NBA 2k18 Review

I am an avid NBA 2k fan. So much so that NBA 2k17 made me buy a PS4 and ended my attempt at solely living a Linux Gaming life… but did NBA 2k18 jump the shark?

TL:DR;

NBA 2k18 is a massive game and still hammers the competition into the ground. The on court game play is polished and addictive and the graphics are outstanding. The constant money grabbing antics of the developers via the VC (virtual currency) in the MyCareer section of the game and the general lack of trying for the story lines in both MyGM and MyCareer does leave me feeling dirty at times but if you are strong enough and patient enough to ignore this then the game is still a must buy. 3/5 stars

MyGM/MyLeague

MyGM terrible story, no expansions, contract issues.

In previous versions, MyGM has been my go to game mode. Taking over a franchise then relocating and/or rebuilding has been hours of brilliant sporting fantasy.

I was over the moon when I heard there would be a story mode in 2k18. Unfortunately it was well below even my lowest of expectations.

The story is bloated with useless conversation. Why on earth I would want to know what a NPC is eating for breakfast is far beyond me. The teams owner and assistant GM at one point go behind your back and make roster changes, which is incredibly frustrating considering the whole aim of MyGM is to manage the roster.

I have ran through the story a few times and even though you are given different choices I believe it is still always the same outcome, no matter what you select.

Starting a MyGM franchise also now comes with limited options. You can’t start with an expansion team or change the teams that are currently in the NBA. The first draft class is ALWAYS the same and cannot be customized. As you will find out quite quickly and to great lengths, the draft class for the first season of MyGM is STACKED. Freddie Staples is basically a Steph Curry in Shaq’s body.

Luckily these options are still available in MyLeague but I always previously preferred MyGM as you had to manage the owners and players ego’s.

I also feel that MyGM’s realism has taken a hit. In my third season as Pelicans GM I have managed to renew Boogie Cousins contract and signed KD and LeBron to team friendly deals (LeBron is on less then $10m a year). I try starting LeBron at PG for the first quarter of the season, which didn’t work to well so actually moved KD to 6th man… of which he didn’t complain once. Once I got to the play-offs I stopped this scenario as it just felt dirty. If the realism goes completely, I find interest is lost.

NBA 2k18 MyGM: A loaded front court of LBJ, KD, AD and Boogie.

There are some great added features to MyGM/MyLeague. Signing 2-way contracts and moving people to and from the G-League is great. There are new relocation cities and lots more contract options.

A must try in MyLeague is to do a fantasy draft with the “All-time” rosters selected. Fantasy sports at its best. Although after the first season free agency makes CFO’s hope for Armageddon.

For NBA 2k18 MyLeague will be my new go to mode over MyGM.

MyCareer

MyCareer is the most controversial part of NBA 2k18. On a very basic level, the premise has not changed from previous versions. You create a player that you solely control and progress through a NBA career from the beginning to the end. If you wish to adventure into the world of multiplayer you can via Park or ProAm.

For the first time in a NBA 2k game you have been able to select a position and 2 archetypes rather than 1. Based on the combination of position and the 2 archetypes, your player is assigned a number of badges that they can unlock. Badges are then aren’t by doing certain actions that qualify under that badge. For instance, if you want the “Brick Wall” badge, every time you set a screen a certain amount of points will be added to the progress of that badge.

In a NBA career game 1 good screen = 100 points, the bronze “Brick Wall” badge unlocks at 1200 points. So that is 120 good screens for a bronze badge… WELCOME TO THE BADGE GRIND.

Setting screens and the “Brick Wall” badge is a very simple example. If you are going for the “Post Spin Technician” badge as a level 60 player it can be incredibly frustrating as performing a successful post spin is quite difficult.

So before I go for the “Post Spin Technician” badge I need to get my post skills up higher. This is done by earning (or buying) VC then purchasing and applying skill points to your player. To max out my players post moves its $$$VC!! WELCOME TO THE VC GRIND.

The MyCareer story has hit a new low. Previous characters of Pres (NBA 2k17) and Freq (Spike Lee’s NBA 2k16 creation) were feel like works of Shakespeare compared to DJ and the new Jar Jar Binks of basketball, B-Fresh. The cut scenes are long and unnecessary and most frustratingly never ending and un-skippable. I might not be the main target audience for NBA 2k18 but I can’t believe anyone can relate to these hollow cabbage jelly characters.

B-Fresh: The new Jar Jar Binks of the basketball world.

I can see 2k’s idea behind the VC and badge grind. They wanted MyCareer to be in more of a MMORPG vain and in true MMORPG fashion, to be the best it has to be earnt. The top players can’t be the “casual” gamers… grind is needed. Getting to 99 overall gets you a place in the next game. Its a real old skool feeling gaming achievement. BUT why have it that part of the experience can be bought. A lot of the NBA 2k community are moaning about the micro transactions and I understand why, especially with VC being harder to earn and advertising being EVERYWHERE within the game. Remove the purchasing of VC, put some form of effort into the story line and this game could be great, at the moment, its just leaving a dirty taste in my mouth.