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We Played NBA 2K22 On The Switch So You Don't Have To

NBA 2K22 Luka Doncic

NBA 2K22

Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: September 10, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

The ‘NBA’ In 2K22 Is 75 Years Old

Another year, another sports title, and another NBA 2K game arrive at our virtual doorstep for fans to enjoy as 2K22 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the NBA as a whole. The game also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the WNBA, which began in 1996, while also featuring an alternate cover of Candace Parker to celebrate. The cover athlete for the regular edition of NBA 2K22 is Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks, one of the rising stars of the Mavs as well as the NBA itself. 

Like most versions of 2K, there’s also a special edition, this time the aforementioned “75th Anniversary” edition showing three prominent NBA players from different eras. Kareem Abdul Jabar graces the cover to represent the NBA’s past while Kevin Durant represents NBA’s present. In the middle is Dirk Nowitzki, who represents NBA’s “cusp” years, set after Kareem’s presence but before Durant’s eventual rise. 

Gameplay Basketball Knicks
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

All three athletes are shown with hand-drawn art with a presentation different from the original editions of the game. As the edition is the most expensive of the three, this version includes a mountain-load of content aside from a cool display. While the Anniversary Edition is only exclusive to the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Switch versions, there are download codes for the PS4 and Xbox One versions, meaning players of the previous generation can still enjoy the game while also enjoying the bonus content.

Switch Gameplay Streetball
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

NBA 2K22 Is A ‘Switch’ In Progress

It is the Switch version that I was interested in looking at, however, because the Switch has been the console that players are least likely to play on. After all, why play a significantly inferior version when the Series X and PS5 versions are right within grasp? Well, for research purposes of course, but also to serve as a learning experience. Take it as “We did this so you don’t have to.” You'd think I already learnt my lesson with R.B.I Baseball 21...

Why the negativity before the game is even started? Well, because for first-time 2K players on the Switch, you will need a few accessories before you are even able to play the game. A micro SD card is a requirement as the game demands at least 38 GB of space to be installed on the Switch. While there are game data on the cartridge, the majority of the data is download only. (Ringing any bells from our previous Mass Effect first look?) 

Switch Gameplay Basketball
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

The fun doesn’t stop there as the WiFi capabilities of the Switch have always been lackluster, especially when downloading full-size games from the eshop via personal experience. It’s why players interested in downloading games must invest in a USB wired LAN adapter, as downloading games via ethernet is a billion times faster than Switch’s WiFi. 

Needing Hardware To Enjoy The Bare Minimum

I’ve learned this the hard way as the amount of time it has taken to fully install the game on the Switch has totaled around two hours. NBA 2K22 is a massive game across all consoles so it’s best to leave it running overnight or when you have nothing better to do, but on the Switch, it’s so abysmal it’s laughable.

My first thought when the game finally downloaded and I reached the main menu screen was how laughably low-resolution everything appeared. While on the recording it may not look as bad, on the TV it was abysmal as the Switch version used probably the lowest resolution of Luka they could find in their database. For reference, the PS5/XSX versions require at least a hundred gigs of space. This required 40, a mere fraction of the space, which made this version appear dated even by Switch standards. 

MyCareer Switch
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Cutting NBA 2K22 Some Slack

I will give credit where it’s due, as the cutscenes shown in MyCareer are for the most part faithful to their original counterparts. The models look pretty good, with details and facial animations to appear realistic as possible. In an exhibition match, the pre-match starting lineups and pre-game interviews are also a nice touch, showing that the game itself is rather positive presentation-wise.

However, the Switch is simply an inferior console, so corners had to be cut in many ways. Back to MyCareer mode, the apartment that the player is in is as lifeless as staring at a blank room with no form of texture added whatsoever. I jokingly stated that the interior reminded me of CJ’s House from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but looking back at the images I captured, I wasn’t far off the mark.

NBA 2K22 MyCareer
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Everything Is A Painful Experience

Even gameplay-wise it’s a bit lagging, offering a simplistic model in which the AI will score every basket possible but your own AI flounder about like gasping fish. I’m sure I’ll hear “Why didn’t you go to 2K University if you were unsure of the controls!” and to that I say, I wanted to see the game in motion and not spend over an hour learning the game. In motion, the game looks really good that I often forget I’m playing on the Switch until close-up of the models and the crowd snaps me back to the reality that I placed myself in.

The major positive I can attribute to NBA 2K22 is its expansive roster, with probably the largest number of available players I’ve ever seen in a basketball game. The game intends to celebrate the 75 years of the NBA’s existence and 2K pulled no punches, including almost every prominent team from the past 75 or so years. This also includes the “greatest players” that played on each team as a form of an “All-Star” team for each existing NBA team. Even the main roster includes bonus teams such as the All-Star Game teams and the Olympic teams, except for the recent 2020 Olympic team.

NBA 2K22 Team Select
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Overall, with every new version, they add new touch-ups and details to make each game feel modern compared to the last. People, myself included, may joke that “it’s the same game every year” but at least it’s not on the Switch where the amount of liberty is severely limited. It also makes me, dare I say, appreciate the current-gen consoles as the amount of detail and content included in the base game is hefty if one ignores the cash grab that is MyTeam.

NBA 2K22 Luka Doncic Main Menu
NBA 2K22 - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

In other words, don’t get this on the Switch. There are far better sports titles out there and the player will have to jump through basketball hoops to even play and experience a game that’s a shell of its current-gen counterpart.

NBA 2K22 is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch.

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