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Monday Tip-Off: A New Opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2

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We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how Saber Interactive has a new opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2.

As I mentioned in Episode #244 of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve been meaning to write an article on how NBA Playgrounds was a missed opportunity for Saber Interactive. The game was solid and generally well-received, but several gamers, myself included, felt that it could’ve been more than what it was. While there were several fans that shot down any and all constructive criticism, often quite toxically, not all of us were ready to make excuses for its shortcomings. NBA Playgrounds had an opportunity to be this generation’s definitive arcade basketball game, but unfilled promises and potential led to it falling short of achieving that status.

However, Saber Interactive now has a new opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2. While some gamers are questioning the release of a sequel so close to the original (and essentially abandoning further updates for the prior release), I think it’s a sound idea. NBA Jam Tournament Edition came out a year after the original Jam. EA Sports likewise released NBA Jam: On Fire Edition a year after the 2010 reboot. Each built upon its predecessor, taking the genre to new heights. Saber now has an opportunity to do the same thing with NBA Playgrounds 2, learning from their first attempt and taking gamer feedback into account. Hopefully, they’ve been taking notes.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #245

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Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we catch up on an eventful week of basketball gaming news, discuss what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, and give our thoughts on the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund recently spoke out about the company’s reputation, and their intent to rehabilitate their image in the wake of the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversy. We discuss how continuing to adopt a consumer-friendly model with NBA Live will surely benefit the brand moving forward.
  • A deal has been struck to broadcast the NBA 2K League exclusively on Twitch, which certainly seems like a good fit. Once again, we consider the League’s potential impact on the rest of us as we look ahead to NBA 2K19.
  • Saber Interactive has announced NBA Playgrounds 2 for a Summer 2018 release. We’re excited and hopeful for the sequel, but there are some key areas where it must show improvement.
  • Namo Gamo has released Basketball Classics on Steam Early Access. This new retro-inspired basketball gaming experience has a lot of potential, and is already quite impressive.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included taking on more challenges in NBA Live 18’s Ultimate Team, and a return to NBA 2K17. NLSC GrindTime may have also played its last session of 2K Pro-Am, at least for a while.
  • We wrap up Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast with some discussion of real basketball, including Andrew Bogut heading home to play in the NBL, the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and Ben Simmons’ Rookie of the Year credentials.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NBA Playgrounds 2 Announced; Coming Summer 2018

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In a post over on the official PlayStation blog, Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karcher has announced that NBA Playgrounds 2 will be released in Summer 2018. The sequel to last year’s release will feature new modes and content, as well as other enhancements based on fan feedback.

Two of the most significant additions in the upcoming game are intended to expand the experience both online and offline. First of all, NBA Playgrounds 2 will include a worldwide online league called the Playgrounds Championship, featuring several divisions supporting both solo and co-op play. The game will also have dedicated servers for better matchmaking and a smoother online experience. Four-player online co-op has also been added.

Second, offline play has been expanded with a new Season Mode. The mode will see users take their team through the regular season and Playoffs, all the way to the NBA Championship. NBA Playgrounds 2 will feature over 200 current and former NBA players, which will again be unlockable by collecting them in card packs. The blog also mentions enhancements to player models, improvements to the artificial intelligence, some expanded gameplay mechanics, and additional music tracks.

A teaser trailer has also been released, which you can check out below:

What do you think? Did you enjoy last year’s game? Are you looking forward to the sequel? Have your say in the comments section below, and feel free to join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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