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First impressions of ‘NBA 2K17’

via @NBA2K

If you’re anything like me, you wait anxiously each year for NBA 2K to come out with their most recent game. I’ve been playing the series since 2K11, and it seems like every year it gets a little better. But this year, they really went all out at making the game as good as it can be — with few complaints.

Need a review of the new features, gameplay and some of the interesting tidbits from the game? I’ve been playing it for the last few days, and so far I have a few things I can pass along.

Interesting Notes

Gameplay, understandably, is improved. The graphics are phenomenal, which isn’t anything new to the series. But there are a few things to watch for. Passing is something that takes a bit to get used to, which is overall an improvement. In previous incarnations of the game, the ball pretty much automatically went where you intended it to. Before jumping online to play or kicking MyCareer mode into gear, do some practice games or go to scrimmage.

Notice that throwing an alley-oop was tough in previous incarnations of the game? I’d heard a rumor that the bug was fixed — and it’s true. In just one game, I had some sweet hook-ups between Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler.

Some of the team rankings were odd. The Cleveland Cavaliers were rated way too low as a whole and possibly in some individual rankings, such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls were way too high — fifth overall in the NBA, really? But in general, there were few complaints about individual player ratings. Okay, one complaint, how is Tony Snell a 72? He’s so terrible!

Blacktop Mode

The 2K17 team really upped their game with Blacktop Mode this year, and it might be my absolute favorite thing about the game. First of all, the courts are much cooler than before, and actually say things like “Ballerz” at center court. Much better than the generic courts of the past.

You can also play Blacktop online, which lets you draft a team out of current or historic players — pretty cool, although I’ve noticed that it seems to be slanted towards giving you worse players the majority of the time. That seems to be the experience of others that I’ve seen as well, including in this YouTube video that pretty accurately shows off what Blacktop Mode is all about:

MyCareer

Full disclosure, this is my first time doing MyCareer on a next-gen system, so apologies if I cover something that was in last year’s game, but wow! There is some major detail here. This is the most in-depth game mode I’ve ever experienced in any game. After picking your player style you move on to play your way through college, including a giant on-screen cellphone that lets you communicate with your college coach — because who doesn’t want to go to Duke and constantly get barraged with texts from Coach K?

You work on raising your draft stock while in college, and after waiting to be drafted, you do everything: endorsements, workouts, games, the whole deal. But the really cool and new thing about this is being in college, which is way more comprehensive than I anticipated. If you think the idea of simulating the whole experience is what you really want, not just creating a player and watching them get drafted as was the case in previous MyCareer modes, then this will blow your mind.

Here’s a video I found that shows off one player’s highlights from his first college game:

MyGM

Last but not least is MyGM. It starts with several different options, including using the current league and picking a team, using the current league and adding up to six expansion teams, and creating your own league — which I love — from current teams, expansion teams and historic teams.

Once you’ve decided that, you can start on day one of the 2016-17 regular season or even go back and re-do the last offseason, if you so choose. From there, you select your team and are on your way.

In the basic league mode, your first interaction is with the owner of your team, and he gives you specific instructions on what he’d like to see, based on the state of the team — teams that are likely not going to be good in the first season are more likely to want top draft choices or to trade for young assets. At least that was my experience playing with the Orlando Magic.

From there, you can check out your team game plan, go to scouting or even work on relocating your franchise. You get to go through the entire experience of being a GM, including balancing keeping the owner happy and trying to build a winner.

Creating a new team, either through expansion draft or relocation, in just about any other game in history has always ended up in a really poorly created, fake-looking team. But the preset team logos in NBA 2K17 are actually okay. Here’s another video on MyGM that walks you through team creation and the draft. Notice the Harambe themed team logo (massive eye roll):

 

If you’re an NBA fan and you have a next-gen system, you really shouldn’t be waiting any longer to get this game. I’ve only spent a few hours with it, but so far I’m in love. I can’t wait to take my player through a decade-plus worth of seasons and see where things go, or maybe move a team back to Seattle and bring back the SuperSonics, or just simply mess around with Blacktop Mode.

My suggestion is to block out a serious amount of time to play around with this game, because I’ve only had it a few days and I’ve still barely scratched the surface.

First impressions of ‘NBA 2K17’

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