NBA 2K18: 3 Issues getting on my nerves

It’s a new year and we have a new NBA 2K game. There are new additions but there are still a bunch of flaws that they haven’t fixed in years. These are just a few of them that are getting on my nerves.

AI Teammates:

Most video games have a difficult setting. As you raise the level of difficulty the CPU gets smarter, faster, and better. In sports games they play better defense, make more shots on offense but at the same time the human player is penalized as well.

In NBA 2K18 as you raise the difficulty closer to Hall of Fame (the highest difficulty setting) the CPU is relentless. The game is tougher; as it should be but sometimes they are too good. When you raise the difficulty; the game should be challenging but it shouldn’t cheat you.

As the opposition gets better your teammates seem to get worse. In MyCareer I’m on a bad team in the Brooklyn Nets. I don’t expect to win many games because I don’t have a lot of talent on my team. However, 2K just makes my teammates complete fools.

On offense they barely pass the ball ahead on fastbreaks. Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell just dribble the ball into traffic and takes bad shots. On other plays they just push the ball and take a contested mid-range jumper. I find myself constantly pressing the pass button so they can finally hit me when I’m open in the corner. If I have the ball they are guaranteed to miss the majority of wide open shots.

The defense is a joke. In real life they are not elite defenders but I’m sure they could guard at least one pick and roll. In the video game they just let the ball handler go to the basket every time. If I come over to help the ball is swung to the corner and it’s an open 3-pointer and my grade goes down. I watched as one player ran over to triple team one player instead of covering the man under the basket. Other times both defenders would run into each other rather than playing defense.

If I’m playing on the toughest difficulty my teammates should get better along with the CPU.

Turnovers:

I don’t know about you but the ball just gets knocked loose way too much. In previous games, it happened when you tried to spin and a defender just stood there. They seem to have fixed that this year but now the ball just hits any limb and rolls away.

I think they are so caught up in trying to make contact in the game seem realistic that players are always bumping into each other. I rarely see real steals (meaning a player actually reaches for the ball or jumps into the passing lane) in any of my games. If I press the steal button, I get called for a foul. If I make a dribble move, then I get caught up on the defender and I lose the ball.

In my recent game, there were six possessions in a row that resulted in turnovers when someone just dribbled into a leg. There were no steal attempts or steal animations. Just dribbling and then a turnover.

Is defense really better or does the offense just lose the ball more often?

Screen Setting:

Okay, this may be an issue for only me. I like to have the play calling on auto when I play MyCareer. I don’t always need the ball and I like to get open on plays. In a regular game, I love calling plays to get open shots.

I still think screens worked best in NBA 2K11. In this game, I feel like all my screens are illegal. I’m always moving while holding the screen button to make sure I hit the guy. There were many instances when a play was called and I had to set a screen for someone in the corner. I go to set the screen and my player would turn the opposite way to set a screen. The whole play would be ruined because for some reason I set a screen in a direction that had nothing to do with the play.

When the CPU sets screens I get absorbed into them which lets my guy get open and that leads to my overall grade going down. If my teammates set a screen the CPU would just run around the screen. They wouldn’t avoid the screen or use pick dodger, they literally run around like the screen isn’t there.

These are just a few problems that have haunted the 2K series for a while now. These are not the only issues I have been experiencing while playing this game. I will go into more detail soon enough. What has been your experience with the game so far?

NBA 2K18: The Neighborhood

NBA 2K has changed the game once again. Instead of introducing another aspect to MyCareer, The Park, or 2K Pro-Am; they decided to combine them in a new game mode entitled The Neighborhood.

It’s like an open world setting for basketball players. You can leave the park and walk around the neighborhood to get a haircut, buy new clothes, play mini games or most importantly train your player. There is even a statue of Allen Iverson; the first cover athlete for the NBA 2K series.

You can earn badges, attributes, and VC anywhere you choose as you level up towards a 99 rating. So that means you can earn everything while just playing in the park or running in Pro-Am. There are now double archetypes and a total of 189 different archetypes.

For example; a shooting guard can be a two-way slasher with the primary archetype driving and finishing while the secondary is defending. You can have a small forward that is a slashing defender with a primary archetype in defending and a secondary in driving in finishing.

Hopefully all these archetypes will allow players to play differently across all the game modes. I’m sure there will be some types that will be overpowered but at least there are a lot of options.

The Neighborhood is an ambitious mode that is sure to face some problems. In previous years the Park servers struggled at launch. Hopefully everything holds up on 2K’s end and this brings in more players.

To me it sounds like a great idea that will eventually get better. I’m worried about the people who actually buy VC to upgrade their players. It’s not exactly fair and maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to be a 99. It’s something cool about actually working to get your rating up.

 

Changes to NBA 2K's MyCareer

I already gave my thoughts on MyCareer in NBA 2K17. It is good mode but it has so many flaws that annoy me. It’s time for 2K to take MyCareer to the next level. In the past I wrote a series of blogs with changes I wanted to see in MyCareer.

The 2K team has many strides in MyCareer with the addition of Justice Young, a fellow draft pick who eventually becomes your best friend on the team. You guys form a bond and create a nickname called, “Orange Juice”. This dynamic needs to be taken further and it is time for 2K to add an expansion team to MyCareer.

Before you get upset and say it is unrealistic. Just remember that as you get drafted in MyCareer, the team that drafts you still picks their real life draft picks plus Justice and Denver. Not to mention you get a new head coach as well. So realism is kind of thrown out the window there.

The cut scenes in MyCareer don’t work because there are only a handful of people that speak. Sometimes heading to the locker room Justice and Pres are talking and your other teammates look weird because they don’t speak. They look happy after a loss or Pres might be venting to them and they have this awkward look on their face.

As a rookie you are supposed to be taking over the league with Justice and that is not realistic; especially when you are on a team with other All-Stars. Rookies just don’t take over a team and lead them to the promise land. However, if it is an expansion team with a few veterans and some really good rookies than it could work.

Just stay with me for a second. In 2K17 there are a bunch of people that talk to Pres. You have your high school coach, college teammate, mom, trainer, head coach, Justice, Denver, Agent, girlfriend, the security guys, the barbershop guys and a few reporters. If you remove the barbershop guys, the high school coach, the mom and even the security guys that is enough voice actors for your teammates and coaching staff.

I’m not a big fan of the college aspect of MyCareer. It’s pointless to me because you don’t get a large amount of VC and it just seems like filler that could be used in something else. It just bothers me that you are this big time player and yet your overall is very low and you are wearing this awful looking sweatpants.

Instead of giving us our attributes we should get a certain amount of points and be able to use them anyway we want. Our overall would be maxed out at let’s say 63. There would be no college but rather three games followed by three workouts. The games are basically used as scouting for the upcoming expansion draft. After every game you have some type of cut scene where you talk with trainers or scouts and they tell you what to work on. After that you can pick something to work on and you actually go practice your moves.

This gives you a better opportunity to actually learn how to play the game and how to play with your player. It also gives you a chance to earn VC and unlock new moves without spending VC.

Instead of having a generic name like Pres. We should be able to select the name we want our team to call us, a name that announcers calls us and of course our twitter handle. This will make the game feel slightly different for everyone that plays the game. I still want different voice actors as well. Different accents from different regions. It would be cool to watch different YouTube commentators and their character has a different voice.

Now if you play MyCareer in 2K17 with play calling on auto then the team will run plays. Some plays will be for you but you have no control over the play calls unless you are the point guard. Some plays are really good while others are pretty bad and take a long time to develop.

With this expansion team they have to develop a playbook. Upon joining the team, the first practice will be about plays that are run for you. The team will run a few basic plays that they might call for you throughout a game. After the practice you are shown about 10-15 plays that are currently in the playbook for you. You should be able to select three favorites at the start.

As your overall gets higher and you play better and establish yourself as the best player on the team then you will get to select more favorites and more plays will be unlocked for you. This should not cost any VC. When you reach a certain point then you can select situational plays, like if you need a basket and your team is down 2 with 15 seconds left.

Off the court you should still get an agent but you should be able to select an agent. This will allow players to earn different endorsements and see different cut scenes. Would you rather have a big pay day but a short contract or do you want to take a lower wage for a longer contract. Again small changes to make the mode feel more personal.

In terms of finding the new “Orange Juice” you should be able to grow your relationship with players on and off the court. I’m sure on every team there are cliques. Not to say everyone isn’t friendly but some bonds are stronger than others. Instead of giving you that person you should be to choose that person. If you are a point guard maybe you want to establish a connection with a center to become a dominate inside-out combination. Or maybe you want to be dominating wing players like Jordan-Pippen or LeBron-Wade. The choice should be yours.

As the team plays better the cut scenes about taking over the league, the billboards and the press conferences would make more sense. The dynamic of the relationship would actually grow and be more believable.

Let’s not forget MyCareer is about YOU as a player. You are supposed to be the best player and lead the team to a title. However, basketball is not an individual sport so you will need help to win a title.

Practice has to change as well. There should be more team practices that focus on running plays with your team. Individual practices should add skill drills. The weight room is cool but after a while it’s boring. There should be details to each drill or activity letting us know what we are working on, so I’m not randomly selecting drills. I should be able to do an activity to focus on my step back jumper, euro step, post moves etc.

There has to be a change to badges and practice could help that. I like the fact that 2K17 limits the amount of gold badges you can have but I don’t like the fact that they give you the badges that can become gold based on your player archetype.

First off you should be able to get 15 gold badges. 2K could still give you advice on what badges to make gold based on your archetype but you should be able to choose what badges you want to become gold since you can earn every badge anyway. Now you use VC to improve the badge to silver. To make a badge gold you should have to go to practice and do “Elite” drills.

As mentioned before there should be skill drills in practice mode. However, when you are going for a gold badge then the drills should change. So if you want to make the Catch and Shoot badge gold then the drill might require you to run around the court hitting shots with a defender in your face or coming off screens and hitting shots. There should be a meter that goes up depending on how you perform in the drill. You shouldn’t be able to do the drill one time and get a gold badge, that’s way too easy. Maybe you have to hit level 3 and then you finally unlock the gold badge. And you can’t perform this “Elite” drill at every practice therefore it will take time to get gold badges. The “Elite” drill has to recharge so maybe it will be available every couple of days.

Depending on your archetype you will get a boost towards certain badges. So shooters will have an easier time getting Deadeye or Catch and Shoot gold while a slasher will have an easier time getting Acrobat or Euro Step gold.

There should be some joy in earning a gold badge or any badge. The use of VC is out of hand because people can just buy it and upgrade their stats all the way up. Let players earn something instead of buying it or spamming their way to it.

I don’t know how many seasons most people play in MyCareer but if it’s only one then there should be plenty of growth throughout the season. By the month of April, you should feel like a completely different player compared to the start of the season. You are still a rookie but your skills should have improved through hard work.

It’s time for NBA 2K to take MyCareer to the next level. This would be dynamic and it would be a more personal story for your player. Let me know what you think about these changes to MyCareer.

Thoughts on NBA 2K17 MyCareer

NBA 2K17’s career mode is good but it still has many flaws that has plagued the series for years. There have been improvements but this mode has so much more potential.

 

Positives

·         Michael B. Jordan aka Justice Young – Instead of giving you a rival to compete against, 2K decided to give you a running mate. This comes in the form of Justice Young, a late round draft pick that joins you on any team that drafts you. I could care less about the on screen performance of MBJ, I like the fact that Justice actually helps you on the court. I find it weird that this late round pick is a lock down defender and a great 3-point shooter who has a better overall than me; a guy drafted right after the lottery but he helps the team. Justice has saved the day many times for my team and it’s good to have a teammate that can really play.

·         Endorsements – In previous games it seemed like it took forever to get any type of endorsement. This time around you get everything pretty quickly. After a few games I got a sneaker deal which allows my player to wear a pair of sneakers during the game although I can’t select which shoes I want to wear. I have gotten big endorsements from Gatorade, Stance, Nike and a few other brands. I don’t know if it was a glitch but I got a big pay day twice from one company. For example, I went to a Gatorade meeting, got 2000 VC, checked my messages and got another 2000 VC from the same event. I like the fact that some endorsements have different levels and you can choose between companies.

·         Body type matters a little bit – It’s not a big deal but your attributes are slightly affected depending on your wingspan, height and weight. Your player won’t look any bigger if you put his weight up but his speed is affected if you add weight.

·         Player Archetypes – This will show up in both positive and negative. On the positive side I like the fact that there are different archetypes to choose from. I like the fact that each type has a main focus and 2K tries to highlight attributes that should matter.

·         Perks – You can get some perks when you take certain meetings. Meeting with the owner unlocks the option to choose your jerseys. It’s not the biggest feature in the world but fans have asked for it. You can also change the arena music; I don’t care about it but again it is cool for the people who use it. You can also create your own jump shot. It’s not a complexed system but you can choose your base and then two releases which you can blend together. These are some cool perks that fans have asked for.

 

Negatives

·         President of Basketball – This name is better than Frequency Vibrations but it is still corny. Everyone calls you “Pres” which seems weird. I guess I would like it if they allowed us to pick from a bunch of names that people could call you. Not just the nicknames they give you but regular names as well. I also dislike the starting attire; those dirty looking sweatpants have to go. Let us choose our default look.

·         Player Archetypes (Attributes cap) – On the negative side each archetype has an attribute cap. The biggest problem with this is you can’t see how high an attribute can actually go. You get a base number, for example I am a SF Sharpshooter and my shooting off dribble can only be increased to level 11 while my 3PT shooting can go to level 25. It doesn’t tell me that my shooting off the dribble can only get to a 71 overall if I max it out. My driving dunk can only go to 60 so I can’t buy a handful on the dunk animations. 2K tried to make sure there were no 6”11 point guards running around but in the process they made it nearly impossible to duplicate any real NBA players.

My ball control is only 71 and it is maxed out, I'm sure there are other shooters out there that can actually dribble.

My ball control is only 71 and it is maxed out, I'm sure there are other shooters out there that can actually dribble.

·         Badges – On top of the attributes caps each archetype can only upgrade 5 badges to silver and gold. It would have been cool if they allowed you to pick which badges you wanted to upgrade.

The only badges I can upgrade.

The only badges I can upgrade.

·         Orange Juice – The addition of Justice Young is a positive but the nickname that you develop with him is just corny. It’s cool that you guys feed off each other but you shouldn’t see the OJ activation every time it happens. Next to your grade it should just say team work activated or something better than OJ.

·         Off-ball movement – The CPU can easily cut back door because it looks they have no added weight to their movement. My player gets stuck if I try to change directions, I find myself having to hold down the sprint button to get around. Also there is constant bumping and no way to cut. They took away that feature for some reason. The screens in this game are also horrible. There is just a lot of wasted movement when it’s off the ball. Only certain plays will allow the defender to run into the screen. The video below is just one example of a failed screen. It happens throughout the game.

·         Grading System – This has been broken for years. If the ball is swung around and I close out on a shooter who is not my man I still get points taken away if my original guy grabs the offensive rebound. If there is a pick-and-roll and I switch I get a points taken away for leaving assignment.

·         Defense – The game wants you to use your sprint button often. If you are running back on defense your player will run regular until you get to the 3-point line and then all of a sudden he will start back pedaling. As I start the back pedal the opponent just cuts back door for an easy layup. They just need to allow you to run back on defense without holding the sprint button. To make matters worse my CPU teammates don’t hustle back on defense and give up easy layups. Off a missed free throw the CPU should not get an easy layup because my guys get lost on defense.

·         Text Messages – It’s cool to get an update but there are so many pointless messages. Your agent sends you a message every time you have a meeting and then he sends a sad face like he’s upset you have a meeting. You get random messages from Justice and he doesn’t say anything. I play for the Bulls and I didn’t even have Jimmy Butler’s phone number but I was talking to everyone else in the league.  

Why is he sad?

Why is he sad?

·         Attributes – They are broken up into categories but there are attributes missing. You can’t upgrade your free throw shooting, stamina or offensive consistency. You can only improve your free throws by going to a “Team Practice” and shoot free throws after the practice. From my experience even after the patch my rating still goes up and down. Sometimes I shoot a FT and I have a 72 rating and then in the same game I could be a 67. How important is your strength attribute or your rebounding attribute? I’ve seen guys grab 12 rebounds with their rebounds at the bottom. Why do I need to upgrade my IQ if I’m playing with my player most of the time? (You can switch to Justice when OJ is activated)

·         VC – This is the game because it makes the company money. There are way too many things that require VC. Attributes, Animations, Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Tattoos, not to mention MyCourt customizations and celebrations. Do I upgrade my shooting or grab a new pair of shorts so my player looks regular? Then there is separate gear for NBA/Pro-Am and MyPark which is ridiculous.

·         Tattoos – Am I the only person who has a problem with these tattoos? Yes, they are in color and you can blend them together but who cares? These are still some of the worst tattoos ever. This is a basketball game and yet there are no basketball tattoos. Look at the Paul George cover, there is a basketball on his arm. Guys who play basketball tend to have some type of basketball tattoo. I don’t know how they can scan these player’s tattoos and not think to add some BASKETBALLS to the tattoo list.

I know there are a lot more negatives than positives but most of them are minor. Fix the attributes, add some basketball related tattoos. There are like 10 different “Girl” tats in this game and not one basketball. This mode is still pretty good but the same flaws seem to crop up year after year.

There is no growth in this game. If you select Sharpshooter that’s all you can be. There are plenty of guys in the league who can knock down threes but can also dunk on your head. My player can’t really dribble the ball at all and I am extremely slow. There are changes that need to be made so you can feel like a more complete NBA player.

Thoughts on Livin' Da Dream

I am only talking about the  Livin’ Da Dream portion of NBA 2K16. I know things are different during the second season but I will not dive into that right now.

This story/movie takes up your entire first season of My Career and I think it is pretty bad. There is nothing special to this story at all. Aside from changing the look of your character we are all the same person; Frequency Vibrations.

Let’s start with this name; it might be one of the worst things in the game. Right off the back we are Freq; a kid from Harlem that has a loving family, a twin sister and a troubled best friend. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Spanish, Asian, Russian or anything else you will have a black twin sister in this game. I wanted 2K to expand the story but I also wanted them to make My Career an international experience. I wanted different voices that represented the millions of people that love the sport of basketball. Not everyone who loves basketball is black and from Harlem.

During the creation process you choose a random high school and then you are eventually recruited to college. 2K did a nice job getting some real colleges in the game but they don’t matter. The biggest problem with this portion of My Career is that none of it matters. You are “Livin’ Da Dream” but you only make two choices throughout the entire experience; high school and college.

In high school you can play bad and you are still talked about as a highly recruited player. It’s a nice touch to have recruiters sell you on their school but it doesn’t matter. Someone told me they thought long and hard about their college decision because they thought it would change the story or maybe add a cinematic cut scene.  Well it doesn’t. You go to school and play in four meaningless college games, yea sure your stock goes up and down after games but it really doesn’t matter. I lost my 3rd game and I thought it would affect my stock or maybe I wouldn’t be able to play in the title game but I was still able to play and win the National Championship.

You play in seven games before you get drafted and I believe you only get VC after the National Championship game. If you didn’t get that Jordan bonus for pre ordering the game then you will most likely be a 55 when you get drafted. All those games and you didn’t get any better is ridiculous.

Before the draft you have this meeting where you randomly have a new girlfriend and it is time to make a decision about going pro. I had another person tell me they wanted to stay in school; I had to tell him he didn’t have a choice. You don’t get any choices in this mode, you have to go pro. Even during the scene where everyone is making a decision for you; the father says that only Freq can make a choice but instead of making a choice you just say a generic line.

Getting drafted gives you one chance to be unique. The commissioner actually calls your real name during the draft which is a cool feeling. It sucks that I can only be from one of those schools in the game instead of Fayetteville State University. But right after the draft the team owner introduces you as Frequency Vibrations. During that scene you get the stupid story of how you got your name and you are reminder that you have a twin sister.

The first season is only eight games, eight pointless games. You can play horrible and in the next scene the team owner will say great game last night. Your annoying agent gets you a sneaker deal real quick and you get all these perks of a superstar while being a bum.

This story took all the choices out of the game. Everyone has the same agent, family, girlfriend and dumb prototype sneaker. We have the same conversations with no twists or surprises. I enjoy watching guys on YouTube but with this story the only difference in their videos was their appearance and the team that drafted them.

The story presents Freq with choices but never the player. There are times when the owner tells you to get rid of Vic; there should be an option to pick your friend or the team. Choices would make the experience different for everyone. Having the same name and story takes me out of the experience. One minute the announcers say Ward and the next they are saying Freq. I don’t want to be Freq at all.

 The first season of My Career doesn’t feel like my career at all. 2K took away all the choices that would make this a unique experience. The family aspect should be gone altogether unless we can change our parents based on our nationality. Let us pick an agent, let us decide to cut our old friends or keep hanging with them and let us suffer the consequences for our decisions.

I want to watch all the different YouTubers and see different scenes because they made specific choices. We should be able to make more choices early and often. They claim we are Livin’ Da Dream but whose dream are we living?