NBA 2K18 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Athanasios 05.11.2017

Review for NBA 2K18 on PlayStation 4

Like it or not, videogames aren't just that; they are also consumer products, and, as such, must be criticised for more than the quality of their gameplay, audio-visuals, and general amount of polish - especially when those said products are sports games, as these tend to frequently be nothing more than cash grabs. Does the same happen with NBA 2K18? Is it the same thing all over with a slightly better-looking coat of paint poured over it? See for yourself, as Cubed3 reviews it for the PS4, after taking a good look at it on the Switch.

Compared to other major sports titles, the NBA 2K series is probably the biggest when it comes to content and sheer flash, as it's probably the finest looking one of its generation - it knows it, and it uses that to its advantage. Unfortunately, its focus in flare has done something to its substance… not to mention that the flare bit suffers quite a bit, too. This becomes clear as day in NBA 2K18's "flagship" mode, MyCareer, where the player throws a customised avatar in, and then tries to reach NBA stardom.

To a certain degree, this is basically the "Story" mode, but, to tell the truth, the presentation can be quite cringy most of the time… at least, depending on personal tastes. Other than that, NBA 2K18 includes a hub world called The Neighborhood (why not, 'The Hood,' Visual Concepts?), which is basically just a bunch of menus for online players to engage with other ballers or spend money. This could help with the whole immersion aspect, but it sort of looks like an MMO hub, with tons of similar-looking zombies just standing around like morons.

Screenshot for NBA 2K18 on PlayStation 4

The real problem, however, is the amount of micro-transactions required to do things, with the alternative being a couple of hundred hours of grinding. That's a major issue with many modern games, and especially online ones, but this has really crossed the line here. Yes, theoretically, it's possible to do pretty much anything through grinding for the virtual currency, but it makes things extremely boring. Note that this isn't just a flaw, but a major one. The second issue is - what else? - the fact that it makes the typical sin of annually released videogames - it doesn't really add much. In other words, it feels like a rip-off. Thankfully, and while the changes are just a few in number, they manage to actually improve the already great core of it all.

Screenshot for NBA 2K18 on PlayStation 4

Controlling the baller is better than before, with some particular moves like dribbling or stealing a ball feeling a lot more natural and fluid. Sadly, the offence is generally much more fine-tuned than the defence, as many times you don't "feel" the mistakes you've made. Fortunately, that's not really something that ruins the experience as a whole.

The opponent AI has also improved a lot, which is certainly a good thing for those who found the opponents of the previous title to be very predictable, so expect NBA 2K18 to not accept many cheap moves this time around. Furthermore, many of the stars of the roster seem to have their own unique AI and, as a result, many will feel as if they are actually playing against those NBA players.

Screenshot for NBA 2K18 on PlayStation 4

In conclusion, this is certainly a sports title worth your time… but only if you care more about the actual gameplay rather than the single-player modes available, as they feel like a step down from before, and the way the micro-transactions are handled is downright insulting to consumers - as if this wasn't quite expensive already. This basically means that even if you do happen to not mind all these, there's only one true way to enjoy NBA 2K18: with friends. Yes, the gameplay is not that much different than before, but it's good enough for calling a bunch of your buddies, grabbing two dozen beers, and losing yourselves in these beautifully-rendered basketball courts.

Screenshot for NBA 2K18 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


To all the NBA fans out there: hold your horses! In no way is NBA 2K18 a bad game, but it's certainly not worth its current price-tag, as the few improvements it offers are simply not enough, and, secondly, its sub-par single-player portion relies too much on micro-transactions. That being said, it can certainly feel as if it's the perfect basketball title for some couch party fun.


Visual Concepts







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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