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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Every NBA 2k 17 Review


NBA 2K17 succeeds by touching a spot on the backboard most other sports games can’t jump up and reach. Even when it feels too grindy or misses a step, it provides diverse options and singular moments of basketball gameplay bliss that are hard to top.
The NBA 2K series as a whole works for me because it excites me as an NBA super fan. It’s a game that celebrates the athletes, taps into the excitement of a big-time dunk, and allows me to customize who I want to be on the court. Sometimes I get flustered by a floaty pass or thrown off by a player like Kevin Durant or Andrew Wiggins looking far too skinny, but then I’ll hit a deep three with Steph Curry that makes the fans at Oracle Arena go ballistic and I’m all-in again.

It’s all about options and NBA 2K17 provides plenty of them.
The same concept applies to just about every facet of NBA 2K17. I’m not in love with the grind of MyCareer mode, but the amount of options at my disposal in MyGM means I don’t care if I spend one more minute in MyCareer. On the court, some smart new tweaks let you get an extra boost to the accuracy of your jump shots by pulling straight down on the right stick, but you can also just press the “shoot” button if that doesn’t feel comfortable. In addition, you can now use the right stick to go for more varied steal attempts, or you can just continue to press the steal button. Again, it’s all about options and NBA 2K17 provides plenty of them.

Killer Crossovers

Allen Iverson’s recent induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame feels all too perfect, as NBA 2K17’s focus on chaining together crossovers and spins seems like an homage to the signature style of its former longtime cover athlete. In previous NBA 2K games I often felt stuck in animations and not in control at all times, but now it’s much easier to string together dribbling maneuvers and put together a sequence that can leave defenders behind. This same type of flow carries over to shooting, where for the first time it feels like I have an ability to pull up off the dribble and really play in the space between the three-point line and the paint.
This idea of pace and space is all-important in an NBA video game. The added area creates more unique opportunities to score, and that leads to things like more creative passing, more fouls, and more scrambling on defense. The loopy passing that crops up here and there is especially frustrating because it interrupts some chances to really zip the ball around the perimeter to the open man for an open jump shot. The same can be said for some AI players still not quite running the right lanes during a fast break.

Shooters like J.J. Redick and Damian Lillard feel especially terrifying this season.
On some level, though, the passing not always being pinpoint-accurate does perhaps save the defense. Shooters like J.J. Redick and Damian Lillard feel especially terrifying this season, and the AI is even smart enough to step back and make sure to get both feet behind the line for a three-pointer rather than a long two-point shot. On top of that, now that rebounds can be tipped out rather than just corralled, I’ve even seen instances where DeAndre Jordan tips a rebound back towards an open J.J. Redick for a wide-open three ball.
I also need to mention that the shooting mechanics have been tweaked so all “green” or perfect releases lead to made baskets. In the past, “green” didn’t always mean the shot would be successful, which could be confusing as there was no clear reason why getting a perfect release mattered. So thank you for clearing that up, 2K.
Having this level of control all over the court is great, except when that control then vanishes. I can’t control how much heat to put on a pass; I can’t control how long it takes players at times to get in position to start a play; and I can’t control moments where I’m pushed 10 feet away from the ball handler on defense just because some random big man pushed me backwards under the rim. When things like that happen there’s no recourse, so the outcomes can sometimes feel unfair.

The commentary remains the best and most varied in the sports genre.
All of the action on the court is highlighted by commentary that remains the best and most varied in the sports genre. David Aldridge is now roaming the sidelines, and Greg Anthony and Kevin Harlan are joined by a rotating crew of new announcers, such as Chris Webber, Clark Kellogg, Doris Burke, Brent Barry, and Steve Smith. However, having this amount of variety doesn’t come without some flaws. Chris Webber sounds like he’s eating his microphone at times, and Steve Smith is sort of boring. But Doris Burke and Brent Barry really shine.
The audio also falters a bit when it comes to the in-arena experience. There was a big focus on making each arena sound unique this season, but adding some unique sounds doesn’t cure everything. The rims sound different in the arenas, as well as the buzzers, but the ambiance is still off overall. To point to one example, it’d be that the crowds simply don’t sound excited enough or angry enough depending on the moment.

Micro Management 2K17

MyCareer is mostly carefree and non-linear this year, which is a positive coming off Spike Lee’s handcuffing story mode in NBA 2K16. However, when the focus isn’t on the basketball, that’s when MyCareer still loses me. MyCareer is, as always, built on grinding out points you can put towards leveling up your player. The problem is, going to “mandatory” practices and sponsorship events is mundane – and not being able to skip through cutscenes only adds another level to the grind. If I could just play the games and focus on getting closer with my teammates on the court, I would care a lot more about sticking with it.
And I say that because the same love I have for the normal gameplay also goes for MyCareer. My AI teammates have been much more useful this year than in the past, and it feels great when you get on the same page as your main friend and teammate in the story, Justice Young, who is played well by Michael B. Jordan.
Moving beyond MyCareer, I go full basketball nerd when it comes to MyGM because the options really are close to limitless here. You can now expand the NBA to 36 teams if you want, and this comes with all the perks of building an arena and naming your team. The mode goes so much further than that as well by providing draft pick protections, a detailed way to handle your substitution patterns, and incorporating a multitude of highly specific details that are appreciated by my inner general manager.
The trade engine in place is mostly solid as well. Some players like Rudy Gobert are not quite valued as they should be, but most other big names like LeBron James or top-flight rookies like Ben Simmons come with high price tags. When starting your MyGM you don’t even have to start from the present day. You have the option to go back to before this year’s draft and decide to pass on Ben Simmons and select Brandon Ingram or even Dragan Bender as the top pick in the draft. When the real NBA season begins you will also be able to start your MyGM mode at the current date. This means if the Hawks get off to a 10-0 start you will be able to select the Hawks and begin your MyGM mode with a 10-0 record. In short, it’s really to a point now where you can customize MyGM mode to a dizzying degree.
...And seriously, it’s amazing the option to “pick swap” is something that’s included in a NBA video game in 2016 – thanks, Nets and Celtics.
Finally, the online portion of NBA 2K17 has been stable so far. MyPark suffers from a bit of input lag here and there, and the MyTeam auction house can be a bit slow at peak hours, but in comparison to previous NBA 2K games where entire modes were broken for days or weeks after release, this has been a very successful launch. Furthermore, while there is no big new online feature, MyLeague has been expanded upon to feature something that more closely resembles (but can't quite match) the online franchise modes in games like MLB The Show and Madden NFL.
The Verdict
NBA 2K17 is another rock-solid game in the franchise. It features worthwhile updates to the dribbling and shooting mechanics, and backs up those improvements off the court in ways that make me care about managing my team. All in all, I know NBA 2K17 will be in my gaming rotation for many months to come.
In NBA 2K17 the focus is on chaining moves and customization, and it pays off.

NBA 2K17 Review: This is the best franchise mode in sports video games


My favorite thing to do in any sports video game is build teams. Throw me a franchise mode in which I can shape a roster, trade for extra draft picks, and try to find the gems of each new class of youngsters coming into the league, and I'll be unavailable for hours and wondering where the day went in no time. When you end up with that drafted superstar anchoring your team, you feel like your Sam Hinkie ways of acquiring more draft picks were all worth it.
With the NBA 2K MyGM modes of the past, you've had a pretty robust franchise mode, but it has ultimately been quite repetitive. You get into a rhythm with going season to season, and once the familiar names have retired, it loses a bit of the luster. It's still a lot of fun building teams, going through free agency, and making multi-team trades to shake things up, but the repetition can leave you exiting out of the mode and firing it up with a new team because there isn't enough versatility going deep into the decades.
In NBA 2K17, 2K Sports has eliminated the monotony that can permeate into MyGM or any sports franchise mode. The league is ever-changing, the options seem endless, and no two trips through MyGM mode will be the same. The way they've accomplished this is by adding two very important elements to this mode. Let's go over those two additions in detail and then go over other things that have been upgraded or need improving moving forward:
(Note: There is also a MyLeague mode that is just like MyGM except you can control anywhere from 1-to-all NBA teams and veto decisions that happen. More on that in a bit.)
Kyrie Irving 2K17
NBA 2K17 Kyrie Irving 2K Sports

1. Expansion

In the words of Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, "you know what is better than 30 NBA teams? Anywhere from 31-36 NBA teams." The process of overhauling the scheduling aspect of MyGM mode to allow the addition of anywhere between 1-6 teams while still having a balanced schedule, a lottery process that adjusts and doesn't skip a beat, and the proper coding in the playoffs is astonishing. But the 2K developers figured it out in order to bring about expansion to the Virtual NBA.
When you begin MyGM mode, you can either take over an existing NBA team and meet the goals and wishes of an owner tailored to the real life counterpart without using names and likeness or you can choose to create an expansion team to bring into the NBA. They have inserted 10 preset teams with name, city, uniforms, and court design already figured out for you so you can jump right into roster construction. Or building off the implementation of franchise relocation in 2K16, you can create all of the aesthetics yourself.
For me, the first time I jumped into MyGM mode I decided to save myself the time and just go with the preset team. The San Diego Surf were added to the Western Conference and the New Orleans Pelicans were shifted to the East. The league will realign as needed depending on which city you add to the association. That takes you right into a real life expansion draft like the NBA would hold if creating a new franchise to put in Seattle or St. Louis or Louisville or wherever.
In the expansion draft, every team protects eight players from their roster. You can only pick from the unprotected players and take one player from each team. Once a team has a player selected, their players are removed from the pool. This isn't much of an issue when just adding one team and controlling their expansion, but add multiple teams and that becomes a thin process.
San Diego Surf 2K17
San Diego Surf are the latest addition to the NBA. 2K Sports
For the Surf, Michael Beasley was the No. 1 pick of the expansion draft and then they swooped up Allen Crabbe and his new contract when Portland left him unprotected. The Surf went very young with their selection of players because they were under mandate from the owner to have an average expansion draft class of 25 years old.
Eventually, more goals from owners come to your attention. I was tasked with hiring a smart defensive coach and a smart offensive assistant coach within the next three years. I was supposed to keep the team profitable for three seasons at one point. After a couple of seasons of adding players in free agency and trading away two young prospects with three first-round picks in order to pry away the No.1 pick in a loaded 2019 draft, I was given three years to win a title. Come through on the goals and you receive the trust of your owner and more money to allocate for staff salaries, player salaries, promotions, and more.
Fail to meet your goals and not only do you lose money toward bolstering your budget, but you also lose the trust of your owner. Lose too much trust and you're fired. Some expansion owners want to win right away. Some expansion owners want to build slowly. But the fact that you can add new teams to shake up the league means a seemingly infinite number of experiences. You don't just have one time to add expansion teams either; the league can vote later on in your MyGM or MyLeague modes whether or not to expand.
That's where we get to the Rules Committee and League Meetings.
(And yes, Michael Beasley did win a title in San Diego eventually.)

2. Rules Committee/League Meetings

New to this year's NBA 2K installment is the ever-changing Rules Committee/League Meetings feature. Every offseason, your league will vote on five possible rule changes. They can span from adding an expansion team to contracting a franchise to changing goal tending/basket interference rules. In some instances they can even get more extreme with getting rid of backcourt violations, taking free throws out of the game entirely, and even abolishing the trade deadline.
The more extreme the option, the less likely it is to pass. You need 75 percent of the owners to agree to pass these rules in order for them to happen. Every offseason, your owner will present all five potential rule changes to you and you give your input on whether you agree with the rule change, don't agree, or ultimately just don't care.
For the San Diego Surf, things got tricky with roster construction because of a rule change. After getting a huge win in free agency by signing Kawhi Leonard a few years in, there were eventually trade rumors about the team adding another small forward. The stoic Defensive Player of the Year didn't like this idea and I had to promise to not add a small forward before the next trade deadline. But some poor timing interfered with this promise when the league next voted to abolish the trade deadline. This meant you could trade any time not in the postseason.
So I had an outstanding debt to Leonard in which I could never add a small forward because the next trade deadline never came and passed. This meant adding tall shooting guards to fill out the wings or risk adding a SF and Leonard deciding he wouldn't re-sign in the future.
League Meetings 2K17
How will the League Meetings affect your NBA future? 2K Sports
There are little touches and situations like this that can pop up whenever. Some of the more fun ones were when the league voted to turn overtime periods into sudden death or the lottery ended up being for the first five picks instead of first three. But because you never know what will and won't pass from year-to-year, this makes your league and its construction (all of these rules get tied into the CBA and upcoming TV deal -- both every 6-10 years) a fluid concept and something ends up navigating differently every time around.
For those not thrilled with these ideas, you can play MyLeague instead of MyGM where you can veto any changes that happen, but for the most part, I highly recommend the chaos of it all in MyGM.

Things that have been upgraded

Summer Trading: A problem with the trade coding in the past was them not knowing how to get around open roster spots for a team that had a bunch of free agents that summer. That meant that you had a small window around the draft to clear cap space if you were going after a free agent later that offseason. If you had a chance at signing Kyrie Irving but fell $5 million short in cap space, you couldn't move a player in a trade during free agency to create the room. It was a frustrating byproduct of everything else from the CBA they tried to implement.
That has changed completely with them figuring out the trade logic for these situations. Three days into free agency and Al Horford is still available but you're short by $3 million? Trade away someone for a second-round pick and create that space. It's something you've wanted for years and they finally figured out how to make it happen.
Trading Draft Picks: Speaking of trading draft picks, it's now much more robust than it had been in the past. You can put pick protections on any of your picks and the computer will do it often. It's difficult to grab an unprotected first-rounder but you can find Top 3, 5, 10, or lottery protected picks in deals. You can also swap firsts or seconds, so be sure to present that to Virtual Vlade Divac before someone can advise him against it.
Jersey Retirement: It's just a little touch but the great players for franchises will end up with their jerseys retired following the end of their career. Dirk Nowitzki's No. 41 was no longer an option in Dallas. Dwight Howard was honored by Virtual Alex Martins in Orlando with the Magic retiring his No. 12. Just adds a bit more detail and celebration to the offseason.
Start Now: Start Now is a feature that will matter much more in the real regular season. By using this feature in MyGM or MyLeague, starting "now" will mean if things are going really well in real life for the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 16, you can choose to begin your league with the ratings, stats, and records of the NBA on that date and play out the rest of the season. Adds more depth to how the league can shake out.
Start Now 2K17
You get to pick when your franchise begins. 2K Sports
Start in Offseason: When you begin your MyGM/MyLeague mode, you can either begin with the 2016-17 regular season or you can root for chaos and begin in the summer of 2016. That means the draft lottery is redone. The draft is redone. Free agency is redone. First time I did this, the New Orleans Pelicans won the lottery and ended up with the top pick. When we went into the draft, they inexplicably took Jamal Murray with the top pick and let Ben Simmons go No. 2 to the Philadelphia 76ers. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, "Life finds a way."
When we jumped into free agency for that summer, LeBron James decided his one title in Cleveland was enough and signed with the Boston Celtics. Al Horford went to the Houston Rockets. Kevin Durant stayed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They could make a Sliding Doors sequel just on these events right here.
It's a very fun way to throw the league into utter disarray if you don't want to go with the preset of starting now like the rest of the NBA in real life.
Staff Hiring: Small touches but you no longer have set amounts and escalations you can offer coaches, CFO's, scouts, and trainers during the staff hiring process. You can customize, overpay (how do you think I convinced Steve Kerr to coach the Surf to their first title?), and offer up any year and salary commitment now.
Rotations: New to this year is not only can you set your minutes allocations for your roster in games, but you can also go one step deeper and create actual rotations and lineups. This is assuredly inspired by the Golden State Warriors and the "Death Lineup," but it's a cool touch if you're creating a certain type of roster construction and you don't want to be limited to positional traditions. If from 12 minutes in the second quarter to the 3-minute mark you want to play every small forward on your roster (assuming Kawhi lets you add one) then you can do just that.

Things that still fall a bit short

Team training: There may be plenty of people who get something out of setting the training schedule and difficulty of the training in their MyGM modes, but I'm not one of them. It's become a tedious annoyance for me when going through a franchise's future with players complaining that the training is both too hard and too easy. It's supposed to affect wear-and-tear along with injuries, but it's not something I pay attention to unless a player is complaining about it or the trainer is offering up switching things moving forward.
It would be nice to be able to opt out of the training aspect altogether or have it be more meaningful. I can't tell you how many times Boris Diaw has said we're training too hard and then I lower it and then he complains that I broke a promise by not lowering the intensity. And it's not just Boris complaining. This game is realistic but not that realistic.
Injuries: Last year, it felt like you were dealing with minor injuries left and right, and it could really affect the rhythm of going through franchise mode. You can always opt for having the coach handle these minutes and playing decisions, but that can also risk screwing up the minutes and lineup allocations you've already set for the team. You can't have too much realism when it comes to injuries because that would make the game too tedious, and 2K Sports recognizes that and lessens the injury burden.
However, they're still struggling a bit from time to time with the little consequences of minor injuries and how much that can affect your minutes allocation. It's improved but still has a little work to go in that respect. Something that is sadistically more fun is I've experienced more long-term injuries in a few days with the game than the previous year with 2K16.
Minor blips in trade logic still: I think the trade logic and free agency signings are much better this time around than some of the randomness in the past. A rebuilding team isn't going to just give you a first-round pick and the contending teams will still put pick protection on it. But you still get the occasional situation in which you're shocked how little was exchanged for acquiring someone like Derrick Favors.
Overall, this is the best franchise mode in sports video games. Better than Madden, which experienced a good facelift this year but still has some of the same problems of the past. It's more versatile than MLB: Road to the Show, which had been the best one in years. Full disclosure, I don't know FIFA well enough to know if the franchise mode is realistic, but that's mostly because the transfer window confounds me.
With NBA 2K17, repetition is gone. Versatility is saturating each experience. And it's the perfect way to wonder where the weekend has gone.

By Matt Paprocki 
Somehow, NBA 2K17 continues to preserve the series’ creative gameplay ideas and expressive personality almost two decades in. Sweeping updates and additions are almost unnecessary at this stage. 2K’s lone basketball competition, EA’s NBA Live, is caught in a development delay on consoles, possibly until the NBA’s All-Star break. Yet, the tempting future presented by NBA 2K17shows an annualized sports product unwilling to slow down. It’s unusual to see the slate of growing options and modes challenge the expectations that come with sports games. Even when those aspects falter — and they do in terms of storytelling — the groundwork lays out an interesting future.
For the second year in a row, NBA 2K’s MyCareer mode is where the majority of updates happen. This makes sense — according to stats in the first episode of 2KTV, a weekly video broadcast blending NBA and 2K news, MyCareer now boasts the highest number of players in the franchise.
NBA 2K17 - MyCareer screenshots
NBA 2K16’s MyCareer story came from Spike Lee, a narrowly woven urban poverty tale about player avatar Frequency Vibrations. NBA 2K17, meanwhile, taps Creedscribe Aaron Covington (along with Creed star Michael B. Jordan) to tell a new story.
Your custom-made high school standout, automatically coined "President" or "Pres" for short, serves as NBA 2K17’s MyCareer star player. Narrative themes of hard work and success have a literal imprint. Engaging with practice sessions builds a meter titled "Doin’ the Work." Pres earns a boost to attributes within a handful of sittings.
Those who downloaded 2K’s The Prelude earlier this month played 2K17’s initial MyCareer chapter. From the selection to play for one of 10 college teams and a stint on on the modern USA Basketball squad, pacing keeps the fiction in focus. Post-Prelude, it’s a grind of assigned practices, event appearances and game days.
The few stray story bits act as a reprieve from repetition. Jordan’s impact as Pres’ teammate Justice Young warrants an enthusiastic video introduction. Later in the season, players have the option to control Justice on the court with the purpose of building tighter camaraderie, a departure for the usually solitary game mode. Young’s brief appearances elsewhere mark him as a superfluous addition to the narrative otherwise.
nba 2k17 review screen 3
As things go with sports games, MyCareer addresses problems from one year ago: on-court performance dictates changes in dialogue. Criticism for those struggling with 10 points per game makes sense, in opposition to Spike Lee’s possible success story of a third-string bench rider.
A focus on MyCareer also makes sense because so much of it fits into the rest of NBA 2K17. Features bleed into other features, with ridiculously diverse gameplay choices. Pres can step away from NBA tedium for MyPark, pickup-style street basketball that takes place in oddball locations like a steel mill, adding color to the proceedings. You can form teams or dabble in random games, and automatic matchmaking eliminates the need to wait around as in previous games, with the bonus of mercifully pairing players by skill level.
Pres also features into the online 2K Pro-Am, the league-within-a-league carrying individual team owners, free agency markets and customizable squads. Those looking to practice before entering free agency can jump into quick five-on-five matchups. Pro-Am holds the odd distinction of being labeled an esport by 2K. It’s weird but effective in concept, if hampered by menu crashes and NBA 2K’s notoriously fidgety online connectivity. During my review sessions, two games were lost partway through, and a handful never started.
nba 2k17 tall screen 2
As great as MyPark and Pro-Am are in theory, both modes’ leaderboards are too full of players that appear to have paid their way upward. Regardless of where MyCareer gameplay happens, the slog of leveling eases with NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency, which can be bought in amounts that range from $2 to $100. While gameplay skill factors in, high player ratings carry obvious and substantial impact, with less urgency to improve for higher VC payouts. Never mind how this comes at odds with the hard work and success theme of Aaron Covington’s story.
The fantasy-driven MyTeam, with its improved and faster user interface, features additional dollars-for-content offerings, mirroring EA’s Ultimate Team. Open digital packs of cards, build a team, complete challenges or play your unlocked squad online. The formula is familiar, with a handful of tweaks to card behavior like Dynamic Duos. With Duos in play, cards signifying chemistry earn significant categorical stat boosts when played on the floor together, altering how lineups are assembled. It’s a different level of strategy rather than merely picking squads with high ratings.
Digging into MyGM franchise or season play brings more touch-up. As a GM, league meetings allow for relocation and the introduction of custom expansion teams, optionally bringing the NBA to 36 teams max. Retiring jersey numbers is now possible too. These pile onto a mode already numerous menus in depth, all needed and readily accessible from the sharp UI design. Conversations with players alter team attributes (better or worse), and the fan base changes their loyalty based on concession/memorabilia prices, with added battles of player scouting and contract negotiations.
Where MyCareer and the modes it touches have seen the biggest updates, on the court, NBA 2K17’s basketball sim has received a nuanced update. There’s a wealth of bullet-point improvements, like new animations and physics — fine-tuning that might go unnoticed unless you revert to prior NBA 2K games.
NBA 2K17 - MyCareer screenshots
The odd proclamation "this is not a game" adorns the box art, marketing that’s a touch self-indulgent, although play sessions do carry competitive theater and pleasing crowd reactions. In tense moments, home fans visibly stomp to "D-fense" chants. In garbage time, they sing along with the PA system. This brings an unusual, even unequaled, level of energy to elements surrounding the game itself. When paired with a commentary booth rotating in prior players like Brent Barry and Chris Webber as analysts, broadcast accuracy continues to earn best-in-class credibility. Specialized touches include stunt shows at halftime and a remarkable number of dialogue instances — player and coach interviews happen before, during and after games.
While it’s easy to dismiss the actual game development for being in a comfortable resting pattern, minor changes slowly evolve the series. Otherwise, 2K’s game would only be a more technically decorated version of the series’ undervalued progenitor, NBA Action ’98. Progress is understated on the court itself, but 2K17’s massive selection of growing features and choice creates an entire basketball platform continuing to sit upon the bones of a premier simulation.


NBA 2K17’s story falls apart in the end, despite the Hollywood talents, but luckily, created players still have plenty to do with their custom creation, both online and off. With 2K Pro-Am providing an intriguing look at 2K’s esports future, and despite the presence of microtransactions, the basis is there for something long term. Taken as a whole, NBA 2K17 is a worthy if subtle upgrade to an already extensive, even exhaustive, sports sim.
NBA 2K17 was reviewed using a "retail" PlayStation 4 download code provided by 2K Games on retail servers. This review will remain provisional until such time as Polygon staff can ascertain its launch state. You can find additional information about Polygon's ethics policy here.
About Polygon's Reviews

8.0Xbox One

Gameplay is just incredibly good, MyGM is the best you'll find, presentation the best in sports gaming as it stands right now.
MyCAREER is a total drain and is way too connected to the rest of the experience, a few wonky A.I. moments.
Bottom Line
All in all a must-own for any basketball fan. NBA 2K17 offers a near complete package of basketball goodness to enjoy.

out of 10

NBA 2K17 Review (PS4)

For the past several years, all other sports games have been judged by NBA 2K's standards. It is no surprise NBA 2K is the reigning multiple time Sports Game of the Year Award winner here at Operation Sports as well.

Simply put, NBA 2K has been a bit of a big deal around these parts for a few years.

Enter NBA 2K17. This year's game features important tweaks to the gameplay, a new MyCareer experience, new additions to MyGM, and a whole host of other new features that all add up to a compelling package oozing basketball authenticity.

There's a lot to love about NBA 2K17 -- but the game is still not quite perfect, with a few notable issues continuing to hold the experience back.


The gameplay in NBA 2K17 continues to be the series' strong suit. No matter if you are playing on the blacktop in a one-on-one game or in an arena with 18,000 fans in a NBA Finals game, NBA 2K17 gets basketball right.

When it comes to floor spacing, both your teammates and opponents will do a reasonable job spacing the floor. There will be possessions players stack on top of one another, but it is not wholly unrealistic that it happens sometimes and not all the time.

Dribbling and passing, two of the bedrocks of the game, have gotten changes to varying degrees of success.

When it comes to dribbling, you can now chain together moves and not get stuck in animations as frequently as you did in the past. Take note that you will almost certainly get stuck in a few animations still -- as I did to lose a game at the buzzer not long after picking 2K17 up.
One of my main beefs with the gameplay, but also one of its potential core strengths, is how in-depth the control scheme is. NBA 2K17 is not unlike a fighting game in the amount of button combos that exist to do different things. For more skilled players on the sticks, this is a godsend and allows for the ability to control players with a level of depth that is mind boggling.

For the rest of the audience (most of them), it makes the game daunting and, dare I say it, unapproachable for beginners. NBA 2K17 tries to hold your hand a bit with the controls, but I can't help but feel a more fully fleshed out intermediate area would be a good thing to look at for future games.

Passing is better handled this year. The better passers seem to be easier to identify while you play the game, and the ability to control a bounce pass vs. skip pass vs. regular pass is obviously a welcome layer of control that's been refined once again. There are plenty of options and visual cues to help you along, though the passing system still suffers from some weird moments such as the skip pass being incredibly risky with little reward.

Shooting similarly has gotten some tweaks. If you shoot and the shot meter is green, that means you make the shot unlike in previous years (minus patches late in the year that ended up tweaking this to make it true). This is helpful and much less confusing than having feedback that's hard to follow.
AI teammates tend to do a good job of moving around the court and doing basketball things they should be doing. It is hard to judge NBA 2K17 on some levels here because for a game to be realistic your AI teammates need to be doing some dumb things at times, especially the lower-rated players, as well as doing a lot of really smart things.

Rebounding and ball physics are also more of a thing. Tipped balls, balls careening away from a pack of players gathered under the rim, and so on are more common and result in new and interesting possibilities on the court. That bit of randomness helps the game feel more lifelike.

Overall there are quibbles you can throw out with the AI, like excessive and poorly planned double teams if a player gets hot, or players not filling lanes on a fast break properly, but the AI is a net positive.

In the end, I can't help but come away from the gameplay with the feeling NBA 2K17 has done a whole lot right and very little wrong.

NBA 2K17 has an impressive variety of modes, from MyGM to Season to MyCareer to MyTeam to even a Playoffs mode. There's an experience here for everyone to enjoy, though some modes do a better job than others.

MyCareer is probably the weakest mode of the bunch. On one hand, the continued use of narrative in a sports game story mode is still something other games haven't taken full advantage of to this point.

On the other hand, MyCareer seems like a mode that's completely insecure with itself. You are forced to watch lengthy cutscenes, whether you like it or not, with no real end direction clearly apparent at the beginning. Worse yet, the mode mires you in tedium at many turns.

Why you have to spam buttons to get quick replies via texts is something I won't ever understand. Ditto for being forced to go to practice versus simulating through the more tedious aspects of the mode.

In reality, MyCareer is a mode at odds with the rest of the game. The rest of NBA 2K17 gives you a plethora of options to customize and enjoy your experience while MyCareer is a mode that forces you down a narrow path, whether you like it or not. On top of that, since you "have to" play this mode to get badges and get some of the needed perks to survive if you want to play the online aspects of this mode, it means you're stuck playing it.

MyGM on the other hand, is the best sports gaming franchise mode experience you are going to find. From managing owner, press, and player expectations to managing your roster to the new expansion and rule change possibilities, MyGM offers a true NBA experience in every way.

Managing your roster and keeping players happy with their roles while simultaneously not making your other players (or owner) mad at you is a challenge that isn't unlike what a real GM has to go through. The ability to quickly zoom through games via SimCast is still there and the "kitchen sink" option of normalizing your played stats to real-to-life 12-minute quarter stats should be a standard in all of sports gaming.

When it comes to options, MyGM just gives you so many, puts you in a world that feels alive, and then gives you more options. MyGM is a real achievement.
Other Modes

There are a variety of other modes included in the game that deserve mention. From the ability to jump into the real NBA season and play it out this year to being able to set up a multiple-year association with a completely customized experience to the ability to just play through the playoffs if you so desire.

MyTeam is also back with important changes. While the online modes are still hit or miss to an extent (as is typical with a 2K game at launch), the things I've been experimenting with in MyTeam have shown there is a good variety of ways to play and improve your team.

We'll have a lot more on MyTeam and the rest of the online experience in NBA 2K in future articles.

2K promised more varied body types this year as one of the core visual improvements in this year's game. While some players definitely look better than they did, the game does have a bit longer to go before players look varied and unique.

With that said, the rest of the package is excellent. From graphical overlays to the best-in-class commentary to the studio show, NBA 2K17 does just about everything well when it comes to presentation.

There was a lot of work put into making each arena feel and sound different as well. I'm not sure the game quite reached that goal, but NBA 2K has the right idea at the very least with each arena now beginning to feel different. Now they just have to work on getting the crowds to sound better overall and actually double down on making arenas feel unique.
Final Thoughts

NBA 2K17 does way more right than it does wrong. The gameplay is smooth, the presentation package is top-notch, and the modes are (mostly) the best of their kind in sports gaming.

There are some notable negatives to the game this year. First, MyCareer is a real weak point to me. The gameplay is great but not perfect as you will run into some weird moments on the court. You'll also probably find yourself frustrated if you are a newer gamer who isn't prepared to deal with the game's daunting control scheme.

Those quibbles aside, NBA 2K17 offers one of the most complete experiences in sports gaming. The gameplay is top notch, you have different and high-quality modes to experience that gameplay in, and the presentation package just screams NBA basketball.

It has become easy to say, but NBA 2K17 is an early favorite for sports game of the year and is a must buy for basketball fans of all types.

Score: 9.0 (All-Time Classic)

One of the very best looking and playing sports games on the market today, NBA 2K17 continues to take from the "Free to Play" handbook in some of its best modes. Funnelling players towards microtransactions at every opportunity take away some of the fun, but not all.

The NBA 2K series has had a stranglehold on the video game basketball market for years, delivering a level of quality that noone has rivaled in nearly two decades — NBA 2K releases year-in and year-out as the only viable option for hardcore hoops fans.  It’s not hard to see why in the end product.  Few corners are cut, the game delivers impressive visuals and presentation, best-in-class gameplay, and there are plenty of modes to sink your teeth into as well.  NBA 2K17 delivers another impressive sports package for the basketball enthusiast.  In fact, little has changed from last year’s game and last year’s game was a very good one baring a throwaway mode in Spike Lee’s ‘Livin Da Dream’ single player story.
We’re kind of in a sweet spot with a lot of sports games at this point in the console generation.  The games are incredibly polished at this point, but very little is changing from year to year.  NBA 2K17, much like Madden 17 when released earlier this year, is a refinement to last year’s product with only a handful of things you can look at as big changes for the series.   A new focus on defense is the biggest gameplay change you can put your finger on.  Player animations have been steadily improving over the last few years, and the level of nuance that distinguishes them has never been more noticeable than in this year’s game.  On the court NBA 2K17 is best in class. If you’re just looking for straight-up hoops action, you can look no further.  It’s when you start to look at everything that surrounds this game, the many modes that focus on microtransactions and virtual currency, is when you start to see business decisions that are starting to take away from the fun of the game.
For fans of the series, NBA 2K17 builds on the robust base of last year’s game.  New gameplay additions are indeed numerous.  Timing mechanisms have been included for all shots in the game.  This includes jump shots, lay-ups, post moves, and more.  The goal here is that there is some sort of skill required for any shot that you take, and as players get better, or more familiar with each player in the game, their skill set can improve.  Learning the nuance of each and every player in the game certainly offers a level of depth that no other sports game offers.   While casual players can still play the game using the standard button inputs, the “pro stick” has been altered to make shooting feel more skillful.  For higher level players, accurate use of the shot stick will result in more made shots.  It gives players who master the pro stick shot mechanic a little edge over those who don’t.  Visual Concepts walks a fine line here, using the shot stick is difficult to master and requires plenty of practice.  That practice results in more accurate shots, especially on the higher difficulty settings.  There’s a risk reward there for those that really dig into the meat of the game.
Defense has also been re-tooled for this year’s game.  The steal system relies on many different factors, and it’s much easier to strip the ball from weak ball handlers, or players that aren’t protecting the ball.  It’s impact has been divisive, but the bottom line is that steals are easier than ever before.  Again, Visual Concepts walks a fine line in this department as well.  Offering up more steals, but it doesn’t quite feel overpowered, especially against seasoned players or upper level AI.  On either side of the ball, it’s hard to point at a year for the series where the on the court gameplay has felt or played better than in 2K17.
NBA 2K17 offers a wide variety of ways to play the game.  Single player modes allow you to simply play against the computer AI on numerous difficulty settings.  You can takle My Career mode, which has you creating a player and taking them from the high school level, through college, all the way to the NBA Hall of Fame.  My Career has been notoriously laden with cheesy dialog over the years, with last year’s game being the jewel in the cheese crown.  This year, this mode seems a little more palatable than others.  One of NBA 2K17’s deepest modes, the My Career mode allows for deep customization of your player.  You can custom tailor your abilities, skill-set, clothing, accessories, animations, and many more customization features.  Even the facial scanning method that 2K uses in this year’s game works well, moving away from the system camera and pushing players to the NBA 2K app for better results.
My Team, Visual Concept’s answer to EA’s “Ultimate Team” game mode has been around for a couple of years and returns in NBA 2K17.  This mode has single and multiplayer modes offering players challenges to earn card packs to build a team.  Players must manage team contracts to keep their squads stacked with talent.  Playing the mode has players earning My Team currency which can be used to purchase card packs with random players, abilities, and other items.  There’s also an Auction House where team owners can go to pick up players/items if they don’t want to gamble on packs.  We’ll talk about it more later, but both the My Team and My Career mode are driven by “Virtual Currency.”  It’s been a point of contention for fans of the series over the last few years.
After many features were cut at the turn of the new console generation, My League, or 2K’s version of the Franchise Mode is continuing to get back to its robust self.  Playable in single player or against others, this mode has players managing an NBA franchise.  My League keeps track of all the goings-on of your league, including fake social media commentary to bolster the authenticity.  While it might be nice to see things re-introduced like salary caps, the ability to make trades and manage your team over multiple years is certainly a continued step in the right direction for fans of this mode.  Visual Concepts’ answer to this is in My GM — This mode has you controlling even more than My League.  Player personnel, staff, team finances, are all under the control of the player, but this is a single player mode only.
If none of these modes tickle your fancy and you’re more of a pick-up and play sort of person, there’s also a lot to do in the “Play Now” modes of the game.  You can create any match-up in Play Now, which includes modern day teams with current rosters, All-Star teams, International Teams, a huge roster of classic teams, as well as two Team USA teams (’92 Dream Team & ’16 Olympic Team).  Play Now also allows you to challenge a random opponent online for a quick game, or team-up with others for an “All-Star Team-Up” mode that has 5v5 online play.  If the hardwoord isn’t your thing, you can also take to the Blacktop for street hoops in games that range from 1v1 to 5v5.  There’s undoubtedly a wealth of ways to play NBA 2K, even if it feels like most of the work has been put into things like My Career and My Team when it comes to depth.
NBA 2K17_20160916151417
Which brings me to a point of contention with NBA 2K17, something that sits at odds with the game’s incredible gameplay and presentation.  Virtual Curency, NBA 2K17’s main source of progression for it’s standout modes is feeling as pervasive as ever.  My Career and My Team are tied to virtual currencies, currencies that are conveniently available for purchase in-game.  Microtransactions aren’t anything new for the series, in fact, just about every sports game has them at this point.  With 2K17 it’s hard to shake the feeling that these modes are designed with that in mind, and at times they feel incredibly grind intensive.  I get that many people want a game that they can really sink their teeth into and some time with, but the progression of your player and team in the aforementioned modes feels like it was made deliberately slow and tedious to usher you into buying virtual currency.  Doing the math on it, it would cost you either hundreds of dollars or hundreds of hours to fully level a character in My Career given the options available to you.
It takes a lot of fun out of these game modes, especially My Career. 2K does offer many ways to earn currency, like using the NBA 2K app, or completing challenges in the game, but that doesn’t help much at all.  The economies of the system are priced in a way that you can’t avoid these modes feeling like a free-to-play grind.  It doesn’t help that they start you out at the very bottom of the ladder in NBA 2K17.  Your created character isn’t much fun to play with at the very beginning of the mode and you don’t have all that much to work with in terms of currency needed to improve them.  Add to that some ridiculous design decisions that has you having to wait through multiple loading screens for practice sessions and advancement of your character, and it’s almost feels like they deliberately structured these modes in a way that has you questioning whether virtual currency would be a better use of your time. I mean, they’re selling virtual gatorade at this point that will temporarily boost your character’s stats. We’ve come a long way in terms of virtual currency and its use in games, and NBA 2K17 might have the most egregious use of microtransactions than any game on the market today.  My Team, while also using Virtual Currency as a back door for a progression fast track, doesn’t feel quite as bad as My Career.  The Auction House helps make this feel a little better, instead of having to rely on the RNG from the card packs to earn the players you want.  Selling cards you don’t want or have duplicates of, can also have you earning currency to build your team how you wish.  Plus there’s more to do, you can play challenge modes to earn My Team currency or play against others online on both the blacktop or hardwood.
One problem that NBA 2K has had over the years is in their online connectivity.  There haven’t been many smooth launches for this series.  If it’s not one mode having issues, it’s been another.  Last year was the first in recent memory that didn’t have some sort of online issue at launch.  It appears that 2K has righted the ship in that regard, at least during the “Early Tip-Off.”  Having played extensive through the many online modes of the game, I didn’t encounter any connection issues across any of the modes.  This included All-Star Team-up, My League online franchises, My Team, or general online play.  Of course these things can change, and my experience with the game on Xbox One might not be representative of all players on Xbox One or any other platform for that matter. We’ll update this review if anything changes on that front, but for now we’ll give 2K a thumbs up for a smooth online launch for the second year in a row.

The Verdict

Hands-down NBA 2K17 offers the most authentic, best looking, best playing hoops game on the market today.  This year’s game doesn’t disappoint on that front, not one bit.  Its multitude of modes and gameplay refinements make it worth picking up for basketball fans.  Digging into its deeper modes, however, like My Team and My Career can be frustrating due to design decisions that have obviously been used to push players into spending more money once they’ve stepped through the front door.  The good news is, you don’t have to play these modes to enjoy NBA 2K17.  There’s plenty to do, both online and off, that allow you to avoid the VC grind.

Title: NBA 2K17Format: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox OnePrice: $59.99 Publisher: 2K SportsDeveloper: Visual ConceptsESRB Rating: E (Everyone)The Grade: B+
NBA 2K17 Haiku Review
Customize like mad
  So many fun things to do
 Except for My Career
What is it?: A basketball video game sim from hoops juggernaut 2K Sports. If you’re a hoops fan “NBA 2K17” is your only option for virtual basketball action but what a great option it is. Publisher 2K Sports and developer Virtual Concepts have truly stepped up their game, as 2K17 is one of their best offerings yet. 
The Good: “NBA 2K17” has several fun modes to scratch your hoops itch. My Team, always an enjoyable destination, is deeper than ever. Here players can create their own custom teams with a variety of players from all over the NBA. There’s a bit of a learning curve to managing your created franchise and figuring out how to build the best team but the imagination required takes this mode to an entirely new level. It’s a challenge but one hard core basketball aficionados will dive into. 
The depth of “NBA 2K17” doesn’t end there. In My GM/My League gamers can control the NBA from every angle. If you want to run all aspects of an existing franchise, from finances to staff decisions, you can do that. If you want to just play through the playoffs, play a single NBA season or up to 80 seasons, you can do that too. Or perhaps you want to create your own expansion team and decide what you want your arena and uniforms to look like. There are so many options for customization in My GM/My League it’s almost overwhelming. 
I created my own expansion team called the Colorado Jordans. The Crying Jordan meme picture is my logo. I painstakingly designed my arena, from the floor to the jumbotron to the seat colors. Heck, I even chose the advertising I wanted on my scorers table. There are plenty of hilarious community uploads to choose from for both logos and in arena ads. From there, it was all about customizing my gameplay experience. I could go as deep or shallow as I wanted. 
When you need a break from making so many decisions, “NBA 2K17” has other, more straight forward features if you just want to play ball. You can hone your skills at 2KU, where you can practice plays and scrimmage. Or go outside and step on the blacktop and play some street ball. One of my favorite things to do is play exhibition games. You can choose any current team or try out some legendary teams. I enjoyed taking on this year’s Olympic hoops team with the true Dream Team from 1992. There are several other great teams available as well, including the ’86 Celtics, ’98 Bulls and even the ’94 Nuggets. 
The Bad: My love/hate relationship with My Career mode continues for yet another year. I love the story telling aspects but I hate the gameplay. As usual in this mode, you take on the role of a young player working his way to NBA stardom. A new feature is the chance to choose one of 10 different major college programs so you get a truer sense of your rise to prominence. There’s also the introduction of a foil/partner for your character, a teammate voiced by actor Michael B. Jordan. Duke coach Mike Kryzewski is even involved as well, texting you advice and delivering a number of wooden voice over performances. The story portion has some unintentional comedy but is also adorable. 
Where My Career completely drops the ball, however, is in its lead footed gameplay. Raising your so called stud player from bottom feeder (How did you ever get drafted?) to NBA titan is an absolute grind. The grading system remains as punitive as ever but the punishment doesn’t end there. Adding insult to injury are fans and media members who berate your performance through social media. That’s right, there’s a version of Twitter in this game and it can get almost as ugly in a game as it can in real life. This mode is an exercise in frustration. 
The Grade: Despite some nagging issues and a mode I tended to avoid, I still had a lot of fun with “NBA 2K17.” This game offers players a chance to customize to their hearts content and there’s a variety of different ways to get your hoops fix. “NBA 2K17” was created with the basketball lover in mind. 
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.

'NBA 2K17' Review: How Do You Follow A Classic Release?

By, Brian Mazique,

NBA 2K16 is a hard act to follow. It was one of the most complete sports video games ever made. That’s obviously my opinion, but there’s a fleet of journalists who feel similarly.
image from NBA 2K17
Image from NBA 2K17
When the last two versions of a series has an average Metacritic score of 84.5 (PS4 and Xbox One) there’s no questioning the critical reception.
Needless to say, the bar is set high. Does NBA 2K17 deliver an experience fit to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps? Here are the pros and cons.
Faster And Smoother Gameplay
Flow has always been one of NBA 2K’s greatest attributes. The on-court action has always had the type of symmetry that has escaped the NBA Live brand, and that’s one of the biggest reasons 2K’s series has enjoyed more success.
That aspect of the game has seen yet another leap in quality. The action is quicker and boosted by even more fluidity.
If you were simply watching the way the on-screen players move from 15 feet away, NBA 2K17 could pass for a real NBA broadcast (if you’re playing on broadcast view).
Tons Of New Animations
Part of what makes the game’s action look so authentic is its array of animations to fit almost every possible situation. Most of the new animations stem from situations created by contact.
This not only makes the game look better, it also makes the gameplay more realistic.
Dribble Moves Are Appropriately Complex
image from NBA 2K17
Image from NBA 2K17
Pulling off sick dribble combinations isn’t as easy as it was in the last two games. Instead of simply flicking the stick in one direction to initiate a full size-up, you’ll have to chain moves together with a series of stick movements.
That might sound complicated, and it can be, but that depends on how fancy you want to get.
The more skilled players on the sticks will be able to string moves together like a virtual ball-handling maestro.
Because it’s more challenging, the payoff for breaking ankles is much higher. Perhaps the best part of this alteration is that you don’t need to master this skill to have fun.
However, the more you learn the better you’ll be.
Defensive Concepts And Offensive Philosophies Are In Full Effect
AI-controlled players rotate quicker on defense and offensive players who are moving without the ball aren’t allowed to simply roam free as they hunt for soft areas in the defense.
Deflections and other types of ball pressure bring defense into the game as much as it has ever been.
The development team has also done a great job incorporating different offensive strategies and freelance sets. You don’t have to run plays to make your team play realistically.
I Dig Blacktop
Blacktop has come a long way from where it was last year. You can still play one-on-one, two-on-two, etc, but the presentation has been enhanced.
There’s now a crowd with audio support that creates a scene reminiscent of a Rucker Park Summer League contest.
Blacktop is also a great place to try out dribble combinations. 2KU is the aspect of the game designed to help you hone your stick skills, but for whatever reason, I found more satisfaction practicing my moves on blacktop.
The MyPlayer World Is Beautifully Meshed
MyPlayer has long been the nucleus for the most popular modes in theNBA 2K universe, but in previous years, there’s been a few slight disconnections between your created character and the various modes where he can appear.
In NBA 2K17, we’ve finally been given a completely holistic MyPlayer experience equipped with working components and undeniable cohesion.
It began with the successful launch of the MyNBA 2K mobile app that has delivered the most accurate face scans since 2K pioneered the concept in 2015.
It continued with the release of The Prelude (the most useful and relevant pre-release demo in history), and finished with the final unveiling of the full game.
This is as complete of an experience for a created character we’ve seen in a sports title.
Gone are the shackles from Spike Lee’s Livin’ Da Dream storyline. It was well directed, but Lee’s heavy-handed storyline was imposing on a world where choice is most appropriate.
It’s been replaced by a vast RPG-like element that truly makes it feel like MyCareer.
Even more, there are branches like MyPark, Pro-Am and MyCourt that add even more layers for your virtual hoops alter ego.
Multiple Announce Team Concept Is Phenomenal
During my Madden 17 review, I described the commentary in EA Sports’ latest gridiron as follows: “the best I’ve ever heard in a sports video game.”
I’m not backing off that statement, but NBA 2K17 is a very close second.
The addition of a rotating third chair in the in-game announce team is next level. I’ve been asking for multiple announce teams for years.
This is just a taste of that concept, but it breaches new ground in the area of sports video game audio.
What keeps Madden 17’s commentary just barely ahead? The addition of new player and team-specific stories holds a little more weight than three extra announcers, but man is it ever close.
Visual Presentation Is Second To None
The audio presentation may not sit at the top of the sports gaming universe, but the visual side is unmatched.
From proper statistical overlays to attractive score bugs and lower thirds, NBA 2K17 looks like an NBA TV broadcast, but it remains practical for gameplay.
I still hate that the playcall menus invade almost a third of the screen during local head-to-head games, but that’s the lightest of objections.
Nearly The Pinnacle of Customization
There isn’t much left to add into NBA 2K’s creation suite–especially as it pertains to team, arena and uniform creation.
You can still upload images and completely customize just about everything related to your team’s identity. Only this year, even more depth has been added.
Gamers can now create team sets (arena, uniform and logos) to share for use in MyTeam as well as MyGM and MyLeague.
The Depth Of MyGM And MyLeague Is Breathtaking
I’ve just about run out of superlatives to describe the MyGM and MyLeague modes in NBA 2K.
Every year, the options get more verbose and cater more to the demographic that lives and breathes with the franchise mode concept in sports video games.
As a proud member of that group, I can say without hesitation, MyLeague and MyGM are the undisputed standard bearers as it pertains to franchise modes.
This year, the modes include:
  • league expansion up to 36 teams,
  • relocation and rebranding for all teams,
  • full team and league management for MyLeague Online,
  • offseason trades and injuries,
  • annual league meetings that can lead to rule changes,
  • jersey retirements and more.
Quite honestly, there isn’t much you can’t do within these two features.
Skinny Players Look a Little Odd
image from 2K Sports
Image from 2K Sports
The folks at 2K are working to create realistic player models, but their efforts to represent the thinner guys went a little awry.
Players like Kevin Durant look abnormally skinny and instead of adding visual realism, the lanky guys hurt the cause.
A little more proportion would have been ideal.
Missing Legends
If Pro Evolution Soccer gets raked over the coals for not having the necessary licenses, to a degree, NBA 2K17 has to held accountable for missing legends players.
To be fair, PES is missing licenses for players and teams from the core and current crop of the soccer scene.
Classic teams are a bonus, so not having the likes of Moses Malone, Reggie Miller, Rasheed Wallace and Steve Nash isn’t quite as impacting as the absence of Manchester City’s logo, etc.
That said, 2K has opened a can of nostalgic worms and there’s no turning back now. NBA 2K17 still has the same healthy amount of classic teams that NBA 2K16 had, but they’ve lost the use of players like Malone and Nash, and have never had full access to Miller or Charles Barkley since they retired.
Obtaining the license to use an entire classic team means getting individual agreements with every important member of that squad. That can be problematic, but it would be great to see 2K create a legends free agent list.
It could be used for the MyGM and MyLeague modes.
That would likely satisfy fans who are jonesing for a more complete list of legends.
No Draft Mode In MyTeam
There aren’t many holes in NBA 2K17’s feature set, but with Maddenscoring a major win with its Draft Champions mode, and MLB The Showfollowing suit with its Battle Royale concept, the onus was on NBA 2K to deliver a similar experience to its fans.
For whatever reason, it didn’t make the cut this year.
Some Slightly Weird Ball Physics After Deflections
Ball physics have been improved in most situations, but there are a few instances where the flight of the ball appears to be unrealistically altered.
It doesn’t happen a lot, and I’ve never seen it in Pro-Am or MyPark, but it’s noticeable enough to mention.
Halftime Show Could Be Better
Presentation matters, even at halftime. The Ernie, Shaq and Kenny Show is cool, but the highlights just play as you listen to generic comments from the trio.
If you think that’s nitpicky, blame Visual Concepts for their stellar halftime show in NFL 2K5. That was two console generations ago, but no other sports game has been able to nail the halftime show quite like that.
Lingering Limitations For CAPs During Roster Creation
image from NBA 2K17
Image from NBA 2K17
During the pros section, I refered to the customization suite in NBA 2K17 as “nearly the pinnacle.”
The missing piece is in the create-a-player suite. While we can create players as tall as 7’7” (which is up from 7’2” last year), we still can’t give goggles or change the physical build.
You could create a guy who is 5’7” 350 pounds, but his body will still look as if he works out seven days a week.
Also, you can’t apply tattoos to created players (unless it’s a MyPlayer) nor can you alter the ages of legends on the classic teams.
Lastly, there’s still not enough options to choose from with hairstyles.
Sometimes I wish I could take one of those posters off the wall at the barbershop, scan it and send it to the developers at 2K to offer some suggestions.
Where’s The Kobe Effect?

Former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant gestures as he is introduced to the media and fans during a public appearance in Manila on June 25, 2016. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
There was a lot made of Kobe Bryant appearing on the cover of the Legends Edition, but The Black Mamba doesn’t play a big enough role in the game.
I understand he may or may not make an appearance in one of the modes, but it would have made sense to have a feature like Mamba Moments.
A single-player mode similar to the Jordan Challenge from NBA 2K11would have been appropriate considering his recent retirement and association with the 2K brand.
As it stands, Bryant feels about as underutilized in NBA 2K17 as his teammates the night he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors.
NBA 2K’s depth continues to set the bar for the genre. Like always, NBA 2K17 is several games within one. However, the amalgamation of modes delivers an especially tight package this year.
The smaller issues only slightly hamper the overall experience. 2K has delivered another classic the moment you rip off the plastic.

NBA 2K17 Review: An Incremental Upgrade, But Basketball Fans Will Buy It Anyway

by Ben Sin 
It’s hard to review NBA 2K17 for a myriad of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that this game is critic-proof: the NBA 2K series is the most popular sports game series in video games today, and arguably of all time, and it’s going to sell millions no matter what anyone says. Another reason is that the game has no competition, and without competition we can only compare the game to previous 2K games.
I’m old enough to remember NBA 2K before it was the “it” sports game; the online cultural phenomenon that spawns jokes and memes; the all-but-official NBA product. I’m old enough to remember when NBA 2K was for the niche market. Some 17 years ago, on 9/9/99, I ditched my last high school class of the day and drove to the Montebello mall near my Southern Cali hometown and purchased a Sega Dreamcast, along with two games: Soul Caliber and NBA 2K. Up until that point, I had played NBA Live religiously, but within 30 minutes of setting up the Dreamcast and popping in the original 2K (with Allen Iverson on the cover), I was sold. NBA 2K blew me away with realism, superior graphics, and (at the time) revolutionary post play.
KD and Russ. Photos: Visual Concepts
KD and Russ. Photos: Visual Concepts
Since then I’ve purchased every single NBA 2K annual release — in the early years, at 9am on release day — through multiple consoles. I’ve written bunch of amateur blog posts and actual articles for real publications digging deep into the game. For example, two years ago, I wrote about the history of 2K’s use of the right analog stick for Sports Illustrated; here’s another on how LeBron should be rated over 99; and this piece on how Steph Curry broke the 2K shooting algorithm (which led to ABC and NPR doing TV and radio follow-up segments, without credit to my piece, by the way…).
So yeah, I fancy myself somewhat of an NBA 2K expert (and my online record on Xbox Live is pretty damn good, if I must brag).
NBA 2K17, for the most part, continues the recent trend of improving the game, mostly on the presentation/realism front: the game this year not only brings back the TV crew of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Doris Burke and Kevin Harlan, but also adds Chris Webber, Steve Smith, Brent Barry, Greg Anthony, Clark Kellogg and David Aldridge to the mix. It’s absolutely surreal for basketball fans to play this game and see all these familiar media faces in the game, with their real voices and faces scanned. 
the graphics are amazing in 2K17.

The 2K crew also went around recording the individual sound of all 29 NBA arenas. So if you’re playing at the Garden? You’ll hear the iconic organ music; if you’re in Oakland or OKC, the crowd is extra loud and rowdy; in Charlotte? That distinct buzzing horn will be stuck in your ears. From bootup of the disc to tipoff to the post-game show, the presentation here is unreal. The crowd sounds much, much livelier in 2K17 than in years past.
That the biggest upgrades went to “the look and feel” of the game doesn’t mean the makers of 2K17, Visual Concepts, got lazy with gameplay; the reality is the 2K series have mastered recreating basketball gameplay a few years ago. Is the game a perfect recreation of the sport? No, it can never be. But it’s as close as it can get as far as trying to “simulate” a complex athletic contest that requires world-class speed, coordination, agility, power, stamina and more with a plastic controller.
There are new gameplay additions though. 2K17 brings a new system of chaining together crossovers and juke moves as if you’re pulling off combos in Killer Instinct. You can now tip rebounds out to teammates, animations are smoother all around. There’s a better emphasis on pace and space, at least in theory, but the AI teammates/opponents can still act wonky/unrealistic at times. Shooting has also been tweaked a bit, in that you actually have to pay attention when taking layups now — they’re no longer gimmes.

If you care about MyCareer (I never did), know that the mode is back to non-linear this year, which is great because last year gamers were forced to sit through a boring/cliched Spike Lee-helmed story. The basic concept is the game: grind you way through and earn points to build up your player from benchwarmer to MVP. Like I said, it’s never been for me. I’d rather just play as known NBA players.
Luckily, 2K17 offers many of those. Of course all the current NBA guys are here, along with classic great teams like the 96 Bulls, 72 Lakers, or the Olympic Dream Team, but we also get the 2016 USA men’s Olympic squad, 21 EuroLeague teams, the Australian men’s national basketball team, and college “all-time teams” (the latter requires in-game purchase though) that include the best players from that specific school. So if you want to roll with Georgetown, you’ll get Iverson, with Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, all in one lineup.
The 2K series have long been the gold standard for create-a-player or customization of existing players, and 2K17 is no different. Everything from headbands to shoes to facial hair to tats can be adjusted.
If you don’t like LeBron’s headband, you can change that.
Online play wasn’t available yet in Hong Kong but 2K’s notoriously shaky servers will probably need a few weeks to settle down. In all, NBA 2K17 has taken the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, in that this is an incremental upgrade than a full blown makeover. That’s not necessarily bad — the 2K series has been the best sports game for years now. And who are we kidding, basketball fans will buy it regardless.

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