NBA Playgrounds has been out for a few weeks now, and while the game is fun on the surface, a few minutes of playing reveals a plethora of concerning issues. The gameplay feels unbalanced, with three point shots being an overwhelmingly powerful element in a game meant to be all about ridiculous dunks. This certainly reflects the real world NBA, but pairing a couple accurate shooters and you’re basically unstoppable. I personally like pairing Ray Allen and David Robinson. It’s made plenty people rage quit on me (leaving an online game mid-match is not punished, by the way).
Which leads to a damning realization — the game just feels rushed out and incomplete. There are weird moments of slowdown between plays, clunky animations and the act of building up a decent team is an absolute slog. It almost doesn’t feel like it’s worth $20 considering you need to play it for at least 10-20 hours just to unlock enough stuff to have a decent night with friends on the couch, the main reason the game is worth buying. You can’t even play online with friends!
Luckily, developer Saber Interactive knows they need to step up their game. They’re adding more players, more jerseys and are tweaking the gameplay to not only make the all-important three-pointers more difficult to make, but they’re adding a shot meter so mid-range jumpers are makeable. Yes, a three is somehow easier to make than a floater or a shot at the top of the key. Told you this game was broken.
The first patch to Playgrounds looks like it’s fixing many of these issues, and we’re even getting some surprising new players like TNT’s Kenny Smith?!
Here are the first looks at a few of the new players coming in the next update. Rodman gets his classic Pistons jersey (but his Bulls/Spurs hair):