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NBA 2K18 Hands-On Impressions - Gameplay, Graphics & Animation (Forbes)

NBA 2K18

NBA 2K18 Hands-On Impressions - Gameplay, Graphics & Animation (Forbes)

Brian Mazique, over at Forbes, has posted his NBA 2K18 hands-on impressions, from his recent trip to 2K Sports headquarters. The article has quite a few details on dribbling, defending, passing, A.I., animations and much more. Make sure to give it a read and post your thoughts.

The ACE system that controls the A.I. of CPU-controlled defenders has taken a huge leap. You’ll notice defenders taking away passing lanes more aggressively. They may entry passes into the post a little more difficult and cutters cannot flash the lane without some recognition.

That said, the A.I. also pays attention to the defender’s awareness rating and whether they’re looking at the ball. If a defender’s head is turned, he will not react on a play until he is looking at the action.

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  1. "That said, the A.I. also pays attention to the defender's awareness rating and whether they're looking at the ball. If a defender's head is turned, he will not react on a play until he is looking at the action.
    It's pretty slick and it's one of those things you wouldn't notice unless it is brought to your attention."

    Very interesting :y11:
    Why can't this game up out any sooner :y5::y5::y5:

    In NBA 2K18, there are noticeable improvements on both fronts. I found the dribble moves far more intuitive. There's a bigger gap in skill between the elite ballhandlers and the guys who are good, average and below average.


    That said, the A.I. also pays attention to the defender's awareness rating and whether they're looking at the ball. If a defender's head is turned, he will not react on a play until he is looking at the action.

    These are the two that stood out to me most. That's good to hear, specifically regarding the AI needing to see something happen to react to it.
    I think 2K has promoted the AI's need to visually see the ball in the past. My only issue with this is it seems a bit of an excuse to allow all the ludicrous interior passing, where they leave their man wide open under the basket.
    The three things I have not seen anyone comment on..
    1. CPU psycic defens with all the warping/stone wall animations that accompany it.
    2. Defense in the paint (defenders leaving man wide open)
    3. Defensive rotations (and individual defensive adjustments working properly)
    These are by far the most important gameplay topics to me.
    IamAdderlyn
    Nothing about the archetypes yet?
    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

    Doubt we'll see anything about that for at least another week. Wasn't it about 2 weeks prior to release last year that they dropped career stuff?
    SteveQ
    "Without question, this is the best looking 2K ever." I'm excited to see full gameplay. I think it'll be the best looking one as well

    I hope this isn't just recency bias. I was watching some 2k14 videos and it's just so nice looking compared to 2k16 and 17. Player models def look great, but lighting and textures are still to be seen from a gameplay camera.
    "For example, the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard is using a pick set by Ed Davis, but Al-Farooq Aminu flashes in the lane from the wing and Dame tried to whip a pass to him through an open window.
    I tapped the button to pass it to him while he was open, but Lillard doesn't deliver the ball when I wanted him to, so now Aminu's momentum carries him away from the open area, or the pass doesn't get through because it's deflected by a defender who recognizes an opponent is free in the lane."
    Didn't like reading this. It's becoming a legacy issue with this generation. Slow and predictable animations are part of the problem with 2K right now in my opinion. Teams recover from double teams and back door cuts etc far too easily because of this delay. Unfortunately this might be 2K17.5 when it comes to gameplay mechanics, or maybe I'm speaking prematurely. Hopefully the latter.
    raiderphantom
    "For example, the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard is using a pick set by Ed Davis, but Al-Farooq Aminu flashes in the lane from the wing and Dame tried to whip a pass to him through an open window.
    I tapped the button to pass it to him while he was open, but Lillard doesn't deliver the ball when I wanted him to, so now Aminu's momentum carries him away from the open area, or the pass doesn't get through because it's deflected by a defender who recognizes an opponent is free in the lane."
    Didn't like reading this. It's becoming a legacy issue with this generation. Slow and predictable animations are part of the problem with 2K right now in my opinion. Teams recover from double teams and back door cuts etc far too easily because of this delay. Unfortunately this might be 2K17.5 when it comes to gameplay mechanics, or maybe I'm speaking prematurely. Hopefully the latter.

    We know what the issue is that Brian's describing with the pass delay. We fixed it today.
    Same with the missed layups. That was actually fixed before the dev session but didn't make it into their build in time.
    Beluba
    We know what the issue is that Brian's describing with the pass delay. We fixed it today.
    Same with the missed layups. That was actually fixed before the dev session but didn't make it into their build in time.

    Please just give us a hint of gameplay :y220:
    My issue with gameplay always comes down to how it is 2-3 months after release... I'll admit, 2k16 & 2k17 were freaking amazing at launch...but all it took was a couple of patches to completely derail the game & take the "control" away from the user.
    My fear is that the same thing will eventually happen this year
    Im dead keen to hear more about this system where you have to put your players in the appropriate sets otherwise they'll have ratings drops.
    When combined with what Mike Lowe said about bad defenders reacting poorly on defense, and this, it seems 2K is trying to differentiate good and bad BBIQ players.
    Smirkin Dirk
    Im dead keen to hear more about this system where you have to put your players in the appropriate sets otherwise they'll have ratings drops.
    When combined with what Mike Lowe said about bad defenders reacting poorly on defense, and this, it seems 2K is trying to differentiate good and bad BBIQ players.

    These 2 things to me mean a Czar and OG blog surely.
    If I recall correctly they didn't do one last year..... interestingly enough.
    Shame because those 2 blogging is like Morpheus fighting Neo ☺
    MarkWilliam
    These 2 things to me mean a Czar and OG blog surely.
    If I recall correctly they didn't do one last year..... interestingly enough.
    Shame because those 2 blogging is like Morpheus fighting Neo ☺

    A guy on twitter asked Czar and this was his reply.
    "Thank you. I have no idea, not my decision, Hopefully."
    Smirkin Dirk
    A guy on twitter asked Czar and this was his reply.
    "Thank you. I have no idea, not my decision, Hopefully."

    Speaks volumes that they didn't let those guys loose last year. Considering what the end result was.
    Back to your previous point, I hope teams don't just ACE into new systems after the first timeout to suit their players.
    e.g; Knicks start with triangle but finish with whatever else for every game
    Teams stick to the coaches system until coaches are dumped in most cases. Hope this is replicated because it'll be great if so.
    Everything sounds promising. I had some major gripes in 2K17 that I really hope were addressed...
    - Players sliding into position to receive passes without moving their feet, especially during inbound passes after a change of possession. Huge eyesore and immersion killer.
    - Every player sticking to you like glue on defense when playing against the CPU. This is fine for elite defenders like Kawai, Tony Allen, etc..., but even below average defenders would constantly stick to you which made the game frustrating to play at times. Overall the on ball defense needs to be loosened up a little except for elite defenders.
    - Getting stuck in 2 man unbreakable animation sequences. Too many times you will get stuck in an animation & not be able to move or go where you want on the floor. It's really glaring during pick n roll sequences. It's like there are invisible force fields on the court at times taking control away from the user.
    - CPU ball handlers dribbling the ball in a defenders face without protecting the ball. 2K really needs to add contextual awareness to it's A.I. so CPU knows to protect the ball when in the proximity of a defender.
    - Selective ball tangibility. If 2K is not going to make the ball 100% tangible at all times in fear that casuals will complain about too many steals, at least give us sim style players a ball tangibility slider that works. If I turn ball tangibility up to 100, I expect the ball to be 100% tangible at all times. I know there's a steal success slider in the game but it doesn't make the ball 100% tangible when putting it on 100. This is sorely needed in the game.
    - CPU defensive A.I. logic. In 2K17 I could literally run a pick n roll all game without the CPU adjusting or making proper rotations.
    - Lack of speed differential. Simply put, there's no way a big should be able to keep up with a Russell Westbrook or LeBron in the open floor. 2K tried to remedy this by slowing down the trailing players on fast breaks, but instead of putting a band aid on the problem, just make speed truly matter.
    These are the biggest gameplay issues in my opinion that must be addressed.
    Beluba
    We know what the issue is that Brian's describing with the pass delay. We fixed it today.
    Same with the missed layups. That was actually fixed before the dev session but didn't make it into their build in time.

    Thanks. Just dont let them talk you into making every big an elite finisher around the rim. Since we all know some bigs cant score outside of dunks, and rarely finish in traffic. Great work on all the yearly improvements.
    Beluba,
    Can you expound a little more on this?
    After every shot you'll see a small box near the top of the screen that tells you your release was very late, late, good, very good or excellent, which is a green release. Right next to that reading is a field that tells you your player was smothered, heavily-contested, contested, open or wide open.

    Are you guys using more stats to simulate the effectiveness of defense on a deeper level than before? Basically on the level of what you can find on NBA.com detailed out? Is there a risk reward for playing too tight defense on shooters more fouling?
    I hope dribbling is something close to the Prelude 17. That was about the best 2K has ever been in dribbling mechanics, user control and CPU defense in my opinion.
    stillfeelme
    Beluba,
    Can you expound a little more on this?
    Are you guys using more stats to simulate the effectiveness of defense on a deeper level than before? Basically on the level of what you can find on NBA.com detailed out? Is there a risk reward for playing too tight defense on shooters more fouling?
    I hope dribbling is something close to the Prelude 17. That was about the best 2K has ever been in dribbling mechanics, user control and CPU defense in my opinion.

    the coverage feedback is very helpful and something I'm hoping will help educate users on the quality of the shots they're taking. The metrics are similar to what you find on nba.com but account for more factors (height differential, defender ability, distance/line to the shooter, angle, facing, quality of the contest, badges, and more.) Those factors are then translated to a defensive score that generates one of the feedback categories: (Smothered, Heavily Contested, Lightly Contested, Open, Wide Open) and determines how much of a bonus or penalty is applied to the shot chance. There are a ton of other factors that go into shot making, but that's the gist of the Shot Feedback system.
    Beluba
    We know what the issue is that Brian's describing with the pass delay. We fixed it today.
    Same with the missed layups. That was actually fixed before the dev session but didn't make it into their build in time.

    Good to know. If B/circle controls players off the ball, are there still manual dribble handoffs you can activate or was that feature removed?
    Beluba
    the coverage feedback is very helpful and something I'm hoping will help educate users on the quality of the shots they're taking. The metrics are similar to what you find on nba.com but account for more factors (height differential, defender ability, distance/line to the shooter, angle, facing, quality of the contest, badges, and more.) Those factors are then translated to a defensive score that generates one of the feedback categories: (Smothered, Heavily Contested, Lightly Contested, Open, Wide Open) and determines how much of a bonus or penalty is applied to the shot chance. There are a ton of other factors that go into shot making, but that's the gist of the Shot Feedback system.

    Oh wow this sounds very nice i might leave that on then. Thanks for the feedback
    The offensive A.I. was really good last year, but there's now a system match component that tells you how well suited each of your players are to run the scheme of their head coach.
    If you go into the settings, you can see a meter that ranges from green to red based on their level of comfort. I looked at the Knicks' setup and it said head coach Jeff Hornacek was running the triangle and it was his preferred system.
    Only one of the players on the floor graded well in this system, thus the team would not perform to the best of their abilities. You can even cycle through the offensive sets and there's a star rating that will grade the fit for the lineup.
    It's an amazing tool that may go unnoticed.

    This sounds very similar to something I had requested to Da_Czar a couple years back, similar to how Madden re-rates players based off of scheme and fit. Small addition but I like this, should add another wrinkle to MyGM/MyLeague when trying to effectively build a roster.
    JKSportsGamer1984
    Everything sounds promising. I had some major gripes in 2K17 that I really hope were addressed...
    - Players sliding into position to receive passes without moving their feet, especially during inbound passes after a change of possession. Huge eyesore and immersion killer.
    - Every player sticking to you like glue on defense when playing against the CPU. This is fine for elite defenders like Kawai, Tony Jefferson, etc..., but even below average defenders would constantly stick to you which made the game frustrating to play at times. Overall the on ball defense needs to be loosened up a little except for elite defenders.
    - Getting stuck in 2 man unbreakable animation sequences. Too many times you will get stuck in an animation & not be able to move or go where you want on the floor. It's really glaring during pick n roll sequences. It's like there are invisible force fields on the court at times taking control away from the user.
    - CPU ball handlers dribbling the ball in a defenders face without protecting the ball. 2K really needs to add contextual awareness to it's A.I. so CPU knows to protect the ball when in the proximity of a defender.
    - Selective ball tangibility. If 2K is not going to make the ball 100% tangible at all times in fear that casuals will complain about too many steals, at least give us sim style players a ball tangibility slider that works. If I turn ball tangibility up to 100, I expect the ball to be 100% tangible at all times. I know there's a steal success slider in the game but it doesn't make the ball 100% tangible when putting it on 100. This is sorely needed in the game.
    - CPU defensive A.I. logic. In 2K17 I could literally run a pick n roll all game without the CPU adjusting or making proper rotations.
    - Lack of speed differential. Simply put, there's no way a big should be able to keep up with a Russell Westbrook or LeBron in the open floor. 2K tried to remedy this by slowing down the trailing players on fast breaks, but instead of putting a band aid on the problem, just make speed truly matter.
    These are the biggest gameplay issues in my opinion that must be addressed.

    Everything here is what I've constantly complained about, mentally. I'm not as deep into the game as you or the majority of you guys but these issues are definitely glaring to me when playing 2K17, and then some.
    I still love the game despite it's flaws and it doesn't deter me from playing or enjoying it but I would definitely love to see these issues addressed.
    The foul sensitivity in the lane is almost perfect, although the amount of fouls called on shot contests from behind might need to be turned down just a tad. In the build I played, this was almost an automatic whistle, even when there didn't appear to be any contact.

    I hope that they don't turn this down.. Who is contesting shots from behind anyways? Shooters must have room to land. I really hope that we will see more fouls this year in general and in 2k17 there were defenders landing on shooters were no foul was called.
    raiderphantom
    Good to know. If B/circle controls players off the ball, are there still manual dribble handoffs you can activate or was that feature removed?

    He said in a different thread the manual dribble handoffs are still in.
    Okay, there's one thing that I really have to know, as it was a feature that got removed for seemingly no reason:
    For off-ball players on offense, are we once again able to use/flick the right stick for 'jukes/fakes' on off-ball movement around the court? If not, why in the world was this feature ever taken out in the first place?
    Da_Czar
    It is a menu option either offball control or handoffs you get to choose.
    Sent from my iPad using Operation Sports

    Czar- How is the off-ball movement this year..
    1. Are freelances/plays programmed to setup quicker?
    2. Was there an emphasis on offball movement with regards to players moving around the floor with more purpose and sense of urgency? (Eliminating all the bumping and players muddling together and breaking down plays)
    Thanks!
    I feel like similar things have been said before and we know how it turned out.
    What about fast break defense? Is the AI programmed to turn and face the perimeter upon passing the freethrow line mid chasedown like they do now?
    Even if it starts great it can still be patched to death.
    No black hole effect might lead to people saying 'screens don't work' next thing you know it's a black hole effect.
    Brick Wall nerf might get patched and become over buffed.
    AI defenders doing things, idk about that. AI defenders were said to do things this year that they don't.
    Point is hands on impressions rarely stay relevant throughout the year, I want to see what improvements have been made that can't or won't be patched.
    ch46647
    Czar- How is the off-ball movement this year..
    1. Are freelances/plays programmed to setup quicker?
    2. Was there an emphasis on offball movement with regards to players moving around the floor with more purpose and sense of urgency? (Eliminating all the bumping and players muddling together and breaking down plays)
    Thanks!

    I look forward to hearing opinions on what yall think but this was definitely a point of emphasis. How much it has improved is best judged by you guys.
    As I have said pretty consistently as the movement improves the offensive execution will follow. The intricate play designs put a lot of pressure on movement that other games don' yet have to deal with on both sids of the ball, so the more it improves the more of the work we put in will shine through.
    Sent from my iPad using Operation Sports
    I'd love to know if plays out of a timeout got some love.
    I know this is wishful thinking, but I would LOVE to see diagrams of sets to choose from (like what a coach would draw on a clipboard). Almost like the series of plays you choose from in Madden.
    This would really add to end of game plays.
    MarkWilliam
    I'd love to know if plays out of a timeout got some love.
    I know this is wishful thinking, but I would LOVE to see diagrams of sets to choose from (like what a coach would draw on a clipboard). Almost like the series of plays you choose from in Madden.
    This would really add to end of game plays.

    That would be nice.
    Although, there is a practise plays feature in the new MyGM/ML modes now which will be a major help.
    Harrypotheadd
    I miss the days when the game that we purchased at launch, was the same game that we played throughout the entire year

    But every year (after the 3-day honeymoon) people are complaining how broken the game is. Then after 2-3 months (and 3-4 patches) it's "unplayable and they should have never touched it, it was perfect at release!".
    Thank you for all of this info especially the TOWEL!! thank god they put it this time.
    but my concern is, they did not address:
    *slow driving lay up for PG (especially I.T) did they fix this? and also that slow dunk animation or shot under the basket, like its waiting to be block..can somebody confirm if this is fix????
    *running for fastbreak making you slow bcoz of that magnetic pull from the defense.
    *halftime??anything new?
    *Replays?? please tell me they make a new highlight replay showing the whole thing..at least in 2 different cams like how it should be.
    and please tell me that there is a slider for clothing. like how Iverson dress up coz not all wants to look like a xxl mumble rappers.
    Thank you.
    I hope the passing & catching is quicker/smoother this year. Modern NBA is becoming more about ball movement moreso than iso these days, so it would be nice to be able to execute quick passes around the perimeter and use ball movement as the edge to your offense rather than isos and postups. Post-up offense is getting slowly phased out now, because defensive switching schemes have become so sophisticated that postups are less effective now.
    Speaking of modern NBA defense. Defensive switching is the name of the game in the NBA now. So i hope the AI's defensive self-awareness is improved in 2k18. Last year the cpu (on your own team) made some weird switching decisions. Maybe it would help the devs to bring in an NBA assistant coach or something to help with basketball philosophy. :)
    Harrypotheadd
    My issue with gameplay always comes down to how it is 2-3 months after release... I'll admit, 2k16 & 2k17 were freaking amazing at launch...but all it took was a couple of patches to completely derail the game & take the "control" away from the user.

    Totally. That has happened 2 years in a row now. Why is that?? I remember really enjoying 2k17 straight out of the box. Then it became sluggish, unresponsive and frustrating to play after the patches. And it seems like a consensus opinion around here too. Then why does it happen? Is it because they're trying to stop the online cheesers from dominating? I wouldn't know, i only play against the CPU. Honest question...
    Also i wonder what running looks like this year? They've never really been able to nail the "full sprint" look/feel of a player. The aerobic mechanics don't make it look like the player is exuding full energy when running at top speed. It always kinda looks like a hover/jog. I'm hoping this is the year
    Wait, they're still releasing this game on the PS3 and Xbox 360??
    That by far was the most eye catching sentence in entire article for me. 

    That said, the A.I. also pays attention to the defender's awareness rating and whether they're looking at the ball. If a defender's head is turned, he will not react on a play until he is looking at the action.

    That's it. That's all I needed to read to know I'm gonna love this game again.
    Nothing annoyed me more than knowing a made a great pass and seeing a defender make the PERFECT play on the ball despite them being beat by a cutting player off ball. Just doesn't happen when you're scrambling back on defense unless you get lucky.

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