NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 vs. NBA Live '19: Which should you buy?

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

(opens in new tab)

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 takes us back to the days of NBA Jam and NBA Street. Caricatures of your favorite NBA superstars from the past and present will pull off crazy moves and dunks on the court. Its only problem is that it doesn't offer much else.

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

Arcade Fun

Reasons to buy

+
Over-the-top basketball fun
+
Huge roster of NBA stars
+
Over a dozen park-style locations

Reasons to avoid

-
Not enough depth

NBA Live '19

(opens in new tab)

NBA Live '19 challenges for the simulation basketball crown with improved gameplay, presentation, and features. Despite the positive changes, it still has some ways to go to match its competitor.

NBA Live '19

Authentic Basketball

Reasons to buy

+
Simulation-style NBA gameplay
+
Tons of gameplay modes
+
Great online features

Reasons to avoid

-
Gameplay needs tuning

This is a section that summarizes what the two options are and who we recommend get each thing. It shouldn't be too long, because details do follow.

Two very different games

Although NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 and NBA Live '19 are both NBA basketball games, they're aimed at far different crowds. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a more casual affair, offering a game that's easy to pick up and play.

This is the game you get if you aren't too serious about playing authentic simulation basketball. When you just want to posterize your opponents at the rim after doing a mid-air front flip or shoot a 3 from half court, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 trades realism for sheer fun.

There are over 400 NBA superstars of the past and present in the game. Many of the new appearances are thanks to 2K Sports' hand in publishing the game, as the publisher used its influence to help secure the likenesses for big names like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 NBA Playgrounds 2NBA Live '19
PlatformsPS4, Xbox One, Switch, PCPS4, Xbox One
Release DateSeptember 7, 2018October 16, 2018
Price$30$40

Meanwhile, NBA Live '19 wants to emulate the real-world product as much as possible. It features all current teams and NBA players, and even has a wealth of legendary players to use in team building modes or when you play as classic teams in regular 5-on-5 games.

And there are tons of ways to play NBA Live '19. You can run the team as a general manager and take some of your favorite franchises to the promised land. Or you can make your own superstar and go from bench-warming roleplayer to venerable hall of famer. Then take that guy online and compete in pickup games with your friends. You could also build a dream team by collecting your favorite players and competing against others for rewards. This is the game to get if you're interested in all the little nuances that make the game of basketball fun.

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a nice change of pace

Sports games can be grueling depending on how you play them. Whether you're grinding for new players for your MyTeam, playing online to increase your rank, or running a whole organization as the general manager, there's a lot to distract you. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 eliminates those distractions to present something you can pick up for 30 minutes at a time when you just want some quick fun.

NBA Live '19 is a full course meal

Alternatively, those who want a little more substance in all facets of the NBA experience can go for NBA Live '19. The game presents its own brand of fun in the form of simulation gameplay that accurately emulates the ebb and flow of professional basketball, and there's a little something here that everyone can enjoy.

Quentyn Kennemer