NBA 2K18 is a basketball simulation video game and the 19th installment in the NBA 2K franchise. Much like previous instalments of the franchise, NBA 2K18 attempts to realistically portray the NBA, allowing players to play simulated NBA games with their choice of real-life or customised players and teams.
The four modes available in the previous games return, being MyCareer, MyGM and MyLeague as well as MyTeam. MyCareer is a mode in which the player creates their own customisable basketball player and plays through their career. This mode comes with an actual story, which plays out as the player competes in game. MyGM and MyLeague require players to manage the operations of a particular team. The only difference in this instalment is that MyGM attempts to be more of a story mode with several cut-scenes.
MyTeam, on the other hand, requires players to build the ultimate team and maintain what is virtually a trading card fantasy league. Here, players are to play their teams in basketball tournaments against other players’ teams with a rather modern twist of ‘deck building’ being added. In this mode, virtual currency is used considerably and this iteration of the game relies a fair amount on microtransactions. Yes, that means spending real life money! Yikes.
One of the immediate things I enjoyed about the game is the fact that each player possesses unique styles and skills, much like that in the real life NBA. Likewise, gameplay is more ‘realistic’ and similar, in terms of difficulty and challenge, to the real life NBA as the A.I in the game adjusts your playstyle to allow for a more realistic experience. One of the benefits of the A.I is also that it also assists brand new players to some degree.
Visually, the game is crisp and clear, making the game look and feel like a life-like NBA match with real players. However, other aspects within the game such as audio sync, is a bit off, meaning that there are some instances where the audio and mouth movements aren’t in line, which actually was rather annoying.
While an enjoyable game overall, it is the microtransactions that began to put me off the game. It seems as if more and more games are taking on board the new concept of ‘pay-to-win’, wherein players must spend money, on top of purchasing the base game, to enjoy the complete game. It’s off-putting having to utilise Virtual Currency for simple cosmetic things like getting a new hairstyle.
While NBA 2K18 is a visually stunning game, the reliance on Virtual Currency, which has to be purchased rather than earned, really throws off the fun aspects of the game, especially in multiplayer, where eventually, the challenge is more based on how much you’ve upgraded rather than how well you’ve learnt the game and become more skilled. Hopefully, the reliance of microtransactions will change. Other than that, if you enjoyed the previous games, you’ll enjoy this one too.