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Review: NBA 2K17 takes flight for a powerful slam dunk

03 Oct 16

NBA 2K17 continues 2K Sports' excellent NBA 2K franchise. Subtle changes make this game the most realistic portrayal of the sport to date. 

Ever since NBA 2K11, 2K Sports has upped the ante in the basketball video game market and has never looked back. Millions of gamers jumped off of EA's NBA Live bandwagon and has played NBA 2K video games exclusively ever since. 2K17 solidifies that the series is the best basketball simulator. 

In older NBA 2K titles, it was easy to just sprint and go for a dunk all of the time. This year's game further simulates the real sport as the A.I. is smarter and will hustle to defend the hoop more diligently than in recent years. Not to mention recent updates to the roster ensure you cannot score three pointers all of the time. 

The small gameplay changes in NBA 2K17 are small, but very significant. New to the game is a new and improved shot meter. Instead of trying to find the sweet spot while shooting, you now just have to let go of the right stick when the bar meter is full. It makes shooting in this game somewhat easier than in the past. 

2K Sports also added a small indicator to let you know how successful you will be when you go for a shot. A small bar underneath the player will show up to let you know if you are clear to shoot. This is helpful as it let's you know if defenders might be in the way or if you are stable enough to go for a shot. 

Another small but significant change is defense. You can now hound players by holding down the left trigger and this allows you to block them or even go for a steal. I also noticed that the physics and collision detection is far more realistic this time around. I'm usually an active player and love to get in player's faces all of the time, although I got a lot of fouls due to the new physics system. 

The small changes aren't just in the gameplay as the visuals in NBA 2K17 have also had a little facelift. The NBA 2K series has always had great graphics, but this year the character models look even more freakishly realistic. I noticed that with this year's game, players sweat more than ever before and they have more expressions in their faces.

In terms of new content, several teams have been added to this year's game. Australians will love the fact that their national national basketball team has been included. Sadly, the Tall Blacks seem to have been forgotten, although several other nations are present. Both of the 2016 and 1992 USA teams are here too, although the latter was only available as a pre-order bonus. 

Returning to the series are the popular MyGM, MyLeague and MyTeam modes. Nothing has really changed from these three modes, but several improvements have been made to make fans happy. My favourite mode in the entire game is MyCareer and this has changed for the better. 

In last year's game, MyCareer mode was boring because you had to watch a redundant "drama" scripted by Spike Lee. The cutscenes were way too long and sometimes the drama wasn't even about basketball. 2K17 is a huge improvement as the story is more about basketball and the cutscenes are far shorter in length. 

The MyCareer mode also allows you to play through some college teams before you get drafted into the NBA. You can also scan your own face into the game using a smartphone. The results vary as sometimes the app may not scan your face properly and you could end up looking like a different person!

Overall, NBA 2K17 may not be that much different to NBA 2K16, but the small changes make it a better game. The gameplay is more realistic and the MyCareer mode is more enjoyable. If you love basketball, it's worth picking this game up because it's by far the closest you'll ever get to experiencing what it's like being an NBA player. 

Verdict: 9.0/10


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