Years of griping about basketball have finally worked to my advantage and we’ve got one of the best versions of NBA 2K ever this season. But the key to being the best and sustaining is knowing that the journey is about constant growth. If you’re not getting better, then you’re just wasting away. Standing as the sole competitor in this corner of gaming, it would be easy for 2K to remain stagnant. Here’s my take on how to prevent such stagnation.
1. “Guaranteed Momentum Shifts:” I stand by that this addition was made in the last few years. My boys brushed me off when I initially started to notice and reference it because I’m notorious for writing people off as trash. But once they started to realize it, it’s been accepted as being a thing. I’ve seen teams turn what 2K’s intended to be a mini-shift into a game-changing run based solely on the video game and not user ability. Sure, when the intent was to keep people playing it worked. But now with the punishment for quitting games being all out of whack — that I won’t even complain about this article — it’s pointless and a bit frustrating. I’m still trying to accomplish a 100 point victory in Pro-Am.
2. Random Variance Nonsense: I mean…. really? These are supposed to be professional athletes, most of which have been playing basketball for at least 10-plus years. A three foot pass isn’t going nine feet in the air, and the receiver isn’t going to jump in the complete opposite direction the ball is being thrown. I get what is trying to be accomplished here, but no. The ball being a little bit off-target and the receiver possibly having to change his route? Yes. Me being a 95-overall point guard throwing away passes for nothing other than animations?
3. Reaching Overkill: Sure. Punish guys who spam the steal button the whole time. But let’s be consistent. I swear, I get away with tons of contact when guarding the ball up the floor. However, let me be in good position, not making any contact and then reach just once. WHISTLE! I shudder to think about the number of times my team has done everything right defensively, only for someone to reach once, the video and audio both support that ball was what was hit, yet the foul is called anyway.
4. Illegal Screens: Maybe I haven’t done the best job of keeping up with the plans 2K has but this particular critique is in reference to Pro-Am. I’m not of the ilk that thinks this concept is unbeatable. I’ve adjusted to and stopped the cheese from happening. It’s more a matter of playing with the right people who know what to do than anything else, but it’s frustrating to have to deal with on a game-to-game basis. The offense is already overpowering this year. Aiding the opposing team with illegal screens makes the game almost unplayable at times.
5. Artificial Intelligence: There’s definitely some tweaks that need to happen here. Regardless of skill level, the AI playing with you are never as smart or basketball savvy as the opposing team, primarily in MyCareer. Seeing guys miss wide-open lanes or read the play incorrectly is bad enough as it is at the professional level. Going back to the other end to watch the CPU play with 73-and-9-like laser focus and picking apart your defense can lend itself to quite a bit of frustration.
…Now, I’ve never been big on caveats, but this is important. In recent years as competition has dissipated, 2K has made claims of being the most realistic and authentic basketball game on the market. These critiques are all in response to that. Of course, I’m well aware this is a video game and there’s going to be limitations that just cant be overcome in a year’s time. I like the trajectory the franchise is on though. The foundation laid last year and the changes so far this year lend themselves to optimism — something I’ve regularly been very selective with allowing with video games.
What do you think needs to be done with NBA 2K17’s gameplay? Sound off with your suggestions below!