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Review: NBA 2K17

by onOctober 4, 2016
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Another year, another NBA 2K game emerges. After being long desired, almost forgetting to mention it to the point I was to think that 2K Sports and Visual Concepts had something to hide, NBA 2K17 unrolled its sleeves and flexed its biceps, just a few weeks before the release date. Finally with the game in hand, the new year’s simulation basketball game is exactly what to expect, tackling every angle of the sport that I love so much, and like its predecessor, should be considered a mold for future sports game.

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Last year, Visual Concepts transformed its favorite license in a curious way. NBA 2K16 was a great game (reviewed on our site), but many players had criticized (including myself) the blunders that was the MyCareer mode, which relied too much on Spike Lee’s vision. The New York director, and passionate NBA fan, took the reins of the “story” mode and gave fans a campaign that was too linear and limited in opportunities. While NBA 2K16 had many qualities, I personally couldn’t handle the MyCareer boring and cliche storyline, and while most people expected NBA 2K17 to be another transitional episode, Visual Concepts eventually heard all of our input and might have created an excellent basketball game, and perhaps one of the best in the series.

NBA 2K17 gameplay is full of well-picked enhancement and upgrades , which should delight the biggest fans of the series, and especially MyPark and the 2K Pro-Am mode, which are based on individual exploits. Gamepad in had, you’ll quickly discover a new dribbling system that will allow the most gifted of you to create and improvise its own ball movement. The NBA 2K17 new dribbling gives you a pleasant feeling of fluidity, especially as they are particularly easy to execute as if you were Stephen Cury, all with the right thumbstick. In any case, you’ll go through a bunch of tutorials eventualy to learn the commands, and ultimately, it’s your skill and especially that of the player you control that will determine your ability to properly play on the court.

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The shoot gauge, much more readable than in the previous episode, here is taken into account and therefore has a new timing to properly perform the desired shot. Do not count on pre-calculated animations and stats for your player to return any contested layup: your sense of timing will be especially vital here. Adaptation is sometimes painful, especially for those who used to play a bit chaotic, and thus dunk the ring with ease. Things will change, especially as the ball is not as easy to catch as it was in the previous episodes, with rebounds, passing and even drilling needs to be done perfectly to make sure you don’t lose it. Visually speaking, the result is striking: NBA 2K17 is clearly gaining basketball realism that no other game done before.

Contrary to what would suggest the main menu at first sight, NBA 2K17 is full of game modes, like its predecessors. All of them actually have been reworked, or at least got an upgrade, including MyGm and MyLeague, which surprised me from the start giving me a choice: do you want to start the game at the start of the new NBA season (as in previous episodes)… Or early in the pre-season? That last option makes you control even more your team, and prepare properly for the season, instead of relying on pre-defined stats. You’ll basically have the skill to “rewrite” history. In MyGM, one quickly discovers that Visual Concept heard a lot of the fan requests, adding a plethora of new features. That includes the ability to expand a league to 36 teams, create dynamic rivalry between teams, the ability to manage rotations.

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Now following my rant on MyCareer, most of you are already thinking that the career mode is not worth it again. Well, rest assured, this isn’t the case and Visual Concepts has understood the criticism and comes back with a game mode that compares more with an RPG. That means that the mode lets you truly roleplay, at least in the sense that the life of your character is not dictated by the script dictated by a hot shot producer. You start from scratch, debuting your career in the college of your choice, and work your way up until you are scouted and proceed through the NBA draft, which obviously from there comes the pleasure of contract signing, workouts and appointments to manage. On that front, you should be particularly attentive to your schedule since it will quickly fill crazy, as the developers really wanted to put you in the skin of an NBA player. You will be required to spend a lot of time to train, either collective training where you get to perform several exercises dictated by the coach, or free workouts. In short MyCareer finally meets the expectations of the fans by offering a full and very addictive mode.

On the technical part of the game, NBA 2K17 is still as visually and fantastic as the previous year game. Visually striking, both on Xbox One and on PlayStation 4, this new game has a great attention to details, including perfectly 3D scans of new Basketball snickers, players faces and bodies, but some of them got more attention than others. Kevin Durant for example looks more to what he was like back when he was first playing in the NBA, instead of his current crazy size. However, difficult to forget the many micro-bugs that will be found, where for example some exercises in the training mode refusing to start, or even the audience disappearing in the outdoor court. . These cases are fortunately rare but the experience is speckled with little annoyances like this, suggesting that the game deserved a little bit of polish before getting delivered. We imagine that this will be fixed quickly via a new patch, as the 2K team are usually pro-reactive on these things.

NBA 2K17 was reviewed using an Xbox One retail copy of the game provided by 2K Games. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC in both retail and online store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published

What we liked

• The career mode that fans wanted
• Still so beautiful
• The new dribbling system
• A timing system for all shots
• The ball is more responsive than before
• Perfect 3D scans of sneakers
• New MyGM feature

What is not fun

• The new menu is just a bit simple to my taste
• Plethora of silly little bugs
• Still can't change your player's tone voice or accent

Editor Rating
 
Concept
9.0

 
Graphics
9.5

 
Sound
8.4

 
Playability
9.6

 
Entertainment
9.1

 
Replay Value
9.0

Final Score
9.1


Our final verdict
 

MyTeam, MyPark, Pro-Am, everything is there and everything in NBA 2K17 is a better abyss of countless hours of play. With its new Career Mode, redesigned MyGM and a game with a more technical gameplay than ever, NBA 2K17 is not only a better basketball game than its predecessors, it is also much more appealing to newcomers as well. It is regrettable that so many silly little bugs are in the game, but I'm sure that a future patch will be fixing all of that.

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