It’s what the first game should have been
[Update: Per the PlayStation Blog, the game will launch for PS4 on May 22.]
NBA Playgrounds didn’t have the greatest launch. As the spiritual successor to NBA Jam, it featured an amusing art style that turned NBA greats into carcitures, beautiful courts, and the same arcade style of basketball I grew up with. It also had shooting, rebounding, and blocking mechanics that could be a chore, and not everyone was down with unlocking players at random.
But like many titles in this current era of gaming, the game we have right now isn’t the same one that launched a year ago. My nephew bought it a few weeks ago and we stayed up until 2am each night during his spring break unlocking players and taking down opponents. Playing Playgrounds now, it’s hard for me to believe it has a sub-70 Metacritic rating across the board. I hope that won’t be the case when NBA Playgrounds 2 launches this summer.
Coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, NBA Playgrounds 2 is adding a score of new features that probably should have been in the first game. There will be new courts, a season mode, ranked championship leagues, four-person online multiplayer, three-point contests, custom matches, new moves and power-ups, improved AI (hopefully no more pass-happy opponents), and more than 200 current and former NBA players at launch.
I own the first game on Switch, but with ranked co-op league systems in place for the sequel, I’ll have to pick it up on PS4 so my nephew and I can wipe the floor with people around the world.