Between the baskets, NBA 2K22 MT features a handful of little updates but is otherwise extremely familiar if you have played some of the recent-year iterations. My favorite improvement is the new shot-stick planning, which allows for the challenge of actually aiming shots rather than simply timing them. The best part is that it's really hard to master and also resets the learning curve for experienced players in an effective way, and hitting a green shot -- which requires nailing the target in the meter which appears if you hold down the right stick -- is tremendously satisfying.
This system also provides some much-needed nuance to offense in the paint. Hitting floaters or crafty layups depends on having the ability to successfully aim your shot, (that's much easier to do with a celebrity like LeBron James than it is with a player away from the bench) and it generates possible elsewhere on the court. I have even found it will help lighten the blow from latency issues, which continue to plague online play, due to fewer problems with time. Maybe it's because it is one of the few things that feels completely new about NBA 2K22, but it stands out as this season's greatest addition.
Shot-stick planning is one of those few things that feels entirely new about NBA 2K22. As a side benefit, the right stick now includes a full assortment of motion for dribbling, such as pressing forward for touch size-ups such as Jamal Crawford's exaggerated crossover and behind-the-back moves. Being able to focus on making space for myself with the proper rod without worrying about accidentally flinging up a shot is a significant improvement. Generally, dribbling feels much more responsive and seldom leads to the awkward, uncontrollable animations which have plagued the franchise for years. Chaining moves together, like a step back with James Harden to a Eurostep, is much more natural than it had been before. The changes are not always visually apparent, but it helps improve the already good gameplay.
One reason the lack of upgrades is really frustrating is that a handful of legacy issues stay stubbornly present. Among the most bothersome, especially when playing against a different individual offline or online, is how clumsy post-play is. On the flip side, it's far too easy to get the ball to the paint. Outside awkward plays in which the ball only strikes the back of a defender, moves almost always reach the interior without a lot of interference. Even more bothersome is that once the ball gets to the article, the startup animations is much too slow and lacks urgency. Rather than just going directly to the hoop for an easy dunk or layup, players will sluggishly move toward the basket or awkwardly hurl a shot from only a few feet away. Whenever there is open space between the player and the basket, the player should always go right to the basket. In NBA 2K22, that is rarely true.
NBA 2K22 does such a good job of appearing like a game of NBA basketball that when things go awry, it is really jarring. Then there is the CPU's mishandling of things associated with clock direction, which still happens constantly. For instance, sometimes a player will hold on the ball free of urgency, five feet out from the three-point line as the clock ticks down. One other issue I noticed is that gamers frequently behave oddly in transition. Whether it be someone slowing down (even when they have a numbers advantage) for no reason, or three-point shooters falling in from the arc and crowding the inside, there is often no logic as to this A.I. decision making in transition play.
Likewise the CPU is frequently much too competitive on dual teams, which makes it far too easy to find open teammates. This has been an issue for several decades, and it is maddening that it remains so apparent. NBA 2K22 does such a good job of appearing like a game of NBA basketball that when things go awry enjoy this, it is really jarring.That said, spacing has been improved in general, and that I noticed that non-controlled players act more realistically off the chunk. I had a lot of fun finding open teammates since they curled around screens, made solid cuts into the basket, or slunk out softly into the baseline to get a corner three-point shot. Especially in online play, I was delighted to find my A.I. teammates creating space for themselves and making room for celebrities such as Giannis Antetokounmpo to isolate more efficacy.
This year's campaign, Buy 2K22 MT as The Long Shadow, is a colossal disappointment. It is unfortunate that almost everything outside of the on-court experience pales in comparison. Over the past several decades, I have found myself awaiting the MyCareer campaigns in the NBA 2K series. They are generally polished, well-written in spurts, and feature an enjoyable cast. However, this year's campaign, known as The Long Shadow, is a colossal disappointment. The narrative follows Junior, a promising young talent playing in the shadow of the deceased dad.