NBA this year for the gaming industry has been taken to the next level. Some basketball games are introducing the WNBA to opportunity to become “The One.” And while that sounds astounding, because it is, 2K Sports raised the bar this year as well, creating the very best basketball sim to date. Welcome to NBA 2K18; it’s time to Run the Neighborhood.
For those who played the Prelude on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 it was the biggest tease ever, leaving fans of the franchise more excited than ever, yet confused on so many levels. But if it’s your run, prepare for an incredible story. MyCareer is more than playing a game or joining a park this year.
As a side note make sure to utilize the NBA 2K18 the MyNBA2K18 app and scan your face into the game. Early attempts were a challenge until switching to the rear facing camera. After one attempt it was game time playing as myself, personalizing the experience, allowing me to feel more invested than I ever could with a random create-a-player.
Welcome to the Neighborhood
The neighborhood is made up of multiple stores including Foot Locker, NBA Store, Swag’s and more. There’s a barber and tattoo shop as well, and everything named so far only scratches the surface of NBA 2K18. In the neighborhood there are a plethora of mini-games as well as a Park (called the Proving Ground), Pro-AM building, training facility and so much more.
Yes we’re still talking about NBA 2K18, the game that has a 2K Zone for arcade basketball and a DJ booth. There’s so much integrated I found myself forgetting it was a basketball game to play in MyCareer. Luckily there’s a phone to keep you in order with your coach, PR, Agent and others keeping your head on a swivel. You can literally get lost in the neighborhood with the amount of things you can do.
Another good thing about the neighborhood is having more than one way to level up, whether it’s playing games or going to the gym and getting or staying in shape for your next game. Your progression is still tracked in regards to your teammate grade, badges you can earn and your level cap. The level rewards are insane including VIP to cut lines for games, double VC, the ability to raise all badges beyond normal capacity and more!
By the way, there’s no place like home. You have your own crib available to customize just like 2K17 but it doesn’t end there. If you truly have a creative mind and a marketing genius you can create your t-shirts to be essentially worn by the NBA 2K community.
As for each game NBA 2K18 lets you focus on what you want, however failing to do the right thing can cost you in the end. You can play games if that’s your primary focus. Endorsements and such all still hits your cell, but now you have to walk through the neighborhood to fulfill the requirements and meet up with your agent to collect your checks.
The one down side sets in only in the beginning of MyCareer as everything is expensive. Haircuts, clothes, shoes, moves, celebrations, anything; it all comes with a price. Feels like the initial purchase was only the price of admission; you’re still paying for the experience in virtual currency. It’s one heck of a grind making your player skills half-decent, let along grinding on the Road to 99.
Another slightly confusing concept is the other payers around the neighborhood. You’re able to see so many people free roaming around, next to you and even run straight through you. With there not being different ways to engage outside of the training facility and the park, the interactions and emotes are fun when useful. Just not certain of when.
Also when collecting checks from the agent you may see the same clip loop quite a bit.
Presentation has an overhaul as well. It all began with being able to put a face to the national anthem for the first time ever. Something small yes, but the details that 2K Sports are instilling is shaping, molding and solidifying its claim of being the #1 rated basketball game. Timeout are more involved with cheerleaders running out rather than just at halftime. Ernie, Shaq and Kenny are sillier, yet providing great, fresh content during halftime in addition to the pre-game and post-game show.
I love the new replay cam added in NBA 2K18 as it carries a more authentic look to the overall presentation.
Commentary is just as fluid as previous years, including a handful of fresh voice work. Content is literally to date even mentioning Lonzo Ball and how the pick affects the Lakers. In the same conversation they discussed the Rockets and the changes they’ve made these past few years. It’s only an example of how every game provides thorough interaction between all commentators in 2K18.
The new shot meter is at times EXTREMELY irritating as players at times hesitate to shoot the ball off because the meter is yet to start. It’s honestly a stumbling block that you have to get used to as both the meter and mechanics are different this year. An indicator appears at the top of the screen showing the accuracy of your shot and how contested your shot is. Though heavily contested your layer can still make shots as a creator like CP3, Harden or Curry.
NBA 2K18 continues to dominate in delivering the best graphics in any NBA videogame. It goes beyond the Play Now modes as the neighborhood showcases the most detailed environment ever imagined. From the Proving Ground’s graffiti artwork to the well-polished arenas, a plethora of customization options and most importantly the new character models that looks even more realistic than 2K17; 2K holds and own the crown for both realism and creativity.
Aside from needing to take time and learn the new shot meter’s timing NBA 2K18 has great controls and mechanics. With so many animations available it goes to show the work put into the mechanics this year. Kind of hard to believe this was in development.
What Else Is There?
In addition to the incredible MMORPG Neighborhood there’s also MyTeam, similar to the Ultimate Team mode presented by EA Sports, Collect cards with players, coaches, contracts and strategies and create your own fantasy team against other MyTeam players with your own unique uniforms, logo and court. You also have the opportunity to purchase or auction off cards.
MyGM also brings a new story mode as well as you attempt to create the right team for your franchise and return of MyLeague which takes away the story aspect and places you in the GM role in hopes of leading your team to a championship ring.