NBA 2K18 is an amazing basketball simulator where it shines brilliantly on the court. Where you can get the feel of a great basketball game almost instantly. But off the court, microtransactions rears it ugly head.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Release Date: September 19, 2017
This review is based on a review code provided by 2K Games.
Disclaimer: This will be my 1st NBA 2K game since 2K15 due to a lack of suitable hardware at the time. So I am unfamiliar with what the changes were in 2K16 and 2K17.
NBA 2K18 had a rough start prior to its release thanks to their cover star Kyrie Irving getting his much requested trade to New York. So while 2K sports might have had a problem with the already printed covers, it pales in comparison to what the off the court problems they have within the game.
Microtransactions are basically everywhere when you go into MyCareer. If you want a cool haircut then prepare your credit card, if you want that awesome sneaker then prepare your credit card again. NBA 2K has been really accurate throughout the years with their lifelike basketball simulation but perhaps it has become too lifelike that they’re even simulating you paying for things with your real cash.
And if you think that’s bad, then it gets even worse when you find out that your grinds are useless when you can just pay to improve your skills and reach the 99 overall rating. It defeats the purpose of any sport since one of their purposes is for people to find ways to challenge themselves and become better through every EXPERIENCE. Not through the “experience” that comes out from people’s wallet.
It has now also become a tedious experience now that the menu where you can buy and equip everything all in one sitting is gone and is replaced with a hub called The Neighborhood. I’m not sure what they were going for here since basically the player gets to feel a small open world experience where they can decide where to look for the nearest court in the streets for a quick game, the Foot Locker to change their shoes, the barber to get a new haircut. It drains so much of your time, I personally believe that not doing anything with your character is the best choice.
It also doesn’t help that when you go out to the open world, it is filled with a lot of advertisements. I’m not really affected by it but I wish it was less prevalent since I see them enough in the games.
The MyGM mode is back and is more storylike than ever. MyGM is where you control a specific team and lead it to where you wanna go in the league but this time the developers decided to add some cutscenes here and there which make it feel like a narrative. It’s not really unexpected but it’s not a bad improvement.
NBA 2K18 truly shines on the court though as this is where the magic happens. The player’s movements feel more real than from what I remember. Long inbound passing is harder, the shots are more realistic despite the trickshots here and there. I have also noticed that I can no longer do the crazy foul shot where I fall in what would be a definite injury prone fall if it were in real life, though I do miss that crazy fall. Too bad 2K still can’t go really realistic and introduce some possible fistfights or player arguments and unsportsmanlike conduct for that matter since those would’ve been the most realistic things they could ever add in this game.
It’s also much harder to perform a steal. Even if you mess around with the sliders, it’s still slightly harder from what I remember. Also, another thing to note is that the stick shot timing can be tricky to get right so I usually just stick with the button shot. Unless I’m going in for a drive to the hoop for a jam or layup.
The commentary this time is much more solid than from what my memory serves. I love hearing the trio of Ernie Johnson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal since these guys are basically NBA’s funny men. I always take the time to hear their impressions during the half-time show. Probably the only way they could make it even better is if they would ever add Shaqtin’ a Fool somewhere in their segments.
Basketball is more than just a sport, it is a way of life to many people, myself included. And though NBA 2k18 is riddled with signs asking us to give the developers more money than what we originally payed for; it is still an amazing basketball simulator that even the biggest and smallest of NBA stars would play and worry over their ratings for. For better or for worse, this is not just a game, it is an experience.