NBA 2K17 review
The latest entry in the NBA 2K series is out in stores everywhere. Should you buy NBA 2K17?
Find our recommendations below.
Ben Eagle: Expansion. The most detailed franchise mode on the market goes even deeper in 2K17. The most exciting addition? Expansion teams. Want to bring the Supersonics back to Seattle? Done. Want to honor Harambe with a professional basketball franchise? The Harambaes are just a click away. And if you don’t see a design you like, you can start from scratch, creating everything from the team logo to the arena.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. 2K nails every detail of expansion. Player protection for existing teams, expansion drafts to fill out the new team rosters, a smart draft lottery that grows as the league grows—it’s all there.
Sure, it’s going to take a few seasons for your new Sonics to contend (remember that Year 1 Bobcats’ roster?), but that’s part of the fun. For players seeking a new challenge, this is a welcome addition.
Allen Kim: MyGM. Where do I even start? NBA 2K17 is packed with so many great features that it’s hard to settle on just one, but if I had to pick just one, I’ll go with MyGM.
My choice of MyGM could very well be tied to the fact that I’m a Knicks fan. I constantly dream about what it would be like if the Knicks were run by a competent GM and owner. With MyGM, I get to do exactly that as I take the reins and attempt to fix the mess that is the Knicks.
MyGM gives you control of pretty much every aspect of running a franchise, and they’ve even added the option for expansion teams this year (see above). From creating precise substitution patterns to protecting draft picks in trades, the best franchise mode in sports has only gotten better.
Eagle: Cutscenes. MyCareer mode went full Hollywood in 2016 with Spike Lee running the show. 2K17 goes to that well again with Creed writer/director Aaron Covington and the movie’s leading actor Michael B. Jordan, directing and leading the MyCareer mode action. While I’ve only scratched the surface with this new story, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far.
The problem (and one of the biggest reasons I haven’t made it very far) is the pacing. MyCareer mode emphasizes the cinematic to create theater. On first blush, this is great. Little vignettes like your player walking off the court take you closer to the game than ever before. But after a while the cutscenes really start to slow the game down, and you’re unable to skip many of them. This is a killer flaw of the game. Think about it: You’re supposed to play this game throughout the 2016-17 season. If you aren’t sick of the pregame show and cutscenes now, you will be.
Kim: MyCareer. It’s pretty clear that a lot of time was spent developing the MyCareer mode. There are some great ideas here, and by all accounts, it is a huge improvement over the Spike Lee joint from NBA 2K16–but it still needs some work.
Something plaguing this mode (and other parts of the game) is not having the option to skip cutscenes or cycle through dialogue. I understand that 2K wants you to experience the story, but it’s simply too time consuming to sit through cutscene after cutscene. The idea of living the life of a star NBA player and immersing yourself into that world is great. However, people generally just want to get on the court and play some ball.
Leveling up your player is also a chore. You have to spend hours grinding away in practice drills to raise your skill level, which can quickly become tiring. And if you’re strapped for currency, attending fan and promotional events to gain more seems like a waste of time.
The MyCareer mode will likely be divisive among fans of the game. It offers you a unique experience, but the journey to NBA superstardom is painfully slow.
Should You Buy It?
Eagle: If you don’t already own 2K16. While 2K17 is a good game, it's really just a subtle improvement over last year’s version. If you’re looking to jump into the 2K series for the first time, buying 2K17 is a no-brainer. If you’re a lifelong fan of the series, it’s a harder sell. League expansion is fun, MyCareer is improved and the game mechanics and graphics meet the typically high standards of 2K. But there’s no one standout feature or improvement that makes this a must-buy for me.
Kim: No question. While I have played my fair share of games of NBA 2K over the last few years, I must disclose that I have not owned a copy of NBA 2K since 2K14. That drought aside, I consider myself to be a lifelong fan of the series and have poured countless hours into this series over the last decade.
If you’re a hardcore hoops head, this is an easy decision (and your only option, really). The NBA 2K series has long reigned supreme as the gold standard for sports games. They’ve nailed the hardcourt experience for years, and it’s certainly no different here. Like Madden, there has been a lot of fine tuning under the hood over the years, and the gameplay truly shines here. Add in all the different modes and features, and the replay value alone on this game makes it well worth your money.