By Brandon DeJesus, Staff Writer
Follow him @WRSEBrandon
Visual Concepts pumped out remarkable basketball games over the last several years and playing them is nothing short of breathtaking. However, they made several changes to “NBA 2K18” that do not quite fit the overall product as it missed an opportunity to reach the ceiling attained by previous games in this illustrious series.
At its core, “NBA 2K18” provides basketball fans with a delightful gaming experience through its presentation which has improved greatly. Visual Concepts took the presentation to a whole new level with better play by play commentary and better on-site interviews.
Retired legends Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett make cameo appearances as guest commentators and play-by-play commentary from long time announcer Kevin Harlan is better than it has ever been.
Even minute details, like players talking about their personal experiences playing basketball during on-site interviews, make the presentation feel like you are watching a game on TNT.
The graphics in the “NBA 2K” series are outstanding and “2K18” is no exception. All the players look stunningly accurate and they even play like their real life counterparts. The game has some clipping problems but they are not bad enough to make the game unplayable.
The gameplay feels fluid and responsive, passing and dribbling feel solid, and shooting the ball feels more potent. Ball physics have improved greatly and it no longer feels like the ball is super-glued to the players hands. Gamers also have to read defenses well and react to individual players strengths.
While the graphics and gameplay are great, it is the subtle things such as microtransactions and some of the game modes that will leave a sour taste in some gamers’ mouths.
The prime example is the number of ambiguous attempts this game takes in regard to microtransactions. For the most part, microtransactions are okay if they add value to the game. In “NBA 2K18,” they go way overboard. These microtransactions are mostly found in MyCareer mode where your created player begins the mode with a base rating of 60 overall.
The goal of MyCareer is to be the best player in the world and to do that you must increase your skills in different areas.
Unlocking some of the earlier skills is rather easy but as you progress, the skills become very expensive and require a lot of virtual currency which can be earned in-game or purchased with real money.
This Virtual currency is used for just about everything in the game like purchasing clothes, shoes, and tattoos for their character. It is an absolute mess.
MyGm (Franchise mode) adds new text based story elements. While it is nice to see “2K” is taking this risk, the execution is not so great.
It feels like an addition to MyCareer because MyGM takes place after your created player’s career ends because of injury. The lack of voice over, some cringe worthy dialogue, and the presentation of MyGM as a whole make playing this mode less fun.
“NBA 2K18” also introduces Neighborhoods which goes along with MyCareer, ProAm, and MyPark. It is a semi-open world where you and other players hang out.
The locations of the various shops, courts, and other places are too far away from each other making it agonizing to get to all of them. I get that Visual Concepts tried to do something different and hopefully this mode can be improved in future releases.
When it comes to the sheer gameplay as well as the graphics, “NBA 2K18” is great. However, everything else surrounding the game feels unfinished, sloppy, and bites off more than it can chew. The microtransactions are dreadful and make MyCareer more of a grind than it really should be. Overall rating, 7/10.