NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, the review

The NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition review comes at a truly exciting time for Apple Arcade: the subscription platform of the Cupertino house has been the protagonist in the last days of a substantial relaunch, with the arrival of various titles of great depth and quality. It is therefore the best time to try this experience if you own an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple TV or a Mac.

Returning to the sporting title of 2K Games, we are faced with a version without microtransazioni and therefore of the MyTeam modality, deeply linked to that type of mechanisms. For the rest, however, the developers have brought a truly complete experience to mobile, perhaps too much if we consider the simulation approach that has always characterized the franchise and which does not go well with the new context.


NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, the polygonal models are the same as the console versions.

Let’s start with the contents. As mentioned, NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition forgoes the modality MyTeam but not everything else, since from the start screen it is possible to try your hand at a quick match between two teams of your choice of the NBA championship, with online multiplayer, with the urban background matches of the Blacktop mode and finally with the Career.

It is inevitably the latter that represents the fulcrum of the experience: after having created a player using the tools of a editor surprisingly complete and multifaceted, we will be able to choose a team and begin a long path of professional growth, measured on the degree of precision of each of our maneuvers but with some balance problems quite evident.

NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition boasts a surprisingly complete editor.

For a substantial period of time, in fact, our athlete will find himself unable to combine skills fundamental for their performance in the field, always remaining rather open in certain areas. A short, very short blanket, which often results in the inability to finish a basket even when it would seem more difficult to miss the shot than to hit it right.

While waiting for 2K Games to somehow fix these shortcomings, it must be said that the rest of the contents work great and still allow you to have fun for hours with a system that reveals itself immediately. deep and exciting, especially for that niche of users looking for a simulation and realistic product to play on the go.


NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition on the graphic plane only sacrifices the resolution of reflections on the parquet.
NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition on the graphic plane only sacrifices the resolution of reflections on the parquet.

We then come to the most important strengths and weaknesses of NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition. We have said that this reduction brings to Apple Arcade a truly complete, simulative, multifaceted experience, with all the mechanisms and peculiarities that have contributed over the years to make the series a real one. landmark for fans of basketball.

Well, this complexity unfortunately pays for itself, in the sense that the developers have not sufficiently adapted the controls and the mechanics to the new context, giving life to a product that can be played well only and exclusively using a controller Bluetooth. Con i comandi touch, in fact, it is really complicated to be able to be precise, not only for the useless abundance of the buttons but also and above all for the poor reactivity of the movements.

NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, the start of a match.
NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, the start of a match.

The latter aspect clearly depends on the differences between the various athletes and on thesimulation approach of the game, but in practice it creates a situation of unsustainable slowness, also giving rise to a sequence of sensational and frustrating errors that generally do not occur with physical controls. That a mobile game is not actually playable on the move is a bit of an anomalous situation, so to speak.

It is clear that this situation makes NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition an even more elitist product, to be used strictly in the home environment, necessarily with a controller, by connecting your device to the TV via adapter or with theiPad resting on a support.

Technical realization

On the front of the technical realization there is little to say: NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition uses the same assets as the PC and console versions, with the polygonal models of the players rich in details and equipped with a large set of animations, as well as an exceptional performance of the stadium and the public, with a sound that is also excellent. By setting the visual quality to the maximum, the 2K Games title undoubtedly stands as one of the best games available on the App Store.

Of course, all of this has a price: up iPhone 12 Pro come on iPad Pro you can get everything running with ultra settings and holding i 60 fps, but even on these premium devices, the fatigue of the graphics engine is noticeable when there are small drops in frame rate or when navigating the options. The problem is that even slightly lowering the presets there is a substantial downgrade of the graphics, a sign that scalability has not been managed at best.

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