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NBA 2K18 Review

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Sports fans, it's that time of year again, NBA 2K18 as one of the most anticipated sports games of the year and its release was welcomed by a great fan base, rightfully so as the game has met the expectations year after year. This year is no different as we see a few changes that will keep the game feeling more fresh and fluent than any other sports game on the market.

This year's game is more true to the experience of an authentic basketball game than ever, with a graphical change and a new movement system it lets the players have an experience that they have never had in any previous basketball game. Contesting opponents shots are more important than ever, as it can have a huge impact on the shot quality of the best players like Stephan Curry or Lebron James.

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The shot meter is also more sensitive and requires a lot more practice to master the new technique instead of jumping straight into the deep end immediately after starting the game.The defensive end of the game is now more important and successful too, steals and blocks are more instinctive and natural, which makes scoring harder, making the game more authentic than its ever been before. 

The 2K Experience

The commentary is one of the many parts of the game's success throughout the years, Kevin Harlan and his co-commentators are not only accurately describing the events on the court, something that other games, like FIFA or Madden lack, but they also joke around and chat in such a natural way, giving the players a real authentic feel as if you were sitting at home watching an official live NBA match. 

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This year, the Pre-Game Show is even more polished with Shaq, Ernie and Kenny giving the players a more natural experience, successfully portraying the atmosphere of a real basketball game. Apart from the improved pre-game show, there's the national anthem playing before games and more pre-game animations that make NBA 2K18 the closest thing to a real game of NBA basketball even before Tip-Off. 

Another impressive change was the use of in-game animations of the players from Lebron's chest pump to Curry raising his one hand with a single finger up when calling for the ball. If you have a superstar on your team, be prepared for him to perform their signature moves, whether it's an actual play or a celebration after a made basket. NBA 2K18 has it all and should bring smiles to the faces of the community, as it's one thing we know for sure that each year 2K meets all the expectations and will continue to grow each year. 

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Unfortunately, the positives are also evenly weighed up by the negatives and this is due to the exclusion of the WNBA. Why in 2017 do we have a sports game that has zero focus on these teams and leagues? I would love to see the same amount of effort put into NBA 2K that FIFA has done to promote woman football leagues. It is 2017 and this should be a norm by now. 

The Create-a-Player mode is pretty terrible too. 2K went with scanned faces as a template to each design but in the end, the customization options and overall look of your players just look bad. The limited customization options also put a downer on a should-be-great feature and facial sculpting is not around anymore to help you create the most handsome of handsome players. 

MyCareer 

In this year's version of MyPlayer, you will be roaming around "My Neighborhood" which will allow you to truly experience the life of an NBA player, both on and off the court. From meeting fans to completing endorsement contracts, you will have to do it all as you rise the ranks from your rookie year to the day you retire. You will also be allowed to practice drills and put up some shots before game day to help maximise your performance for the next match.

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Then we have My Career mode which is a single-player career supported by a fairly decent story aspect as you take control of a player rising through the ranks of his NBA career. The MyCareer mode is 2K's best addition for a few years now, and players can expect a decent experience this year that steps above the previous year's narrative. 

Lastly, we have the MyTeam feature which lets you create a perfect team in the game similar to FIFA's Ultimate Team. It is a gamble of who to choose and why, and the new draft mode and salary cap function makes this year's mode even better. Pack and Playoff is the new draft mode and it successfully delivers a new version of EA's Draft Champions. You get to draft five players with no reserves and stamina and you need to head online to compete against other players. Win four matches and you advance to the next game, lose one and you are out. 

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The challenges return and anxiety of whose player card you will get is always exciting. Throughout the game, the online servers held up pretty well and I never encountered many issues on my attempt to test them. 

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NBA 2K18 sees many changes and improvements and in my opinion, it is the benchmark for all sports games to look up to, but it needs some polish to get there. I cannot wait to see what 2K comes up within the next few years and how they're going to keep improving the game in the future, and all we can hope is that what this year's game is missing will be added and fixed for next year's entry. 

Available on: PS4/PS3, Xbox One/360 Played On: PS4 | Release Date: 19 September 2017 | RRP: R999

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