Because this is a demo, there are only three game modes: practice, full game, and MyPlayer build.
In practice mode, players have the option to practice and learn the controls as Clippers star Kawhi Leonard. In a private gym, you can try out all the new moves and get comfortable with any added features.
You can also try your hand at Full game mode, and for those unfamiliar with the operation of the game, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Here, you can hop into a full-scale game, playing as the LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, or Classic All-time Celtics and All-time Lakers. You can choose to play as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and many more classic players.
Finally, in the MyPlayer mode, players have a chance at building their own player. You can max them out at 99 overall skill and see how they fare against the pros. There’s word that the build and progress you make in the demo will transfer over to the full game once it’s released.
As far as gameplay goes, it feels about the same as 2K20 with a few small, but noticeable differences.
The first, and most obvious, is the shot meter. In previous years the meter moves from bottom to top. Players aim to release as close to the top as possible to increase their chances of making the shot. In 2K21, they changed the meter from vertical to horizontal. It moves left to right with a sweet spot changing positions depending on where the player’s release is.
Another noticeable change is the physics of the ball itself. When the ball hits the rim it bounces off in a more realistic, random way. If you’re a big man under the rim you have to pay closer attention to the shot to get that rebound.
For the most part, the demo feels almost painfully similar to the previous year’s game. The logos and load screen designs are identical, the gameplay feels exactly the same with no real improvement on player mobility.
Obviously, this is a demo made to give users a taste of 2K21 without having to actually buy the game. There are plenty of modes not showcased that are reportedly completely new and improved.
There’s no way to really know what the full game will be like. As many people already know, sports games tend to blend together through the years with little distinction between them. 2K will have to pull out the big guns if they want to break the cycle and develop a new and original game.