In between his trip out of high school drama to the NBA 2K22 MT Draft, The Long Shadow spends very little time developing any of its uninteresting characters and also much exploring Junior's school love, in which he chases after his girlfriend to announce his love just like something from a Hallmark movie. It is too bad, since the premise could have been genuinely affecting, but it is much too disjointed and shallow for The Long Shadow to be anything but an excuse to play a few games at a school uniform. It's nice seeing some form of college sports at a video game again, but that is about it. Thankfully, there is an option to skip the story and head directly into the NBA Draft.
The remainder of the MyCareer mode is really good if you can ignore the dreadful microtransactions that infest its every corner. The Neighborhood, a free-roam region where you can play pick-up online matches and produce character modifications, is now set in Venice Beach. The change of setting is fine, especially since you spend so much time there. The colours are brilliant, the courts look great, and there's something soothing about the trendy blue background. I had a whole lot of fun touring the area, purchasing new gear for my created player, and participating in pick-up games. As good as it is to explore the more romantic space The Neighborhood provides, it mostly includes the same elements from the past year's game. It seems different, but there is not much new to do.
But of course, ignoring the microtransactions is easier said than done, because NBA 2K22 will not let you look away from its monetization train wreck. Everything that you do in MyCareer involves Virtual Currency (VC), from personality updates to attire buys and haircuts. Being in a position to compete at a top level in The Area requires upgraded attributes, and while you can eventually earn the VC to buy those for free, it would take a painfully long time. At least there are a handful of methods to get VC, such as playing games with your NBA team, meeting daily objectives, and in-game exemptions - however it is inadequate. It really is a shame that the manner revolves round pre-tax money, because MyCareer has so much potential as a deep create-a-player manner... if only the grinding were somewhat less tedious.
MyTeam still compels you into deciding between grinding out boring jobs or shelling out actual cash for VC. Luckily, MyTeam has at least ditched its horrible casino aesthetic from last year, but it still forces you in making a choice between grinding out mundane tasks or shelling out real money for your VC, which can be used to advance players or purchase packs to unlock more. There does appear to be an emphasis on personalization for MyTeam this year: now you can choose different ability paths for your development cards, such as focusing on athleticism or playmaking, which should help direct players to better match under my individual playing style. MyTeam has also added a"seasonal" component that will supposedly add new ways as they unfold. As it stands at launch, however, MyTeam desperately requires a few more enjoyable techniques to grind outside team cards and improvements.
It doesn't look to be a coincidence that the modes left untouched by microtransactions, such as MyLeague, have seen no meaningful upgrades. Even though MyLeague has sufficient qualities to serve as an outstanding simulation, it lacks the life of exactly what makes the NBA so enjoyable to follow. Built into every NBA season would be the tales which come with it, whether it's LeBron's departure from Cleveland in 2010 or Kawhi Leonard's storybook year as a Toronto Raptor in 2019. MyLeague should feel dynamic and alive. Rather, even for a large fan of this manner for years, it's beginning to feel like I have been doing the exact same thing for many years with no expectation of moving ahead.
For instance, MyLeague still does not feature an option to utilize the WNBA for some reason. Considering that you can play a complete season with any of the 12 WNBA teams, why can't we continue on with a franchise following the first season is over? The 2K22 MT Buy even features its own pair of announcers, which is great for an additional change of speed. Not being able to play these teams in an online capacity or at MyLeague dampens the excitement over the WNBA's inclusion.