you creating your own player, taking them through a narrative driven story line, while only controlling your character during games. These modes are a recent trend in sports games as developers try to blend game mechanics from single player rpgs into sports games. The result is a single player experiences that focuses on storytelling and immersion. Much like in real life, I created myself as a point guard who is good at ball handling and passing. However, unlike me, I made myself 6’2” and 185 lbs. I’m also good at shot creating, which I can’t say I was in real life. After creating your player, you're thrusted into a story that I was not expecting at all.Playing in China In previous installments the jumping off point to the career mode was quite simple: get drafted, work your way into the starting lineup. Each year they tend to add more and more exterior conflict to the story. Often centering on mending relationships, sometimes about balancing other elements of your life, like your budding DJ career (as it was last year). 2K19 takes a different approach to the start of the story mode. After you fail to get picked up in the NBA draft, you eventually end up, in all places, China. In previous years we played in high school, in college, and even in the streets but never did we go overseas. Finding Yourself As the tipoff whistle blew for my first game, I was surprised to hear Chinese announcers commentating the game. The sights, sounds, and look of playing in China was accurately captured. My wife walked in the room as I played, and she was equally shocked to hear Chinese coming from the speakers and see me playing in Shanghai. The setting in China works excellent, albeit relatively short lived. The fish out of water situation helps allow the player to project themselves into the character, as both you and the character experience the shock of playing in China together. It becomes slightly more relatable, or at least, more believable than previous story lines.Shanghai Life off the Court The game isn’t wasteful regarding its choice of setting. Not only do we see a fleshed out Chinese basketball league, full of players, stadiums and teams, but we also get to see glimpses of Chinese life off the court. We see our character struggle with living in the busy city. We get several glimpses of his frustrations with Chinese cuisine, and when the NBA All Stars come to town, we see NBA stars marveling at the bright Shanghai skyline. This is worth noting because a lot of other games, including this series in previous years, often fall flat when they don't fully integrate a new feature into a game. Generally developers take a one-foot-in and one-foot-out approach to incorporating unfamiliar features into a game, attempting to hedge their bets in case fans don't like it. What you get in return is a wishy-washy half attempt at doing something new and fresh. Draining Threes But no risk, no reward. Had NBA2K19 not fully committed to bringing the Chines league into the game, it would have been seen as a lame attempt to shoehorn something new into the franchise, as was the case past years. In contrast, this year’s story mode setting works great in establishing a narrative backdrop to your character. It’s all or nothing, and 2K went all in. As your time nears an end in China, you set your sights to heading back to the USA. China might have been a good place to cut your teeth, but the goal had always remained to make it into the NBA. Slow down though, if you think you are heading straight from China to the NBA, you still haven’t learned your place in the pecking order. The next location you head is as strange as China, but a place very familiar to myself. Be sure to check out the next episode in My Gaming Life to see where I go next. In Case you Missed It My Gaming Life EP. 2 | Red Dead Online Gameplay My Gaming Life EP. 1 - RDR2 | Being a Handsome Cowboy My Gaming Life: Ep. 0 - RDR2 | Getting the Town Drunk _______________________________________________________________________________________