The NBA season is right around the corner, which means that the newest edition of NBA 2K has hit the shelves. The popular gaming franchise has cornered the market on basketball video gaming, allowing fans to live out their fantasies of being their favorite team's general manager or star player.
NBA 2K18—like its predecessors—has four different avenues to simulated hardwood action: Play Now, MyPlayer, MyGM/MyLeague, and MyTeam. Ranging from a subtle change to a massive makeover, each game mode was updated for the new season. Let's now look at some of those noticeable changes.
In comparison to the other four gameplay avenues, Play Now received only a slight touch up. The biggest change occurred in your ability to access the entire catalogue of teams before playing an online head-to-head match. It is now a breeze to access the classic teams available on 2K18, as well as the newly-added all-time squads. While the Trail Blazers All-Time squad has a Rasheed-Wallace-sized hole on it, it is still enjoyable to unleash a MVP-caliber Bill Walton on unsuspecting victims.
If you are new to the franchise, you can also access 2KU through the Play Now portal. Once inside 2KU, you'll be able to find a rebuffed set of tutorials that will help you get on the right track.
This isn't 2K's most ambitious attempt at creating a believable backstory, but it might be the most customizable individual experience yet. You start by creating every attribute of a fictional character that will serve as your vehicle to NBA stardom. From his looks to his playing style, you'll have every opportunity to create a player that fits your specifications.
Once you have the basics out of the way, you begin your journey as a promising young player who is returning to basketball after a failed attempt at a music career. Your NBA career begins after you play in a series of tournament games, which eventually leads to courtship from an NBA scout from your pre-selected favorite team. The pre-selection process is a massive improvement from previous years, as you can now avoid forcing a trade to your favorite team.
Once you work through a few tryouts with your new team, you are unleashed into an open world with hundreds of other created players. From here, you can shop for new clothes and enter pickup games, but you might want to stop by your agent's office to get some cash first.
The new freedom provided by this year's MyPlayer mode is dangerously addicting. If you aren't paying attention, you can find yourself burning several hours playing pickup games instead of advancing your career.
MyGM / MyLeague
Like the Play Now mode, 2K didn't mess with a good thing here. Equipped with realistic collective bargaining restrictions, you now have a chance to do your best Neil Olshey impression.
You'll notice a slight change when you come to your first offseason, as 2K18 now includes the free agent moratorium. Prepare to enjoy juggling cap holds as you chase down meetings with free agents. The offseason still features a robust NBA Draft simulation, which includes an array of incredibly detailed draft classes created by 2K's impressive community of players.
2K's popular card collecting mode returns with even more microtransactions than before. Of all the game modes, this occupies the least amount of my time. I will usually open the introductory packs that come with the Legend Edition, but that is usually the extent of my experience with MyTeam.
2K18 is loaded with plenty of options to customize your playing experience without forking over handfuls of virtual currency, making MyTeam the least desirable of all the gameplay options in my opinion.
Whatever flaws it may have, NBA 2K18 is still a must-buy. Two weeks in I’ve spent hours playing and still barely scratched the surface. Recommendation: get a copy, trade Carmelo Anthony to Portland, and have a great time.
Feel free to put your questions in the comments below, and if you are looking for a match—or teammate—feel free to contact me on Twitter @SteveDHoops.