Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

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Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Kevin on Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:42 pm

I've been playing NBA 2K17 for almost 2 years now and I think it's the best one so far in the "next-gen" era. Now I was wondering if 2K18 is better than 2K17 and if so, what were the improvements and the downsides?
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Andrew on Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:19 pm

To be honest, I enjoyed NBA 2K17 a lot more than I've been enjoying NBA 2K18.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Dee4Three on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:05 am

I agree with Andrew.

I get a lot more enjoyment out of 2K17. I also agree with you Kevin that it's the best one for this gen.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Andrew on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:39 am

To elaborate a little, I felt that NBA 2K17 was a really pleasing improvement upon NBA 2K16. The game felt better on the sticks, the MyCAREER story was less intrusive , and the online experience was pretty good. Whenever I had the opportunity, I found myself having some long sessions of NBA 2K17, and felt inclined to play it on a regular basis. It was a lot of fun.

Conversely, there have been a lot of moments playing NBA 2K18 where I've thought "This isn't fun". Online is particularly bad, but even the offline experience isn't as good as last year. The new motion system feels more responsive and fluid in some ways, but also clunky and awkward in others. There are times when it feels very loose, and even times when the animations look a bit weird as well. NBA Live is often criticised for having "PS2 animations", but the amount of skating and clipping issues in NBA 2K18 is very reminiscent of that era of basketball gaming.

Physics have regressed badly. There are a lot of body steals, but also a lot of times where you'll clip through opponents and the ball. There are still canned moments, and despite what the developer blogs promised, issues getting stuck in bad animations. AI steals are even cheesier. A lot of the hybrid MyPLAYER Archetypes facilitate cheese. Shooting mechanics, be it jumpshots or free throws, do not feel good. It's too easy to drive with basically any player, and there are a lot of AI issues.

The 5v5 gameplay does feel better than player locked gameplay, but it still doesn't feel as good as NBA 2K17. It feels like too much of the focus has been placed on the new Neighborhood concept (which I personally dislike for the way it slows down progressing through MyCAREER and the connected experiences), as well as ventures like the forthcoming NBA 2K League. As a result, overall, NBA 2K18 feels rather sloppy and unfinished. I'm not saying the developers didn't work hard and put in the hours, but it feels like the wrong things were focused upon, while so many legacy issues remain (or indeed, somehow got worse). Aspects such as the new motion engine don't seem quite ready, and the game has been very buggy. Each new patch seems to have introduced a new issue, too.

I've felt that NBA 2K has improved in some way throughout this generation, maybe with the occasional backwards step or idea that didn't quite pan out, but NBA 2K18 feels like a huge step backwards and not enough of an improvement in several key areas. There's some nice new content in terms of the All-Time squads and some new classic teams, but even there, there are issues. Licensing issues are always going to be a barrier to including certain players, but with the placeholder players on the new classic teams, they've basically copied and pasted the same appearance for all of them, which really draws attention to the fact that most of the bench is made up of fake players.

Again, it just feels kind of sloppy and unfinished, with some concepts and tech that weren't quite ready to be implemented. It's even missing a slick intro video, which has been a staple of NBA 2K games. I realise that means nothing for the experience in the long run, but I feel it highlights how the game doesn't feel quite finished. It's like it needed another month or two in development, or some more post-release fine tuning that hasn't happened as yet.

With all that being said...would I recommend picking it up if it's on sale?

It depends on what kind of discount you can get. Obviously, our modding community is creating content for it. If you want to play online, most people have moved on to NBA 2K18, despite a lot of people feeling dissatisfied with it. I wouldn't say it's completely unplayable (and again, regular NBA gameplay is better than player locked gameplay), so if it's available at a bargain price - say, half price or lower - it may be worth checking out to see if you like it better than some of us do. I can't say that you'll definitely dislike it, but I do feel that it's a disappointment. There are reasons people are dissatisfied, and it's not just outrage over microtransaction gouging. But, if there's a good price and you're curious, you might get some enjoyment out of MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. Be prepared for some frustrating moments, though.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Dee4Three on Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:38 am

I should have expanded as well, my apologies. A lot has been going on lately.

I agree with everything Andrew mentioned above, so some of what I have to say will be repeated but just worded differently.

The introduction to skating (New motion system) for this gen is a major step backwards in my opinion, it makes the game feel hectic and like you don't have as much control. I've mentioned this before, zoom in close to the players feet on instant replay when the players are moving around, it looks like they are ice skating. The ultimate thing we want as players is control, to be able to control our player and the action on the court as much as possible, the skating hurts this in a big way.

While a couple new gameplay features are a nice touch (Like the up fakes, where players get up on toes), they also took steps backwards, like not being able to go for a steal with the joystick. We used to be able to go for steals with our left or right hand as we choose by flipping the joystick left or right, now we just have the steal button. Andrew mentions unfinished, it's another area where I feel the gameplay really took a back seat this year and was not finished in favor of 2K League, VC grab, as well as other new "Features (Like the new direction of MyCareer).

The ball moves strange through the air, like a beach ball at times. The mechanics of when the ball leaves the players hands, to how it reacts to the backboard, or how it just floats, something is off. The shots around the basket look very unnatural because of how awkward the ball moves through the air. You will put up a soft shot, and the ball will float towards the hoop, only to hard ricochet off the glass for a miss. I feel like the ball physics took a major step back from 2K17.

The defense is abysmal, even worse than last year in my opinion. You can blow by your man with anybody, at any time, with anybody, on anybody. It's a game killer to me, I've uploaded videos of these examples. I can score 100 points a game on the hardest level with Frank Ntilikina on the Warriors, just on straight line drives, and win. All along shooting a high percentage doing it. Driving by Kawhi Leonard feels no different than driving by Nikola Mirotic. It's a really troubling aspect of the gameplay. In NBA 2K17, there was brick wall defense, but you still had to use the best ball handlers in order to get by defenders, you had to string moves together the right way, or time your first step off the catch right. In NBA 2K18, you can just run by your guy. The fastbreak defense is also worse this year, with defenders just letting offensive players run by them, this is especially frustrating as a player because you can't use all 5 guys on the floor at once, you feel helpless at times. With that being said...

The CPU AI is the worst it's been on this gen, by far. This is the easiest basketball game in term of playing against AI I have played in a very, very long time. With the ability to get by your man whenever you want, with all the defensive lapses, with everybody having the ability to put up a ton of points, it's a joke. The CPU's AI is poor on offense as well, where they will just dribble into the paint with no purpose and just shoot it on multiple defenders, or get in there and just stand and dribble, or kick it out to an open shooter who wont shoot. Players don't play like themselves... authenticity doesn't feel right.

I have the same speed dribbling with a 70's player, as I do with Allen Iverson. We can adjust some of these things, but it's rampant all over the roster. Out of the box (Or I should say, fresh off a download) there are so many glaring roster issues, tendencies and attributes are all over the place, copy and paste jobs are rampant (Cloning players signatures to others, cloning attributes to others), signature shots not even being close on many players (Free throws and regular shooting forms). It really takes away from the experience of the game, it takes away from the authenticity.

Many moves look awkward in this game, even robotic at times. Some strange animations happen in the paint or posting up on the blocks, some of the misses are laughably bad for no apparent reason. You will take a good hook (Not behind the hoop), or a tweener shot (Again, not behind the hoop) and it will somehow hit the side of the backboard, or it will somehow hit the backboard and hard ricochet off (This goes back to the strange ball physics). A lot of things looks strange because of the clipping, which is even worse this year than in NBA 2K17. Players arms/bodies/heads going through other players constantly.

Graphics and atmosphere are also a step back in my opinion. The arena's are unrealistically dark again (Like 2K15), and the crowd atmosphere is just dead. The game feels dead to me. The players body types are basically all the same, with very little to no muscle definition, they look like clay, like gumby. Combine that with oversized heads running rampant through the league, and other graphical anomalies with the players (Like eyes going through eyelids), you have a bit of a mess on your hands. Again, this is sad, because they added some good new features, like the replays (Which are now slower so we can see what actually happened), the free throw camera which is now close up sometimes and alternates between different views, stats at the free throw line, the new classic teams (However, grossly unfinished and rushed), the all time teams (Rushed), etc.

Bottom line, gameplay is the ultimate measure of effort in my opinion. This game just doesn't cut it, and to me it's not even close. I havn't enjoyed a minute of this game since I bought it. 2K went in the wrong direction with this one, and it's disappointing.

With that being said, on a discount (Half off?), it may be worth it. Especially if you want the updated rosters. If the updated rosters don't matter to you, and you don't care about having the newest release, you may want to just wait until 2K19. Not everybody thinks the game is poor, so sometimes it is a matter of preference. Another thing to keep in mind, Steam allows refunds. You could always purchase the game, and if you think it's poor, return it through Steam (I think they give you two weeks to return a game). If you are talking about playing on console, I know that Redbox here allows you to rent video games (And 2K18 is one of them), if you can find a way to try it before you buy it, that might be the best route.

Either way, good luck.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Andrew on Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:02 am

Another example of the sloppiness. The Trivia game in the 2K Zone, intended to provide an opportunity to earn up to 1250 VC per week, hasn't been working in weeks. Patch 1.06 was meant to resolve it, but as of yesterday, this is still what happens when you pull up your in-game smartphone to play:

Image

It's bad enough that an advertised feature is bugged and remains so despite a patch meant to resolve it, but the fact that they're dragging their feet on resolving an issue with a feature that earns VC - something the game is a lot stingier with this year, despite more things than ever costing a lot of VC - is a further example of the almost complete lack of goodwill in NBA 2K18.

Beyond that, and the aforementioned issues, perhaps the biggest problem is that the game has a lot of puzzling and just plain bad design ideas. Free throw ratings have been removed for MyPLAYERs; to get better at free throws, you need to grind up the Free Throw Ace Badge. You do that by making free throws, which is hard without the Badge because the percentages are low, and often don't seem to matter, anyway. Even if you do get the Gold level Free Throw Ace Badge, you'll find yourself frequently missing shots that allegedly had a 95+% chance of going in; time after time. It's the same with the Lob City Passer Badge. You need the Badge to be able to throw alley-oops with consistency, but to earn the Badge, you need to successfully throw alley-oops with consistency. The Badge system this year feels like a real Catch-22 as a result.

Other poor design choices include removing the Shot Meter on layups (but still making them depend on accurate timing), Good releases effectively being worse than Slightly Early or Slightly Late releases, third person camera angles during pre-game, team practice, and 2K Pro-Am shootarounds that don't match any gameplay camera angles, not having proper shootaround controls (i.e. you can't jump for rebounds because it pulls up the MyCAREER menu instead, and you can access your phone while shooting around), and the whole concept of The Neighborhood that just means a lot of running around just to do simple tasks, with the whole interface being way more cumbersome than it should be.

It feels like they changed a bunch of things that were working just fine, while ignoring issues that desperately needed attention. Like I said, surprisingly and disappointingly sloppy and unfinished, with focus on the wrong areas. That is MyCAREER and its connected modes, though. 5v5 gameplay and MyLEAGUE are better, especially now that a few issues with MyLEAGUE have been corrected.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Kevin on Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:23 pm

Andrew wrote:Physics have regressed badly. There are a lot of body steals, but also a lot of times where you'll clip through opponents and the ball.

Wow thats bad.

Andrew wrote:It's too easy to drive with basically any player, and there are a lot of AI issues.


Dee4Three wrote:The defense is abysmal, even worse than last year in my opinion. You can blow by your man with anybody, at any time, with anybody, on anybody. It's a game killer to me, I've uploaded videos of these examples. I can score 100 points a game on the hardest level with Frank Ntilikina on the Warriors, just on straight line drives, and win. All along shooting a high percentage doing it.

I've found myself raging quite a lot of times because the AI defense in 2K17 was way too good for me but now I feel like I'm taking it for granted.

Andrew wrote:Each new patch seems to have introduced a new issue, too.

2K is the Valve of sports games.

Andrew wrote:Again, it just feels kind of sloppy and unfinished, with some concepts and tech that weren't quite ready to be implemented. It's even missing a slick intro video, which has been a staple of NBA 2K games.

Yeah, I heard you say this in the recent podcast (or was it 2 eps ago?). The intros definitely was something I liked about 2k. Those intros from 2k10 to 2k13 were the best.

Andrew wrote:It depends on what kind of discount you can get. Obviously, our modding community is creating content for it. If you want to play online, most people have moved on to NBA 2K18, despite a lot of people feeling dissatisfied with it.

I've been maintaining my own roster ever since the release of 2k18 because I knew everyone would jump ship after it gets released so modding won't play a role that much.

Dee4Three wrote:Graphics and atmosphere are also a step back in my opinion. The arena's are unrealistically dark again (Like 2K15), and the crowd atmosphere is just dead.

I noticed that the arenas were too dark too.

Dee4Three wrote:Bottom line, gameplay is the ultimate measure of effort in my opinion. This game just doesn't cut it, and to me it's not even close. I havn't enjoyed a minute of this game since I bought it. 2K went in the wrong direction with this one, and it's disappointing.

Yikes. What keeps you from playing it? Is the modding scene now as better as the 2k14 days?

Andrew wrote: Free throw ratings have been removed for MyPLAYERs; to get better at free throws, you need to grind up the Free Throw Ace Badge. You do that by making free throws, which is hard without the Badge because the percentages are low, and often don't seem to matter, anyway. Even if you do get the Gold level Free Throw Ace Badge, you'll find yourself frequently missing shots that allegedly had a 95+% chance of going in; time after time. It's the same with the Lob City Passer Badge. You need the Badge to be able to throw alley-oops with consistency, but to earn the Badge, you need to successfully throw alley-oops with consistency. The Badge system this year feels like a real Catch-22 as a result.

I think they should just bring back the last-gen's way of upgrading your player - which was through buying every single "ability" you wanted to upgrade. That system's just bad. 2K14 upgrading system and then maybe you earn badges like in 2k17?

Thanks for the answers, guys. I actually found out I'm spending my christmas break with the extended family and I know they have 2k18 on their PS4 so I'll be checking it for myself then if it's worth it.
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby Andrew on Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:21 pm

The upgrade system is kind of similar to what they used to have, rather than the "bucket" approach of recent years. Both have their merits, but the inability to upgrade an actual free throw rating is a downgrade over all former approaches. On the plus side, progress can be made in all the connected MyPLAYER modes, unlike last year where only MyCAREER games counted towards Badges. That is one of the better ideas in NBA 2K18.

I think I might've mentioned the lack of intros in the latest NLSC Podcast, released a couple of days ago. As I said, it's admittedly ultimately inconsequential, but it does kind of encapsulate that feeling of the game being rushed and not quite finished.

Sounds like you'll have a good opportunity to try before you buy. (Y)
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Re: Is 2K18 worth buying in the upcoming steam sale?

Postby sticky-fingers on Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:23 am

Kevin wrote:I've been playing NBA 2K17 for almost 2 years now and I think it's the best one so far in the "next-gen" era. Now I was wondering if 2K18 is better than 2K17 and if so, what were the improvements and the downsides?


For me, 2K18 is a better game than 2K17
i dont know your expectations and I'm only playing Quick Game or MyLeague so i cant really tell about MyPlayer and online mode.

While i understand negative points, and you can read big threads here about offense or defense, after sliders tweak, i definitly prefear 2K18 gameplay.

So I cant go back to 2K17 and have a better feeling.
On 2K18, peace is smoother, offense, defense, rebounding, it looks like more realistic than on 2K17 or 2K16 where the game seemed so scripted vs CPU.

Try it with your family, make your own opinion ;)
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