NBA 2K17 Throws One Down in Transition
NBA basketball is unlike any other professional sport in existence today. It’s an electrifying experience that includes unexpected emotional peaks, valleys, and bits of excitement along the way. The thrill of a tie game with two minutes left can invoke memories of playing pickup basketball in the park while a big block in transition or an even bigger dunk on the baseline can get you up out of your seat in a heartbeat. The culture itself is unlike anything the world has witnessed from the shoes, to the music, the style of dress and even the way players look on the court is strictly unique to the game of basketball. NBA 2K17 beautifully captures the enticing aura that engulfs the world’s most unique game and presents it all in a tightly polished package.
The most noticeable gameplay improvements from NBA 2K16 to 2K17 are centered on the title’s controls, player movements, and overall flow of the game. Bounce pass, skip pass, and chest pass are all available on the button pad now without having to perform any button combinations. The shooting motion has been slightly tweaked and simplified down to one main bar rather than pinning the meter in between two. The ability to switch from thumb stick to button is also a nice feature for shooting, which gives players the flexibility depending on how they’re feeling and what they’d prefer to use.
The overall feel of the game has been greatly improved, with the biggest piece coming from both the way players react to situations and how they are controlled on the court. Players now move, pivot, sprint, and close out much more like they would in real life as opposed to being wrapped in a mile of cellophane. The AI has been improved quite a bit, as players no longer become hysterically predictable. Let’s see you try the pick and pop twenty times a game like you did last year – 2K17 won’t be having any of that. The movement piece may be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly makes a huge difference from last year’s frustratingly repetitive ice-skating motions and certainly makes the bolstered game modes much more exciting.
NBA 2K17 ’s bread and butter is without a doubt the MyCareer game mode. The second year of this revolutionary story mode is bigger, better, and more interactive. Perhaps the best thing about MyCareer is the small nuances that make becoming an NBA superstar unlike any other popular sports figure. Pick your shoe endorsements with a wide range of performance based incentives, hang out with teammates and fellow NBA players, or work on your craft at your own personal gym, open 24/7. The game also features social media components and text messages from coaches, players, teammates, and folks within your inner circle to provide a unique layer of realism. More cutscenes and interactive elements have been added to the storyline, bringing the NBA experience to life.
The MyCourt experience has been further fleshed out and provides much more depth in terms of customizing your baller’s pad and actually being able to utilize the court. One intriguing aspect includes random strangers showing up at your court to play some old-fashioned pickup ball. The other interesting piece includes your teammates sporadically popping in to play three on three or five on five, which is an entirely new concept for the NBA 2K series. Last year’s court felt severely underutilized unless your friend list was packed with 2K gamers. This year seems to be a different story and should make for some interesting surprises along the way. Just be ready if Carmelo or KD shows up out of nowhere to play one on one.
If the personalized story isn’t your cup of tea, then you’ll certainly want to check out 2K17 ’s vastly improved MyGM mode. If you thought the options were endless in MyCareer, you haven’t even scratched the surface for MyGM. Players can now add a brand new team, or six if you’re feeling dangerous, and customize everything from the arena they play in to the jerseys on their backs. The addition of an expansion draft allows each team to protect up to eight players before the new franchise picks who they want while the new trade machine bends and flexes with the progress of each new week. To top the new game mode off in unique style, 2K has provided the ability to pick the exact date you’d like to start playing with your franchise. In other words, you can decide to jump ahead to the last few weeks of the season or even the midway point if you’d like to shorten your first go around. The choice and flexibility is yours.
Finally, all of 2K17 ’s improvements are surrounded by one of the best presentations a sports simulator has ever seen. I’d particularly like to praise the commentary. Ernie, Shaw, and Kenny “The Jet” are right back where they belong in the pre- and post-game show while a strong cast of announcers fill the booth. The commentary as whole is smooth and doesn’t feel forced like so many sports games do. 2K has taken a balanced approached to this piece which not only enhances the gameplay experience but also finds you coming back for more.
When all is said and done, NBA 2K17 goes above and beyond to provide gamers with the true NBA experience regardless of which avenue you choose. The game is polished from top to bottom and rises to the high expectations 2K16 put in place. The breakdown I’ve provided is only a small fraction of what the game offers. Online gameplay, Team USA basketball with both the 2016 and 1992 Dream Teams, Collegiate team integration, a solid soundtrack, and perhaps more replay value than you’ll know what to do with fill out the package. Bottom line: NBA 2K17 is a must for any fan of the franchise or the game of basketball.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
The graphics look great, but some of the player models look a little strange, especially the anorexic version of Kevin Durant. 4.8 Control
Drastically improved gameplay controls with a completely new look and feel. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A rare positive for the commentary with a fresh set of music tracks makes 2K17 a perfect 5 for sound. 5.0 Play Value
I haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of replay value. This game is massive! 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best
*VARIATIONS ACROSS PLATFORMS AND CONSOLE GENERATIONS MAY OCCUR