2K17 delivers most realistic NBA yet

By Colin Shultz

The excitement is in the air. I start the application, a collage of Paul George dunking and celebrating fills my screen, along with the words “NBA 2K17.” I grin in excitement, only to be absolutely thrilled 10 seconds later, as video game versions of the NBA stars fill my screen, from Andrew Wiggins, to Dwyane Wade, to the king LeBron James emphatically dunking. I am absolutely hyped, but this is just a preview, and I am in no way ready for the amounts of fun awaiting me playing the game.

NBA 2k is a basketball simulation video game based off of today’s NBA, and it has been a leader in the sports video game industry for years. It’s combination of great graphics, realistic play and overall competitiveness are unparalleled, and it´s new installment, 2k17, lives up to the hype of its predecessors.

2k makes big jumps when it comes to overall gameplay in this year’s edition. One of the more impressive things is just the way the ball moves and the players react to it. You actually feel like you are watching an actual basketball game. Players swat, fight and squirm like never before in order to get rebounds, different from years before where it always looked the same when a player got a rebound, and not a lot of competition for it.

The same goes with stealing the ball. If the defender gets his hands on the ball, it moves organically around the court. It feels like players who are known for being ball hawking defenders, actually get true representation of how good they are. Tony Allen actually feels like he has use in this year’s game.

The developers at 2k made an absolute point to make the gameplay and presentation as realistic and genuine as possible, from the giant blimp flying around during game breaks to the halftime stunts of dudes doing flips and free throw line dunks off trampolines. The crowds all seem realistic, and the arenas are more real than ever, I played as the Chicago Bulls and could literally feel like I was at the United Center, it is a fantastic feeling as a basketball fan.

Another factor that made a difference is the people calling the game in the background. Rather than hearing the same comments over and over and the same voices every time you play a game, 2k introduced several different combinations of broadcasters and announcers to make the game feel unique every time you play it. NBA legend Chris Webber, broadcasting legend Doris Burke, the classic Kevin Harlan and others are all possible commentators, and it once again adds to that everyday NBA feel, absolutely fantastic.

While the defense still is stingy and makes it hard for you to blow past with anybody, it feels like the game also made it so stars are like stars again. If the defense steps off just a tiny bit from Stephen Curry, you are going to make them pay, but if someone maybe plays a little too close to a player like Russell Westbrook, he will have a quick trip to the rim in no time.

One of the most popular modes in the game, Mycareer, is back and improved over last year. The characters and voice actors are absolutely great, and there is plenty enjoyment in running and balling out with Michael B Jordan´s character, Justice, who begins to grow on you and develop an emotional friendship with your player.

2k also does a good job with making it a player friendly experience. You actually feel like you have plenty of choices, and that those choices actually matter. At the end of the day, 2K is a game about basketball, and Mycareer is letting the players actually play the game. Unlike last year where you feel like you’re stuck in a jumble of cutscenes, you are allowed to still focus on the game of basketball while being able to enjoy the story as it unfolds, and the story accents the actual gameplay, not the other way around.

When your player isn’t breaking ankles on the basketball court or finding himself in an emotional cutscene, you have the choice to spend your freetime in a number of ways, whether you decide to shoot hoops with your teammates, just chill at your court or work on endorsement deals with your sponsors.

One of my big disappointments in Mycareer this year is the feeling that my player is stuck only with one role. When you create your player, you must pick your position and the type of player you will be. For example, a sharpshooting point guard may be able to shoot the lights out any given night, but will lack skills passing, and won’t be able to improve those passing skills, and a slashing small forward will be fast and able to dunk and posterize anybody, but will be absolute garbage behind the three-point line. My biggest reason I am upset at this addition is that it makes you one-dimensional; you feel like you can’t have your own play style, and you are stuck in a simple mold, and in a mode named “Mycareer,” it seems unfit.

MyGM also is back and returns with several little additions and tweaks, and one of my favorites is expansion teams, allowing you to start an organization from the bottom with a brand new team and work your way to the top, allowing the player to be creative with making the team and also challenge you to work toward the Larry O’Brian trophy.

NBA 2K17 is an absolute work of art. It may not have made huge adjustments with graphics and gameplay over the last model, but that is because the developers didn’t have to. The game makes improvements because of the little things. It adds a certain level of fun and entertainment that I have never felt before in any of the other 2K games. NBA 2k17 is by far the best edition to date, and Mycareer has made changes for the better and absolutely is a blast to play outside of the one-dimensional models. I would recommend the game to anybody who likes sports games or anybody who is just an NBA fan. It is an absolute blast to play.

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