The NBA 2K series is the only basketball series in town (sorry NBA Live) it comes around like clockwork each year and hardcore fans eat it up. Did the 2K18 version though offer enough to make it stand out from the crowd?
Welcome To The Neighborhood
NBA 2K16 went all out with its My Player mode, getting Spike Lee to be involved and creating a pretty cool narrative. Fast forward two years and 2K have decided that the way to go is with this thing called The Neighborhood. This still serves as your base for My Player, but it has an open world feel to it.
You run around the neighborhood taking on other players, doing pickup games, learning new moves, changing your appearance and so on. It serves as a large hub world for you to run around going from objective to objective. The idea is pretty solid and I think it is a good first step.
What About On The Court?
The NBA 2K series is a game that is all about playing good basketball. I would argue that the series really nailed it a few years back and since then they have been just tweaking the gameplay each year. NBA 2K18 certainly adds some interesting tweaks. NBA 2K18 is a game that really does require you to think before you act. You cannot just drive to the hoop and expect to get an easy layup or a dunk. You have to work to get your point.
The AI on defense is a lot more aggressive forcing you to think about each play. I really liked this and it makes NBA 2K18 a more thinking man’s kind of basketball game. I also love how they have tried really hard to make each player feel like an individual. In the GM mode you will come to rely heavily on your star players and if they go down or you lose them you certainly feel it.
GM Mode 2.0
I am a huge fan of GM Mode in the NBA 2K series. I love taking complete control of an NBA franchise and GM Mode lets you get in super deep with the running of your team. What is new in this year’s game is that they have added a narrative to GM Mode. I like that they tried this and it does give you some choices to make as you progress like dealing with the owner's annoying son! The choices never really felt like they had any major impact on what was going forward. I do though have to say that this is a first try so I am interested to see if they add more story options over the next few years.
Look At Those Reflections!
As well as tight and solid gameplay, NBA 2K is known for bringing it in terms of the presentation. 2K18 is no different! Since the series’ first launched on the Sega Dreamcast people have been in awe over the way the game looks. NBA 2K18 has that TV style presentation that you come to love and expect.
I will say that the character models, as usual, are great, some look better than others, but with this many players, it is always hard to get everyone completely perfect. The arenas also look great from reflections on the floor, fans going nuts and lots of little details all over the place.
Get Your Hand Out Of My Pocket!
NBA 2K18 does so many things right, but I have to talk about the big elephant in the room wearing those expensive pair of Jordans! I am talking about the Microtransactions! NBA 2K18 is completely unfair with its Microtransactions. I am more of a GM Mode kind of guy so it did not impact me a whole lot. However, those who are super into My Player will find that unless they are willing to grind for hours, hours and I mean hours! They will have to put their hand in the pocket to boost their stats.
NBA 2K18 from a gameplay point of view and also from a modes point of view is once again a huge slam dunk. I love how the game makes me have to work for each win and I think the addition of storylines to GM Mode is a great idea. I can honestly say had it not been for these horrible Microtransactions, I would have probably scored NBA 2K18 at an 8.5!
- Amazing presentation
- Lots of strategy needed to get the best out of your team
- GM Mode has a storyline
- The Neighborhood is an interesting idea
- Gameplay tweaks make it better overall
- Microtransactions are way too much!
- There is a strong learning curve
Download NBA 2K18
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode