NBA 2K18

Damn the game if it don’t mean nothin’

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

This is one of those rare games, a true head turner, one that will make peo­ple walk­ing through the room do a dou­ble­take, un­sure if what is on the TV is real or a game. Years have passed and our beloved PS4 can pump out some se­ri­ously im­pres­sive vi­su­als, but none come as close to look­ing like real life as 2K’s NBA se­ries does.

This is a phe­nom­e­nally pretty, im­mer­sive game. From the squeaks of sneak­ers to the an­nounc­ers em­u­lat­ing their broad­cast per­for­mances, with un­be­liev­able like­nesses that make you won­der why other sports ti­tles can’t do it this well, and even de­tails like the ref­eree talk­ing to the play­ers when tak­ing a free throw, or sweat on play­ers’ brows and arms, the pre­sen­ta­tion is as­tound­ing, let down only by some lengthy load times.

Luck­ily it plays well, too. Ob­vi­ously erring closer to a sim­u­la­tion than an ar­cade game, you won’t be able to mash the steal but­ton to try to get the ball back be­cause you have to time it in line with what you’re see­ing on-screen. Like­wise, you won’t al­ways be able to sprint through the mid­dle of the court and ex­e­cute NBA Jam-style dunks: this is a more con­tex­tual game, with nu­ance to the move­ment. It’s like the real sport: re­ward­ing, but dif­fi­cult, re­quir­ing ded­i­ca­tion and pa­tience.

Among the stan­dard modes you’d ex­pect from any sports game, MyCa­reer should be the star. It has some of the best voice act­ing in any sports ti­tle, cre­at­ing be­liev­able char­ac­ters, from your scatty best friend to your in-over-his-head agent. The story is fun, and has gen­uine laugh-out-loud mo­ments. You’ll be rated as you play, and this ac­tu­ally teaches you to be a bet­ter baller. If you’re not good at shoot­ing, be a play­maker, spot the pass, and get the ku­dos for that.


Un­for­tu­nately, this mode is marred by de­sign that en­cour­ages mi­cro­trans­ac­tions. Start­ing with an aver­age-rated player (60 OVR), the idea is to grow your stats to be the best there is. The prob­lem is that if you’re not will­ing to use the in-game cur­rency, it will take for­ever. No joke, this is a hor­ri­ble grind that re­moves the fun. The grad­ual creep to­wards this di­rec­tion for the fran­chise over the last few years feels like it’s come to a head here, with the cam­paign progress be­ing af­fected by the pub­lisher’s de­sire to make more money from the player. Slot­ting mul­ti­ple up­grade points into your 60-rated player won’t even raise him to 61: that’s the level of grind we’re talk­ing.

Modes aplenty, cus­tomi­sa­tion up the wa­zoo, and bril­liant ac­tion: NBA 2K18 has it all in spades. It’s a shame that the “art” part of the this game has been so neg­a­tively af­fected by the “busi­ness” part, be­cause while we still heartily rec­om­mend it for the on-the­court ac­tion, it’s hard to give un­re­served props to a game that is so shame­less about try­ing to nickel and dime you.


A beau­ti­ful, ex­cit­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sport. You’d be hard pushed to find a bet­ter, more ac­cu­rate sim­u­la­tion of bas­ket­ball on a modern con­sole. Adam Cook




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