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2K have ruined current-gen version of NBA 2K21 for us, but in a good way

Published: 13:55, 07 October 2020
2K Games
NBA 2K21 Next-gen gameplay trailer screenshot showing Stephen Curry
NBA 2K21 Next-gen - Stephen Curry

The Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors are officially a no-go for us since yesterday, until we get our hands on the next-gen version of NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 on PS4 is a good looking game, and it's the main reason we weren't blown away (at first) when we saw the NBA 2K21 Next-gen Gameplay Trailer, captured on PS5. It certainly looked better, but it was hard to pinpoint all the improvements at the first glance. 

We were like "Well, it's not that big of a leap over the current-gen."

We couldn't be more wrong.

While we watched the trailer over and over again, a man called kforkevo put together a wonderful video (the one embedded at the beginning of this article) comparing the PS4 and the upcoming PS5 version of NBA 2K21.

YouTube NBA 2K21 - PS4 vs PS5 comparison NBA 2K21 - PS4 vs PS5

The difference is absolutely stunning. When you put them next to each other, you are instantly amazed by a great job the people over at 2K Games have done with the next-gen version. The generational-leap is evident and the wow effect is very much activated. 

The only problem is that, well, we don't want to play NBA 2K21 on the PS4 anymore. We want the next-gen right now.

The amount of detail in the audience is amazing. What excites us is the next-gen lighting. It's simply striking how much lighting affects the overall impression. The result is nothing short of photorealism. 

The lighting in the game is done with incredible precision, mapping the actual NBA arena. The on-floor reflections are subtle, not too pumped-up to leave you breathless in the “see how awesome graphics our game has” way. No, everything is in line with realistic lighting.

The arena looks crowded, and you have to take a good look to find the same random NPC in the crowd twice. 2K have stated that there are 150 unique AI-driven characters interacting seamlessly to create a groundbreaking Lower Bowl experience, which brings the whole arena to life.

AltChar Steph Curry cyberface shots from College Hoops 2K7, NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K21 Steph Curry over the generations

The moment when Luka Doncic ran onto the floor left us breathless immediately due to the never before seen amount of detail on the floor: the players are warming up; the referees are preparing for the game; the journalists are doing their job; there is a Mavs' Champ mascot; there's Mark Cuban and so on, and so forth. 

It looks like very good CGI, but it's all done in real-time.

When the game between Mavs and Warriors takes over the trailer, the occupancy of the arena is enchanting. There is no blank space on the screen. Everything is filled - like in a real NBA game. Well, pre-corona NBA game. 

The moment we went back the most is when Steph Curry pulls up for the three at the end of the trailer. That's where we said, "Wow. This is next-gen."

2K Sports NBA 2K21 PlayStation 5 Next-gen trailer NBA 2K21 PlayStation 5 Next-gen trailer

Now that we've seen the comparison video, the PS4 version looks so... pale and lifeless.

The colours don't stand out, even the jerseys are less impressive, the faces of the players are soulless, and the arena... not nearly as detailed as the PS5 version. 

NBA 2K14 is repeating. 2K Sports, you did it again. Hats off. We can’t wait for the next-gen 2K info, and to start playing it - because the current-gen has just become too downgradey for us.

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