[Updated]NBA 2k21 Getting Review Bombed

The main artwork for the NBA 2k21 Mamba Forever edition

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[Updated]NBA 2k21 Getting Review Bombed

September 7, 2020

By: Joseph Allen

More Info About This Game
Developer
Visual Concepts
Publisher
2k Sports
Release Date
September 4, 2020 (Calendar)
Genre
Sports
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
 
 

Update

NBA 2k21's base edition has returned to Steam in all regions, most explictly Belgium and Netherlands where it had been unavailable previously. Valve told TechRaptor the issue was resolved, and we confirmed independantly that it was indeed back.

The original story is below


NBA 2k21 is being review bombed on Metacritic, with users criticizing a perceived lack of difference between this game and last year's instalment. In addition to this, in some territories, only the Mamba Forever edition is available on Steam.

 
 

Why is NBA 2k21 being review bombed?

NBA 2k21 currently holds a 1.4 user score on Metacritic for PlayStation 4, with an even lower score on PC and a slightly higher 2.2 on Xbox One. The reasons it's being review bombed are varied, but many of the user reviews pinpoint what they believe to be a lack of evolution or innovation over last year's NBA 2k20 (which was itself review-bombed and also holds a very low Metacritic score). In addition, users are pointing to overly awkward controls, an abundance of microtransactions, and perceived pay-to-win mechanics in the game's online modes. For the most part, however, the negative reviews focus largely on the excessive similarities between last year's game and this year's instalment.

An aerial court view in NBA 2k21
Despite cautiously positive critical reviews, NBA 2k21 is being savaged by users.

It's not just on Metacritic that the game is being savaged. It currently holds a rather damning "Mostly Negative" user review rating on Steam. Here, users are again bemoaning the lack of new features or changes, as well as identifying several technical issues such as glitches and crashes. Critical opinion of the game is mostly positive, but even positive reviews - which often don't mention how similar the game is to NBA 2k20 - seem to point out the prevalence of loot boxes.

What's this about the Mamba Forever edition?

It seems that in some territories - in particular Belgium and the Netherlands - only the Mamba Forever edition of NBA 2k21 is available for purchase via Steam, with the standard edition not being listed. It's believed this is because of those countries' restrictive loot box regulations; the Mamba Forever edition comes with in-game bonuses, but is naturally more expensive as a result. Here's the Steam page for the Belgian edition of NBA 2k21: Mamba Forever:

The Steam page for NBA 2k21: Mamba Forever Edition in Belgium

And here's what you see if you're looking at the UK version:

The NBA 2k21 Mamba Forever Edition in the UK

 
 

In addition to this discrepancy, there also appears to be a difference in the content on offer in the Mamba Forever Edition in certain regions. Here's what you get in the Belgian edition of the game:

  • 200,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 30 Gatorade Boosts
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo Packs (delivered one per week)
  • Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cards
  • 1 Ruby MyTEAM Card
  • 5 pair MyCAREER Shoe Collection
  • MyPLAYER backpack
  • Kobe Bryant Digital Collection

And here's the UK version of NBA 2k21: Mamba Forever Edition for comparison:

  • 100,000 Virtual Currency
  • 10,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Tokens
  • 60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 30 Gatorade Boosts
  • 40 MyTEAM Promo Packs (10 at launch, then 3 per week)
  • Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cards
  • 5 pair MyCAREER Shoe Collection
  • MyPLAYER backpack
  • Kobe Bryant Digital Collection

As you can see, the UK version - which also corresponds to other regions including North America - offers half the Virtual Currency, but twice the MyTEAM Points and 30 more  MyTEAM Promo Packs. The Belgian version offers a single Ruby MyTEAM card (effectively a loot box offering low-rarity cards for the game's MyTEAM mode). The reason for this discrepancy is unclear, but it's likely intended to make up for potential lost revenue as a result of not being able to sell loot boxes in Belgium and the Netherlands. As seen in the screenshot below, MyTeam packs lack the option to be purchased with virtual currency.

NBA 2k MyTeam Belgium
You can't buy MyTeam points, so they lack the legal problems of Virtual Currency buying packs

Curiously, this problem doesn't seem to extend to console storefronts, nor does it apply to third-party storefronts like the Humble Store, which appear to be selling the standard version of NBA 2k21 to Belgian and Dutch consumers. We were able to access the standard edition of NBA 2k21 on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Belgium, as well as the Humble Store. However, users have been reporting that accessing the standard edition is impossible on Steam.

 

As far as we can tell, 2K hasn't issued any kind of statement about why only the Mamba Forever edition is available on Steam. We have reached out to 2k and to Valve for more information. We'll update this story as we learn more.

Are you having trouble accessing the standard edition of NBA 2k21? Have you played the game? Let us know in the comments below!

Joe Allen's profile picture
Staff Writer

Dark Souls changed my life, and I'm here to spread the good news. I like pretty much all sorts of games, but I judge everything by its proximity to our Lord and saviour, Dark Souls.

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