NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay looks incredibly realistic

2K Sports
2K Sports /

NBA 2K21 next-gen gameplay has been captured on PlayStation 5 and it looks almost lifelike.

With the arrival of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X right around the corner, 2K has finally released the first gameplay of NBA 2K21 on next-gen consoles. The footage was captured on PlayStation 5 specifically but should be reflective of the Xbox Series X experience as well.

Although it’s billed as a gameplay trailer, the video itself seems to showcase more of the graphical enhancements of NBA 2K21. The players look incredibly realistic to their real-life counterparts. It’s seriously some of the best-looking facial capturing I’ve seen in a sports video game to date.

In between the close-ups of the facial animations are clips of gameplay and while I obviously haven’t had a chance to go hands-on with the next-gen version, it looks smooth as butter. Driving to the basket looks fluid and natural, as does ball-handling and shooting. The step-back three looks like something you’d see on TV.

According to Visual Concepts president Greg Thomas, “NBA 2K21 is the standout title that best delivers the promise of next-gen: truly revolutionary graphics, lightning-fast load times and incredible new features and gameplay only possible on next-generation hardware.”

More specifically, players can look forward to graphical advancements in lighting, textures, physics and animations — much of which is showcased in the trailer. Player movement and impact has been reworked with new animations and collision engines. And now there are more than 150 unique AI-driven characters in the lower bowl experience to really help bring the arena to live. Additionally, there’s a new Rail Cam showcased in the trailer that truly captures the environment and atmosphere of the arena.

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NBA 2K21 was met with mixed reception on current-gen consoles. While the new shot meter has been the focal point of most of the game’s criticism, it was also apparent that the NBA 2K franchise had maxed out on current-gen systems. The move to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X has clearly made a difference in terms of gameplay, graphics and presentation. Between the facial animations, the gameplay fluidity, the camera work and more, I can’t wait to experience NBA 2K21 on PlayStation 5 (or Xbox Series X). I haven’t been this excited about a sports game in quite some time.

NBA 2K21 Next-Gen - Gameplay Trailer Xbox Series X PS5
2K Sports /

NBA 2K21 will launch globally for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on November 10. It will arrive on PlayStation 5 in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea on November 12 before releasing in other regions on November 19. As a reminder, NBA 2K21 will cost $69.99 on next-gen consoles. Only those who purchased the Mamba Forever Edition ($99.99) are eligible for a free upgrade to the next-gen version (within the same console family)