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Why The 'NBA 2K18' Is the Best Basketball Sim Ever Created

One hoops fan's meditation on the always impressive and inventive sports title
by Aeus Reyes | Sep 22, 2017
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I’m 29 years old, turning 30 in a few days. I live in Paranaque, studied in Quezon City, and now work in Mandaluyong.

I’m also the starting point guard for the Denver Nuggets.

Yes, that’s me at the center (though that looks nothing like me IRL). I’ve unseated 13-year vet Jameer Nelson, promising prospect Jamal Murray, and former starter Emmanuel Mudiay (which really isn’t surprising at all). I’m now the on-court commander-in-chief for the Nuggets, a feat I achieved after just a few days of playing in streetball games and scrimmaging with Nikola Jokic, Kenneth Faried, and the rest of the crew.

And yes, we’re talking about the latest NBA sim to hit the stores, NBA 2K18—a game that’s perfect in how it immerses you in the sport and all the nitty-gritty that goes along with it. I’ve learned quite a few things during my journey to becoming a starting guard in the NBA

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1. You’ve got to grind. Being good means having to practice. You can practice in between your NBA games at your team’s training facility, where you can improve specific skill sets via different drills. Or you can head over to the Gatorade gym just beside the training facility to lift some weights and increase your potential. Let me warn you that in this version of 2K18, your ratings are more indicative of how you’ll actually play than in previous releases. So don’t expect your myPlayer with a rating of 60 to even make layups on a consistent basis.

2. Speaking of ratings, the virtual representations of our hoops heroes play like they do in real life. Playing against Patrick Beverley? You’re more likely to end up with a turnover than two points. In the paint with Andre Drummond? Don’t even try to grab that rebound. And good luck trying to defend Russell Westbrook. The game feels more grounded this year and gives you a more realistic feel of the skill and physical attributes each individual player has.

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3. You’ve got to look good to play good. Not really, but do you want to play in the NBA wearing generic 2K branded shoes? I suggest you spend your hard-earned virtual credits on shoes, a new haircut, and even stuff you can wear outside the court. To add to the experience, 2K18 provides you with actual stores you can visit where you can buy your new gear—Doc’s Barbershop, the 2K Zone (where you can buy new headphones), and a Foot Locker, to name a few. Just be prepared to spend more than you expected.


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4. While it’s not necessary to spend real money in 2K18, spending will get you what you want a lot quicker. At times, the game felt like earning virtual currency was the main goal as opposed to just winning basketball games (though that will net you VC as well). It’s never necessary to purchase anything using real money, but you’ve got to have a ton of patience if you stay stingy and decide to earn in-game currency just by playing games. It starts out fine but gets frustrating when you hit that point where each skill upgrade costs 2,000 VC and you earn less than 1,000 VC a game. Microtransactions are fine for free-to-play mobile games but not for a game I already paid almost 3,000 pesos to play. This is one of the very few things that brings the enjoyability of the game down a notch.

5. Check your phone. As in real life, your phone will be where most of your social interactions happen. On your team-issued smart phone, you can check how people view you on social media, see any events you should be attending, or even use it to answer trivia questions for more virtual currency.

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6. Listen. Aside from the usual commentary from last year’s elite broadcast team, you can now also hear Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett as guest commentators. It’s not a necessary change nor does it affect the game significantly, but details like this is what makes the NBA 2K series hard to beat. The presentation that was already top-notch is now even better. Big plus for including classic hits from Mase, Naughty by Nature, and C&C Music Factory.

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It’s safe to say that this is the best basketball sim ever created. The way it captures the NBA experience on and off the court overweighs its flaws, specifically in the way it pushes you to spend extra money in the myCareer mode.

You can play NBA 2K18 on PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Switch.


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