It is true that there are haters for a player like LeBron James. Most of the criticism that was faced by this phenomenal player was based on perceptions. It was either on the fact that he should not have left the team Cleveland Cavaliers or that he is not doing well as a free throw shooter or he should keep taking his own shots rather than passing the ball and so on.
While people are ready to criticize his every move, they take his skill set and athletic perseverance for granted. The expectations are set so high on him that when he performs, no one bats an eye and when he doesn’t everyone is ready to thwart him.
One can say that the recently released NBA 2K18 is lot like LeBron James in that aspect.
We all know that the game is an annual release and with every release it brings with more interesting animations, cutting edge technology and amazing game play plus player moves. When the game is at the peak, you can probably look at it as the time when LeBron James had three consecutive seasons of championship, when he was the uncrowned king on court. And when the game is not doing well, it is like those times when the team of LeBron James reached the finals but failed to reach the ultimate goal, the championship.
When the latest edition was examined, completely from a gamer and from an outsider perspective, one can be assured that it has the makings of the championship season in it. Of course there are a few things which could have been done better but at an overall perspective the game definitely wins hands down.
So let us take a look at the pros, the flip side and of course the final deal.
To start with the pros,
Gameplay Is Great, Please Don’t Patch It
Have you heard the slogan, “NBA action…its fantastic”. Well it was the slogan of the Basketball association back in the 80s. I think that slogan can be applied to this version of the game, simply change it to NBA 2K18 action is fantastic and you have everything you want to say in that single phrase. And it is further evidenced by the fact that the game play for this edition surpasses all the previous edition game plays by a mile.
We thought it was par excellence back in July of this year when we had the chance to play the game as a test run before its actual release in September. But we never imagined that the game can be further improved. And we have been proven wrong for the game has come out much better than it was in July. The system used for the movement is completely new which retains the easy movement flow from the previous editions but removes the elongated animations making your NBA 2K18 even more attractive.
The dynamics revolving around making and missing the shot is just perfect. The detection on the strength during delivery is unnaturally realistic. What’s more? The AI used for the offense and the defense uses players controlled by CPU who behave as authentic as the real players and is as real it can get in any of the 2K games so far.
In case you happen to be on the level of Superstars, then you will immediately notice the different type of shots, fake moves, pump fakes and dribbles by some of the greatest players in basketball in the virtual world. In fact you would be left wondering if you are in the real court or a virtual court.
From the defense point of view, the CPU players keep rotation to contest for the shots from a long range and you will see that the poor shooters are left open. There has been augmentation on the paint protection and on obstruction in the passing lane scenarios.
It is not just the game play has been enhanced in a particular mode but it has been enhanced all over the game. Despite your liking towards Blacktop or Pro-Am, or towards MyPark, you will see that you cannot resist these playing modes for they bring in more innovation and excitement this time.
If we were to applaud the efforts, the credit definitely goes the team on AI and the game play team comprising of Nino Da Czar Samuels, Scott SOG O’Gallagher, Zach Timmerman, Mike Beluba Wang. The resultant from their efforts is an outcome that is a fantastic mix of simulation and fun and there is nothing you want to be changed in this mix. Even the game play in the last edition was fantastic until it went through multiple patch runs which made it kind of runny and less exciting.
As for the fans, there is nothing to beat this amazing game play unless someone is able to come up with an ingenious and an impossible way to exploit it.
Players Look Healthier
Another biggest plus point this time around is the body type of the players. They are looking far healthier than the earlier malnourished looks. The body has been built proportionately for all players barring a few where you might want a little more muscle on them. But that is a flaw you can easily live with. There are a lot of spectacular shots in the game like that of the one featuring Steph Curry. So one can say that the game and the players are looking really good!
The Block is Hot
The Neighborhood is the new and the much awaited addition to this game. The MyCareer mode has been made into an open world encompassing MyPark, Pro-Am, customization of characters and much more which was not part of it earlier.
To be honest, many of you might find this mode to be kind of overwhelming for it has the scanning of the face to begin with. To be frank, it seems to work better than last time. And there is definitely a story to follow through with your character and thankfully unlike the one in NBA 2K16 it is not confining you to any kind of limitations.
Given that this is an open world scenario, you might even forget the narrative and get yourself highly indulged in the My Neighborhood mode of play.
If you have been a player of the Prelude, you would be aware that the character has to start its career from a street player to the NBA draft, getting picked into the team (of your choice as you mentioned as favorite).
There are certain objectives that you need to meet but you can also work out on your own tangent and explore the game and your skill set. You have the 2K Zone, the PlayGround, the Pro-Am Gym, barbershops, parlor for tattoos, apparel store and even a subway to get around the neighborhood.
You might find it overwhelming if you try to take it all at once. So take your time and choose every area and explore it to the dot. As you explore, you can gain experience too. If you take a look at it, you would be surprised by what 2K has accomplished in providing the gamers through this amazing feature.
MyGM Is No Longer An Afterthought
Yes you can now totally fall in love with the MyGM mode for it is completely worth it. The way the story and the building of the team is beyond comparison and is completely awesome.
As part of the mode you can see that there is a back story to you in similarity to that of the MyCareer mode and there are also interactions with media, management and of course some really good players in the virtual world. You can experience a complete single player experience which is further endorsed by the game play we saw above.
MyLeague is Still Exemplary
This is a mode that has been exceptionally well received over the years in every edition of NBA 2K series. While there aren’t any major changes to this mode, there have been other smaller nicer features incorporated like G-league, draft and stash and so on.
To put it simply, one can say that this is definitely the best mode to play on this game yet again. The way MyGM has been defined with a new direction has ensured that the MyLeague mode also has a better meaning with a better customization and a better experience of the league.
Spark up Nostalgia
There is no flaw to be found in the way the concept has been overall executed. It is a point of appreciation that 2K has used the conventional concept to pave way for an exciting game and the implementation is flawless. You will find that there is a team for All time in every franchise and every roster has the right set of players filling in for different positions.
Another amazing addition is the classic teams which have been included now. You have the Sacramento kings from 2001-02, the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2013-14 and more for you to play with. There are some rosters that are not complete which we will discuss on the flipside of this game.
MyTeam Takes A Massive Leap
The best part is the draft mode introduced in this mode and a cap for the salary. There are also some exciting cards, smart packs and brand new challenges which makes the mode more interesting. The mode is now fully capable of competing with the likes of the diamond dynasty and the MUT.
Spinning on the fresh concept as championed by the Draft champions of EA sports, the draft mode includes PAP (Pack and Playoffs). You will be taking five players in this mode since there are no reserves or stamina in the games. The structure is like that of a playoff and you are expected to have a lineup that will battle out the competition on court and online.
When you win four games, you can move to the next level. And if you lose four games then you would be eliminated.
The salary cap mode is what Salary Max is and there are two features that boosts this mode further which is why it is important that you make an appropriate selection of the coach. You need to be highly proficient in the system if you want to push your players to their maximum ability. If you are unable to make a team fit enough for the roster then you would not be able to make them perform well either.
There are also perks for the coaches at the level in terms of gems which can further be used to boost up the team when there are timeouts. This is how you make those head coach cards work in favor of you and your team.
Serves mostly good
The reason that this review took a little longer to post than normally is because of the fact that we had to check how NBA 2K manages to match with the spurs of online collaboration, especially for the My Neighborhood section.
There have been a few issues reported earlier on but other than that there hasn’t been any serious loss or stability issue so far in running the game.
As for the loss of character in MyCareer it has been recognized already by the 2K sports company and is on the pathway to getting fixed as confirmed by them. Yes there are flaws but that is expected in any game launch and it is definitely not a showstopper. This can be both a strength and a weakness for the MyNeighborhood mode works with online only.
We cannot say that the connectivity is completely without fault. However the 2K 18 has definitely surpassed the expectations in terms of the workings and other positives.
The Create-A-Player Options Are Turrible
Yes the word Terrible has been deliberately misspelt because that bad is the CAP system. With the scanned face option taken up by the 2K sports which has limited the options for customization.
Yes you can choose different hairstyles and even body types based on your expectations but there are no more options for face sculpting or the eye color or the skin tone. The worst part is the facial hair. The mustaches look like a bad scribbling by a child and there are no options to add tattoos.
These things might sound very negligible but they have a widespread impact on all modes.
While it may not affect MyCareer if you are using the face scanning option, it can have a problem with the MyLeague mode. If you are a gamer of the yesteryear and you already have a player and roster at the ready to prolong with every release of the game, then you might find it as an issue.
With no more options to make the character more creative, it also discourages those who want to use the creation mode for creating their characters.
These are generally used by fans when they just want to include the friends and their profile into the game for the sake of it. While you can upload your rosters in the MyLeague, the result is not as per the expectations and is pretty despairing.
The decision must have been made by the company to make the players look more in alignment but you definitely do not get the same kick with a scanned face like when you can design your own character. You are definitely disappointed when you cannot create your own character.
MyCareer Cutscenes Are Not Accurate
The Cutscenes are definitely not living up to its expectations. For instance, the character which is built at 7 foot appears at nearly 6 foot only at the cutscenes which is a clear misrepresentation. And we are speaking about the MyCareer mode here.
Presentation Could Still Use Some Work in MyGM, MyLeague, and MyTeam
The presentation is good in the Play now games. However it could do with some help in the other modes like MyLeague, MyTeam and MyGM. In the MyGM and the MyTeam options the shows before the game and after the game, the wrap up and the presentation etc should be in concurrence with the current affairs so that there is better alignment with the real world.
NBA 2K can take a leaf out of the Madden games where you will find yourself getting immersed in the games in franchise modes. You would feel that it is not an exhibition game and that is what you need from the 2K games as well.
The Classic Teams Are Great, But No Barkley, Reggie Miller, And Others Still Hurts
Having classic teams is definitely the fantastic way to enjoy the NBA games but when there is no Reggie Miller or Barkley or Arenas or Wallace, you kind of loose the fun in the game. While this did not make a big difference in earlier games, you would find that they are highly consequential in the current game.
Classic Team Presentation
The presentation of the classic teams is not done well. For instance the uniforms do not match up. The teams from the 1980s are wearing longer shorts which are not actually the case. And matching up the uniforms correctly will help to make the game looking more authentic.
The final deal
You might find that the NBA live definitely did bridge the gap between the reality and the virtual world of basketball and the 2K 18 has just gone a step above to prove that there are still many chances for improvement. The game definitely has a new layer on it which takes it to a different level in the world of gaming.
As is the case with LeBron James, the game is not completely perfect. But it has a lot of new features, options, advanced game play and much more which makes it the best of the games in basketball video game.