Matching up for games in The Neighborhood stays the same--it could be a slog, waiting for players to queue up and the game to cycle through all of the pre- and - post-game animations. I find the Rec's 5-on-5 games much more satisfying with appropriate matchmaking (given that clubs are balanced in ability and positions), and you are able to take this basketball ethos a step further in the organized Pro-Am league. But pleasure from such competitive outlets relies on the players that you get matched with, and how much your participant has progressed in order to keep up.
This is where virtual money (VC) comes into play, yet again. It is not surprising the microtransactions mess every corner of NBA 2K21--and for me personally, I have moved on from being outraged to feeling despondent. The game boundaries on a pay-to-win model, with progress tracks that are paced in methods to nudge you towards paying for VC instead of earning it.
Improving your stats still relies on paying VC, and the costs increase exponentially the farther you upgrade a particular skill. There are loads of nice makeup to earn, and it's true a whole lot of fun dressing up your player in new kicks as well as also the flyest Nike and Adidas apparel, however their exorbitant VC costs suck the life out of the experience.
VC permeates the MyTeam mode again, too. This mode functions as a fantasy-esque build-your-own-team endeavor in which you make card packs to unlock players among a roster which spans multiple NBA eras. MyTeam can be captivating for long-time basketball lovers such as myself who have Allen Iverson teamed up with Anthony Davis and may take this dream team roster into single-player or multiplayer games. However, the loot-box character of making card packs--that can be acquired by gradually earning MT points through new avenues like challenges, seasonal events, and turning in cards that are useless, or by buying them together with VC--leaves the dependence on VC unsurprisingly egregious.
MyGM, which puts you in the shoes of a group's General Manager, is a mode worth mentioning. You call the shots for everything from roster moves, trades, ticket costs, marketing, and personnel decisions in hopes of building a successful franchise.