I WISH I WAS A LITTLE BIT TALLER…
Disclaimer: Please take this review as one written by a guy playing the NBA 2K series for the first time, and a Brit with a vast appreciation of American Sports.
So we have gotten to that point of the year where aaaaaaaaaaall the sports titles hit the shelves and the online stores like a bull at a gate. The latest editions of FIFA, NHL, Madden, WWE among others are gradually being released and as usual that means bad news to the girlfriends and wives of the world (unless they pick up a controller and destroy you at them, if so good for you, she’s a keeper). One such title however I have found myself digging hours of my time into is NBA 2K18 and with these ongoing franchises being churned out year after year it makes you question the quality of these games, considering the time frame at the developer’s disposal, but with this particular title this is definitely not the case. With a ridiculously immersive outlook to its gameplay, look, sound and its huge selection of different game modes I found myself putting away a good few hours into this game and having a damn good time with most of them.
NBA 2K18 may be one of the best looking sports titles I’ve played. With the character models in the most part looking spot on which works famously alongside the motion capture work, granted I know pretty much every sports title uses this today but honestly it brings this game into a certain reality that is just awesome. This is only amplified by the genuine looking shine of the court, the realism of the crowd reacting to the game uniquely to each circumstance and the commentators delivering back and forth analysis and banter so seamlessly to each game, something that has hindered similar games in the past and it’s refreshing to see this done well. Pair all this with the very executed sounds of the shoe squeaks on the court, the satisfying sound of the ball swishing through the basket (but that’s just me………don’t judge!) and other things that make the overall look of NBA 2K18 a winner. And the fact that before you play each game there is a preshow table discussion about the upcoming games and analysis from the likes of Ernie Johnson and Shaquille ‘Shaq Fu’ O’Neal makes it all feels genuine you can really tell 2K wanted to make your experience as immersive as possible. 2K18 also features a ton of licensed music, with each track getting you hyped for whatever it is you may be doing on your playthrough, be it managing your team to an NBA championship, taking your custom player to legendary status in the career mode, crushing people online or just simply destroying a poor unsuspecting AI team. The music can also be customised to your liking in the playlist (personally I stuck with Def Leppard, again that’s just me).
NBA 2K18 is also one of the most intricate games I’ve encountered when it comes to gameplay. The control scheme gives you an abundance of ways to play each game in an extremely open forum, and though some things may take some time to get used to (even though you’ll have plenty of time you hone your skills as you can only play the tutorials as the 50gb download onto your hard drive) it becomes tremendously satisfying when you start to execute these manoeuvres, dunks, dribbles, setting different plays both offensive and defensive and seeing your team come together and turn into something fierce. It also features some of the most impressive and clever AI with the computer controlled team adapting and targeting players of your team according to each player’s real-life attributes. For example if a particular player is known for 3 pointers they will have to deal with a lot of defence around the top of the key and the wings and players notorious for dunking will have a hard time in the paint, a brilliant little touch that goes a long for replayability.
MyCareer mode is also a great way to use your time wisely with 2K18 and is good for people that really love to do things their own way, the rehashed story of ‘the underdog done good’ has been told time and time again in these kind of scenarios but when it comes to the realm of sport you can’t really go wrong with it, as you see the athlete you created get spotted by a scout rom your favourite team which you are asked to pick upon first loading up the game (how about that eh?). And though it is a full on and addictive experience and the neighbourhood hub is indeed a nice touch, it is inevitable let down by its serious emphasis on microtransaction, the virtual currency present in this mode is always a looming presence here as you use it up to further customise your character with haircuts that should have been present in the creation screens and an cost more than 1000 VC, tattoos, shoes, clothing and even certain skills. A lot of grinding goes into racking up a decent amount as well and this may tempt some players to spend actual money to get a comfortable amount of virtual currency which I have never been a fan of. MyGM and MyLeague are a great way to spend your time with NBA 2K18 with a lot of thought going into these modes as you find out a lot of work goes in to being a general manager of basketball team dealing with, schedules, training, press conference, obtaining contracts and handling transfers, team morale and turmoil, handling a budget etc. MyTeam is also a well thought out process with a involvement of card collecting assisting your team in different ways, something that the fans have been eagerly awaiting to hear about but I found personally to be a tedious experience.