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NBA 2K20 review: MyCareer raises the bar for sports gaming yet again, starring Idris Elba and boasting LeBron James as executive producer

For years the best-selling basketball game has found a way to trump its rivals - not just in terms of NBA, but sports as a whole

The NBA 2K franchise has always prided itself in being lightyears ahead of its time in terms of MyPlayer modes – and they’ve somehow found a way to better themselves yet again.

For years the best-selling basketball game has found a way to trump its rivals – not just in terms of NBA, but sports as a whole.

NBA 2K20 is set to become an instant classic

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NBA 2K20 is set to become an instant classic

The piece de resistance for years has been the MyCareer mode – this year called “When The Lights Are Brightest” – but this time around it really is MY career.

Two weeks ago, 2K released a demo which allowed gamers to scan their faces into the game and create six different players in preparation for the full game.

Rather than picking a certain, single archetype and finding your player limited in certain attributes, this year you can create a truly unique monster of the hardwood – including 50 new badges and over 100 archetypes.

The incredible MyCareer mode features a host of Hollywood stars

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The incredible MyCareer mode features a host of Hollywood stars

The guys at 2K are famous for listening to the gamers, their hardcore fans, and implementing the most-requested tweaks to the game.

What they’ve managed to do surpasses anything you could ever expect.

The unparalleled gameplay has received a major upgrade across the board, while the stunning graphics look as though you’re watching a live match on an Ultra HD 4K TV.

Idris Elba is just one name to star in the ‘When The Lights Are Brightest’ story

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Idris Elba is just one name to star in the ‘When The Lights Are Brightest’ story

The game quite literally looks like real life – with even the generation and movement of the beads of sweat on the players agonised over by the geniuses at 2K.

Your MyPlayer’s progression on the road to a 99-rating is also far quicker this year – a bugbear of fans, particularly in the previous two releases.

Once you get to 95, you have to play well – and continue to do so – in order to reach 99 in a superb new twist.

LeBron James stars in the playable movie – as well as being executive producer

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LeBron James stars in the playable movie – as well as being executive producer

But, as ever, there is more to it than merely playing basketball.

Rising star Sheldon Candis directs an all-new cinematic experience, starring Idris Elba, Rosario Dawson and a host of NBA stars, past and present – with LeBron James and Maverick Carter executive producers.

A far grittier “film” than ever, it hits on a host of current social issues – and is completely unique to anything 2K have done before… no spoilers here, though.

The gameplay and graphics have been improved across the board

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The gameplay and graphics have been improved across the board

“The Neighborhood” is back and bigger than ever too, with even more events and new sports – including Disc Golf, to go with the likes of Slam Ball and Dodgeball. There’s even an F1 inspired basketball match-up too.

The whole neighbourhood is also bigger and more dynamic than ever – with 2K adding four seasons to go with the day and night theme.

That means in autumn in the real world, the neighbourhood will be a sea of orange and brown, while winter will see snow and bare trees, before it erupts in a field of green come spring.

It’s little things like that which keep the game feeling fresh, exciting and leaving gamers wanting more. Keep your eyes peeled particularly for Halloween and Christmas.

As ever there are new and improved game modes across the board, including the hugely popular card-collecting MyTeam, as well as season mode MyLeague and the Football Manager-esque MyGM.

Every detail of the game has been painstakingly worked on

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Every detail of the game has been painstakingly worked on

2KTV returns for its sixth season, hosted by Alexis Morgan and Chris Manning, while the women’s league – the WNBA – makes its first 2K appearance in what plays like an entirely different, but equally superb game.

The effort put in to do the WNBA justice is simply remarkable and includes all 12 teams and over 140 players.

Famously lovers of retro basketball, the guys at 2K have added ten new legendary teams form the past, including the 2002-03 Phoenix Suns and 2015-16 championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers – taking the total numbers of teams up to over 100.

Every year I wonder how NBA 2K could possibly be improved in 12 months’ time. Yet year after year, September rolls around and they manage to do it – and drastically at that.

Basketball fans and NBA newbies alike will love this game for the truly immersive experience. So what are you waiting for?

The results of 2K’s hard work on their newest release are obvious to see

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The results of 2K’s hard work on their newest release are obvious to see