Basketball video games on the PS4 have been one of the bestsellers in the sports category throughout the years. There are so many different types of options, ranging from simulation choices to those that solely focus on quick, casual games.
When looking at all the basketball-related games on PS4, these are the four best. Those shopping around should always be keeping these options in the back of your mind before deciding.
1. NBA 2K21
About 10 or 15 years ago, NBA 2K took over as the game that proved to be the most popular of the simulation options. Until then, NBA Live was the game of choice, but NBA 2K was able to show that they could do things a little bit more consistently.
Fast forward to the present day, and NBA Live is not even made regularly. NBA 2K has been a prominent game for those who want a simulation option every year. They have realistic-looking players, gameplay that mimics the actual NBA, and every other type of feature a person can ask for.
It is not like the game is without flaws, but the competition is just not there from NBA Live or any other game for that matter. It would be nice to go back to having at least a couple of true challengers, but 2K should receive a lot of credit for making such an impact.
Buying the newest version ensures that every single player has the right rosters. Also, it will have the most competitive online play. Upgrading once a year is not too much of an issue for those who love the game of basketball. The good thing is that 2K always tries to add at least one or two new features per year to keep everyone engaged.
- Best visuals in the game
- Robust online community
- Extensive list of present and past players
- Full game is a little expensive when buying on launch day
- Players must start from scratch in certain modes each year
2. NBA 2K17
Having the newest NBA 2K game in the series is nice, but not everyone finds it necessary. Maybe they do not keep up with the sport as much as others, and they want to save some money. If that is the case, NBA 2K17 might be the best one to ever release on the PlayStation 4. It has lasting power, and can be purchased for a very inexpensive price.
After struggling a little bit in the early stages of the PlayStation 4, everything started to really hit its stride in NBA 2K17. It was the first time that the franchise decided to go with different commentators than just one set, adding 11 different voices to the mix.
They also made big improvements to offline and online mode, which helps with playability to this day. Some of the games in the past were not nearly as customizable, and that can be frustrating for people trying to create their own experience.
Finally, the MyCareer mode was pretty engaging from the very beginning. The scriptwriter was Aaron Covington, and there were special appearances from actors Michael B. Jordan and Hannibal Buress in the production. Although some of the MyCareer storylines have been boring in the past, this one received pretty favorable reviews.
Very few players are actually still on the same team as in NBA 2K17, but that’s not going to really affect the casual player. It still plays extremely well as a basketball game, and it is pretty much a steal for the price.
- Offline mode holds up
- Engaging MyCareer storyline
- Online modes do not work any longer
- Very few current players are on the same team
3. NBA Live 18
It was not a particularly great run for NBA Live in the PlayStation 4 era. They could not release a game every year, and the ones they did release were not favorably reviewed.
However, there was a slight exception to the rule, and that was NBA Live 18. This was the most refined game of the generation, and it was not that far off from the NBA 2K series. The problem was, not that many people ended up giving it a chance after being burned by EA Sports. Revisiting it now is still a lot of fun.
One thing that they were ahead of was adding WNBA players to the mix. Even though playing with WNBA players did not take off as much as playing with NBA players, having that option brought in a new set of players willing to give the game a try.
The gameplay, in general, is the most fluid in NBA Live 18, and the graphics looked very sharp as well. Unfortunately, NBA Live could not capitalize on the momentum, which led to them being quite a bit behind NBA 2K as far as simulation games are concerned.
They might not be done, but NBA Live 18 was the last truly memorable game from the company. Since it is discounted so much on today’s market, basketball fans should not hesitate to give it a try.
- WNBA inclusion
- Gameplay became very realistic with NBA Live 18 version
- Added legend options
- Still feels a little clunky overall
- Slow load times
4. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
The more arcade-like basketball games on the PS4 are pretty lackluster. Most of them are not full efforts from companies, and they are only entertaining for a little bit of time. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is the exception to the rule, and a big reason why comes down to licensing.
Players get the opportunity to play with actual NBA players in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2. There are plenty of modes to explore, and it is a very fun game to play locally against people, or online.
Compared to the original, they have refined controls, but it is still very easy for beginners to learn and become competitive. Unlockable players, advanced moves, and more keep players engaged for hours.
With how cheap the game is now, there is really no reason to go with any other arcade basketball game on the PS4. It will provide that fix of nostalgic play with modern-day graphics.
- Fast games
- Great for beginners and advanced players
- Multiple modes to keep the game fresh
- Needs a roster update
- AI can feel overpowered
Our Top Pick
If it is not obvious in the reviews, the 2K series reigns supreme as the option for basketball fans. Some people will want to invest in the newest one to have up-to-date rosters and as many new features as possible. If players are not worried about that, they can opt for a cheaper game that is still very fun to mess around with.
Until EA Sports returns with a strong option, 2K will generally have a stronghold on the basketball game market. Competition could make everyone step up their game, which is never a bad thing when moving towards the PS5 and beyond. For now, picking up the current NBA 2K, or NBA 2K17 for those strapped for money, is the best move.
Best basketball games on other platforms: