NBA 2K – very well-known to sports video game fans as the pinnacle of realistic virtual basketball – has proudly released its 19th installment of their beloved franchise. It’s after all the best sports title people constantly buy annually, and NBA 2K firmly bullheads its way to get better and better. NBA 2K18, hyped by real NBA players prior to its release, might have something more to bring than just putting the ball into the hoop.
ALL-TIME TEAMS AND CLASSIC TEAMS
The newest additions to NBA 2K18 are the All-Time Teams and new 17 Classic Teams. For those old and nostalgic fans who fantasize of simulating a clash of teams during their peak, these are the modes you would spend day in and night out, you might even file for a leave or cut classes due to the massive number of teams you can play with.
The 17 Classic Teams included in the game are:
1.’96-’97 Miami Heat
2.’98-‘99 New York Knicks
3.’01-’02 Sacramento Kings
4.’01-’02 New Jersey Nets
5.’03-’04 Los Angeles Lakers
6.’04-’05 San Antonio Spurs
7.’05-’06 Memphis Grizzlies
8.’06-’07 Golden State Warriors
9.’07-’08 Denver Nuggets
10.’07-’08 New Orleans Hornets
11.’10-’11 Chicago Bulls
12.’10-’11 Dallas Mavericks
13.’11-’12 New York Knicks
14.’11-’12 Oklahoma City Thunder
15.’12-’13 Memphis Grizzlies
16.’13-’14 Indiana Pacers
17.’15-’16 Golden State Warriors
We now have 62 Classic Teams (45 previously featured, all-new 17). Keep that in mind, NBA 2K fans.
With the All-Time Teams, this is purely self-explanatory. You have the right to play each of the 30 teams with their greatest players. However, due to licensing issues, NBA 2K wasn’t able to get the likeness of the following notable players: Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Rasheed Wallace, Moses Malone, Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince, and the Mr. Bean of the Hardwood Bobby Jones.
With the game already granting a superb job of mimicking the laws of real basketball in the previous installment, NBA 2K18 has even produced a better gameplay system. Thanks to the engineers, a.k.a. developers, of Visual Concepts, the game’s mechanics feels way better than NBA 2K17, since it is thoroughly overhauled to bolster the overall feel of the game.
The basic objective of the game is to put the basketball into the ring, and it’s a glorious thing to behold in NBA 2K18. Details are meticulously applied from the stature of players’ shooting form to the motion of the players’ fingertips after releasing the ball. Be it a contested jump shot, contact dunks or wide-open layups, it’s the most lifelike experience you can get to seeing an NBA player manipulate the ball.
Speaking of shooting, the shot meter returns to the game but with a minor twist. The stick appears on the players’ right side instead on their feet. However, due to my experience, the key to making the shot is to focus on the apex of the player’s shot release instead of the shot meter. Various hearsays reveal that the shot meter ruins the feel of shooting, but it’s really the knack of understanding each player’s shot release. Oh, and layups are also up with the shot meter, which, in all honesty, is very realistic.
The frustrating animations that give players unwanted fouls when you don’t even press a single button are now out of the game. Although from time to time, players are still subjected to committing fouls if they are trapped in a non-strategic position.
Ball handling is now vastly improved. As an NBA 2K veteran, dribbling the ball now feels very fluid giving you branch-able combinations to blow past lockdown defenders. Playing the likes of Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, and Jamal Crawford gives you an ocean of options on how to dribble the rock and get it to fall.
Undeniably, no other basketball series can top what NBA 2K has been doing for the past 19 years in terms of giving quality image and likeness of NBA players. But I do believe NBA 2K18 falters in the graphics category, just a tier down compared to the previous installment.
The players still look like their real-life counterparts. However, noticeable grainy appearances are apparent on the players’ face and body. Michael Jordan now looks a lot like the real Michael Jordan; Larry Bird looks like a plain hillbilly who grew up in a barn and got randomly chosen by a passing NBA talent scout; Russell Westbrook still hasn’t gotten a face revamp; And the classic Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain looks like a huge circus guy lifting wagons in the 1920’s; while the rest of the players are fair-looking.