NBA 2K21's Current-Gen Demo Pits Larry Bird Against Kobe Bryant

NBA 2K21's Current-Gen Demo Pits Larry Bird Against Kobe Bryant

Today, you can get a small taste of what this year's $60 NBA 2K offering is like.

Want to see whether you should wait to pay an extra $10 for a next-gen version of NBA 2K21? Have all of the IRL bubble games reawoken your desire to shoot some virtual hoops? Well, the NBA 2K21 demo is out today for current-gen systems, and it'll scratch either or both itches.

You can grab the demo today on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch and get a sense for how much has changed—or, as the case may be, how much hasn't—since last year's NBA 2K release. As the first installment in the series that'll bridge this generation of consoles with the next, we can expect a lot of hemming and hawing not only over how it compares to NBA 2K20, but with how this current-gen version stands up to the Xbox Series X and PS5 releases slated for later in the year.

In the demo, players are able to check out the MyPLAYER system and play as four different teams: the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers, and two all-star teams for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Yes, ahead of today's Game 4 between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, you can get hyped watching a fantasy match featuring LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant all on the same team against a Celtics lineup featuring the likes of Larry Bird and Kevin Garnett (sadly, it doesn't look like there's an option to play in the Disney World bubble).

2K has decided to price the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of NBA2K21 at $69.99, a price increase that could portend broader hikes for next-gen releases and that'll surely invite more scrutiny of this current-gen version. For any player who wants to future-proof their 2K21 purchase, they'll need to spring for the $99.99 Mamba Forever edition, which will grant "dual-access" on either Xbox or PlayStation consoles. That's all the more reason to check out this demo now to see if it's worth picking up NBA2K21 at launch next month.

For current-gen systems and PC, NBA 2K21 is launching on September 4. On next-gen, it'll be a launch title for both consoles, which places it as a November release for Xbox Series X. If we get locked-in release dates and prices for the Series X and PS5 soon, it'll be that much easier for players to decide whether they should kick in the extra $40 for the Kobe-dedicated edition or not.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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