NBA 2K18 Review: A Cash Grab Scam

There are some positive elements and improvements made to this year's installment. But a pay-to-win model overshadows everything,

Another year and another NBA 2K game out on consoles and PC. Is it any good? Is it worth your money? Let’s find out!

NBA 2K is a long-running basketball series from 2K that aims to define what a digital interactive basketball experience needs to be. NBA 2K18 bursts onto the scene with new features and confidence compared to previous year. But the title is far from perfect. The gameplay and graphical presentation is spot on. Each player handles differently and adds depth to the dynamics on the field.

Keeping in mind your player’s strengths and weaknesses matter on the court. Moreover, Developers have successfully managed to blur the lines between  a sports simulator and RPG in Run the Neighborhood mode.

NBA 2K18 Review

However, while gameplay is close to perfection, things take a turn for the worst when you spend more and more time with the game, eventually realizing that it is a major cash grab and a pay-to-win game.

The biggest problem, for me at least, came in the form of changes made to MyCareer mode. I have been playing MyCareer for a couple of years now and never have I felt forced to buy their in-game currency.

What’s interesting is that raising the difficulty level won’t give you a game reward multiplier. Meanwhile, Accolades don’t offer rewards upon completion any more. If you are thinking of buying a new hairsytle, you can’t do so without a preview. What makes this part of the game worse is that most of the hairstyles you get are recyled from the past 3 years.


Pretty much everything is gated by your character’s stats and stat upgrade see a price hike really fast. And stats don’t really mean anything until they are close to max. Stats start at a ridiculous level and there is no way you can actually start scoring from the beginning. You will spend most of the time trying to get as many assist as possible to rank up.

It is a cash grab scam which makes its gameplay improvements irrelevant. Using an F2P model in a full price AAA game should dent 2K’S reputation. But unfortunately, not a single review I have seen makes any mention of this problem so you may go in blind.

For example, clothing accessories are now twice as expensive compared to last year’s installment. You will end up paying up to 2000VC for a shirt or pants. While hairstyles are 2000VC and above. You will need to pay even more for hair colors and tattoos.

To put this into perspective, a single career game will land you 500 to 1000VC depending on your performance and whether or not you win. On the other hand, a MyPark game will get you 300 to 500VC, meaning you would require at least 3 to 4 games (and win) to get a single shirt.

The whole experience was an unnecessary grind to earn VC and it is clear that the entire process is intentionally slowed down. Pretty much all progress systems are tied to your overall attribute rating which costs VC to boost.

The core design of NBA 2K18 revolves around spending VC to boost attributes and since the earning is painstakingly slow and expensive, you will end up spending money to buy VC. The game drains your VC so that you at least consider spending money, which most of us do as 2K makes millions from it every year.

Both MyGM and Career mode suffer from un-skippable cutscenes, the writing is terrible, annoying, and corny to say the least.  To top it off, the optimization on PC couldn’t be worse. The game randomly crashes and servers are in need of improvement.

The game is laggy, stuttery, buggy even when running on a GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, and an i7 – 6700k. But when it works at least it shines as far as gameplay goes, its smooth and 2K has made some notable improvements to character animations. The AI is in a much better shape and does good when playing into signature styles of the team as well as players on offense.

After a long time, 2K devs have made efforts to resolve the fast breaks and rebounding issues. You don’t have to worry about being blocked from behind and defenders won’t be able to cover a large amount of space to defend.

Coming to MyTeam, Pack and Playoffs is a great addition. This simplifies the process by selecting five random players from packs and this group will go against others. Teams you face will have different playstyles so you’ll need to plan and strategize. During the games, you won’t have to worry about subs and any other element and focus on the matches.

There are some positive elements and improvements made to this year’s installment. But a pay-to-win model overshadows everything, and frankly, it is an insult to fans who paid $60.


NBA 2K18

One of the worst monetization model seen in video games.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.