2K Games is on something of a hot-streak when it comes to PSVR releases, it’s just a shame that it’s a hot-streak of fizzy urine. With NBA 2KVR experience releasing on PS4 this week, it marks the second PSVR title from the publisher, though this time it’s just truly pitiful and insulting to players.
NBA 2KVR Experience is, as you’d guess, a basketball game. With the PSVR allowing players to control different objects with the PS Move wands, you’d think that in a basketball game where throwing is a fundamental part of the game, you’d be able to maybe do a bit, oh, I don’t know… Throwing? Nope, not with this one you wont. You’ll do a lot of looking, sure, and you might even get some neck pain from all the turning and looking and more turning, but you’ve zero chance of doing your wrists any damage.
The game is played exclusively with the DualShock 4 controllers and has no option for PS Move controls. Why? I’ve not a clue. It’s baffling, maddening and hilarious at the same time. Who in the studio said “hey, fellas, why don’t we just sub out the those fun move controls for pressing a button on the DualShock 4?” I’d like to meet that guy and ask him to explain why he thinks it alright to do such things to innocent people.
Alright, let me get on with the actual gameplay. It’s got potential, but that potential was pissed away when 2K’s Dave suggested the DualShock 4 in favour of the PS Move wands. You have a few different modes to pick from in what is essentially a mini-game compilation. You look around by moving your head, and you “shoot” the balls at the basket by pressing the R2 button on the DualShock 4. You aim by looking at the basket, and the beautifully turdy part of it is that you don’t really need to be that accurate. Simply looking straight at the hoop and pressing R2 will send your ball soaring into the net. You pick up balls by – here it comes again! – looking down at the rack to your right, then you look at where you want to “throw” the ball, and then you do that over and over until you admit that you’ve made a grave error in buying this game.
One game mode is actually 90% looking. You throw the ball, then you look at different targets before the ball hits them. Some challenges have only a couple of targets to look at, others have more! All the looking you could ever effing wish for! Look over there! Look to your right! Look to your left! Just LOOK at everything.
Actually, perhaps I’m being a tad unfair here, because in truth the game is actually quite nice to look at. No, really, I was genuinely impressed by the graphical presentation from the moment it booted up. It really is a very pretty game with some excellent lighting model work. The courts looked great with their shiny surfaces, and the balls looked as good as I’d ever expect a ball to look in a video game. Hell, I even turned to the Mrs on the menu section when I noticed the nice red carpet and said “love, we need some carpet like this.” It really does look that damn good. Still, that doesn’t mean a thing when the gameplay is reduced to looking. It works for some games, definitely, but for a game in a genre that was done to death last-gen? No bloody way. There were Kinect, PS Move, and Wii games that did motion controls pretty fine, so it’s a travesty to see this reduced to tapping the trigger.
I can maybe see hard-core NBA fans finding a modicum of fun here, but even then I think I’m letting my imagination get the best of me. It’s a shame that it’s turned out this way, really, because with some proper player interaction that didn’t induce whiplash, I could actually see this one being a decent little party game – there’s a multiplayer option for pass-the-headset gameplay – or even a little demo to show your mates how cool PSVR is. Unfortunately it’s just plain poo. If you’re looking for a sports game done right on PSVR, I highly recommend Holoball. Heck, it doesn’t just let you use one PS Move controller, it goes the full mile and lets you use two – and that’s two more than NBA 2KVR allows, sadly.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code purchased by the reviewer. This has no effect on the content of the review or the final score awarded. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed on a PS4 Slim, not a PS4 Pro.
**I am actually quite gutted to have wasted £11.99 on this game, but it’s worth it to save others from the same fate. You’re welcome.