NBA 2K21 has landed, but not without it’s fair share of issues. Between invisible created player and missing 100k VC, the NBA 2K community isn’t in the best of moods with the 2K Sports team. Perhaps the most talked-about topic at the moment is the state of the game’s shooting, which received a major overhaul from last year’s entry.
To summarise it, the shooting in NBA 2K21 has been refined — or regressed, however you want to look at it — to prioritise both “realism” from a timing and positioning perspective, but also the usage and spread of appropriate shooting Badges.
The core problem with shooting in NBA 2K21 is that, well, the learning curve is far too steep. I’ve reached a point where I’m making more shots against the AI than I was on launch day, but the margin for error is still far too small to ever put me into a position of reasonable effectiveness, especially on Pro and All-Star difficulties.
I’m no superstar player and always start off slowly with every new year, but that the shooting effectiveness was similarly steep on Pro than it is on the highest difficulty settings to be shows that it’s just a tad broken. The “green” spot for a perfect shot is just far too small on the meter, making timing utterly impossible — especially when tightly defended — no matter how good your controlled player is off the dribble or in traffic.
I feel that NBA 2K21 sets a really high expectation for players — which is actually great — but it needs some major adjustment to ensure that learning curve is realistic for casual players. For example, unless you’re completely committed to learning and perfecting the craft, you’re definitely going to lose your mind and quit on the game before figuring it out. Which is fine and to be expected for any game, but for a sports game, it probably shouldn’t be this steep a learning curve.
Gameplay director, Mike Wang, complicated things earlier this week when he released some NBA 2K21 shooting tips.
“Tap the left trigger at the ideal release time for a boost; If you’re using the Shot Button, turn off Shot Meter for a boost; Green release is harder this year, be patient,” Wang Tweeted.
The response from the community was divisive.
“[I don’t know] about this Mike, u gotta understand most people use the shot button. Nobody trying to tap LT or aim w/ the right stick,” said one fan. Which isn’t wrong, except, as I mentioned above, the margin for error even with the shot button is way too small.
“Just bring back old shooting,” another fan replied, with 230 ‘likes” at time of print.
Of course, these responses don’t represent the full picture: there is a cross-section of the NBA 2K community that is actually enjoying the challenge (I’m one of those people), but I still fall into the “you need to do something” camp, especially for newcomers or casual players.
“My thoughts on NBA 2K21: Shooting needs a buff,” said popular NBA 2K streamer Dimez. “Paint needs to be how it is in league build (Centers can actually score and it shows who actually has Stick.) That creates a Skill Gap.
“With the combination of those two changes, NBA 2K21 Will be one of the best 2Ks in a LONG TIME!”
Interestingly, based on 2K’s recently details regarding a hotfix for shooting in NBA 2K21, there appears to be a genuine openness to the skill gap for shooting, particularly from HoF difficulty and above.
A hotfix for shooting is on the way, coming in the next 24 hours. Shooting “stays the same” on high difficulties and Neighbourhood, but should make getting through MyCareer a lot easier. My recommendation until the fix comes — and probably after, too — is to never force your shots, especially if you’re missing a lot. You’ll just go cold and impact your Badge capacity moving forward. Additionally, Badges in PARK, Pro-Am and MyCareer still stand to be the primary driver for shooting improvement in NBA 2K21, so any new changes on the way will still be bound to the shooting and progression curve already tied to the experience.
What are your thoughts on the shooting in NBA 2K21? Sound off in the comments below!