NBA 2K17 Review

Richard Walker

2K Sports' unrivalled NBA franchise has enjoyed a succession of gimmicks to slap on the box over the past few years. Michael Jordan in the game, Jay Z on-board as producer, Pharrell Williams creating the playlist, Spike Lee directing the MyCareer mode. NBA 2K17 has no such gimmicks this time around, meaning the gameplay and usual suite of modes really speak for themselves this year. There's no one named Frequency Vibrations, no celebrity endorsements splashed all over the menus; just another exemplary game of basketball. Oh, wait! Michael B. Jordan of Creed fame is in the game. I knew there was something.

There's also a dude who calls himself 'Pres' as the star of NBA 2K17's MyCareer mode. Shorthand for 'Mr. President' (that's you), Pres is MyCareer's latest rising star and protagonist, whose journey from college basketball to the big leagues and ultimately into the NBA Hall of Fame (if you're good enough) is much the same as what you'll have already played for the past few years. You could say the same for the lion's share of NBA 2K17. It's starting to feel like 2K and Visual Concepts know this stuff inside out now, and consequently, NBA 2K17 is still brilliant, but it's not a particularly big step forward over 2K16 or even 2K15.

Putting in work in at practice sessions with Justice will boost your skills.

NBA 2K17 is more of the same, but honed and polished to within an inch of its life. As ever, MyCareer remains the crux of the game, your created player rising up the ranks from his draft into the NBA to superstar sub, starting five fixture and then hopefully an All-Star one day. It's as involving and enjoyable as ever, structured similarly to NBA 2K16's Spike Lee Joint, as Pres interacts with various characters, building relationships and a following on social networks. There's a narrative holding the whole thing together too, as you follow the ups and downs of Pres' career and his relationship with teammate Justice Young, played by Creed, Fantastic Four, Fruitvale Station and The Wire star, Michael B. Jordan.

Between playing NBA games as Pres, you'll put in time at the gym, practicing the essentials to earn VC that can then be spent on upgrading your core skills or on apparel, customisation items, animations, consumable cards to boost your performance or whatever else takes your fancy. Either way, you'll need to boost your skills to make an impact on the court and attract social network followers, sponsorship deals and so on. Once again, said skills on the court are constantly graded while playing, your grade increasing with smart passes, smart shot choices, good spacing and efficient defensive play.

Consistently putting in a strong performance means you'll work your way up within your team and gain increased notoriety. If this all makes it sound like MyCareer is business as usual, it is for the most part, but there's a far greater emphasis on optional practice sessions to boost your abilities. That's not necessarily a bad thing, although the constant loop of practice and matches, interspersed with brief moments of levity with your buddies, can become a little bit of a grind. Unless you fork out real cash for Virtual Currency to cut corners.

MyCareer also branches off into MyPark, where you can take part in online competition with other created MyPlayers, showing off your apparel and, of course, your skills on the court. You can also jump into a Pro-Am game, as before, meaning you have more than ample options for multiplayer shenanigans. Beyond MyCareer and the usual online modes, NBA 2K17 has a whole raft of other modes you can dip into at any time too, including MyGM/MyLeague alongside the aforementioned MyPark and Pro-Am. Then there's the Ultimate Team-alike MyTeam, also back for another season. As a package, NBA 2K17 remains essential, covering all of the right bases for any self-respecting basketball fan.

MyLeague and MyGM are unfathomably deep, enabling you to manage your own team and lead them to NBA supremacy. MyLeague has you customising your own team from scratch, while MyGM has you fulfilling the role of coach, completing tasks for the team's owner to keep him happy and the franchise ticking over. Both modes are fairly all-encompassing, enabling you to get swept up in the nitty-gritty of the inner workings of an NBA team, but MyGM is far deeper and involving than it previously has been. Acquiring packs of cards and building your franchise in MyTeam also remains compulsive, and a more you'll keep coming back to. There's really no shortage of content in 2K17, which is something we've come to expect from the series over the years.

MyCareer still grades your performance, so git gud!

Naturally, the action on NBA 2K17's hardwood itself also remains exemplary, the Pro-Stick still fantastically intuitive for dribbling, shooting and layups, while player animations are characteristically smooth and realistic. It's not perfect, but the TV style presentation and commentary is still second-to-none yet again, even if the pre-show sequences look a bit shonky. Nevertheless, NBA 2K17 represents the pinnacle of video game basketball greatness for another year, its MyCareer, MyTeam, MyGM/MyLeague and online modes still among the best available in any sports game.

There's a breadth of content here that means NBA 2K17 will last you well into the playoffs and even next season, its MyCareer alone still utterly absorbing. Naturally, there's a range of achievements to earn across the board, taking into account every one of 2K17's modes from MyCareer to the online MyPark and Pro-Am. As well as achievements rewarded for feats during a game, there are more attached to completing actions within modes instead this time around. It's a list with a decent spread, although this isn't the best one you'll find in a sports game. That said, it's a solid enough set of achievements.

Another year, another sensational game of basketball, NBA 2K17 sees the series continue to deliver on almost all fronts, with a suite of indispensable modes all offering different sides to the game. MyCareer is brilliant and the game's online offering is robust, but throw in another year of addictive MyTeam, MyGM/MyLeague alongside myriad customisation options, and NBA 2K17 is quite possibly the most essential basketball game yet if not one of the greatest sports games money can buy.

NBA 2K17

A ludicrously polished and tight game of basketball, NBA 2K17 is representative of a series that's at the top of its game. There are a few flaws, as ever, but they pale into insignificance against the consistent excellence that shines through in almost every nook and cranny of NBA 2K17. This is a shoo-in for All-Star status.

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NBA 2K17's soundtrack fits the bill, while the commentary and on-court atmosphere is superb.


Some of NBA 2K17's cut-scenes continue to highlight some of the flaws with the game's engine, but on the court itself, the game looks remarkable. Player likenesses and shiny hardwood make for a stunning game of basketball.


As smooth and responsive as NBA 2K16, but polished to an almost blinding sheen, NBA 2K17 is quite possibly the pinnacle of video game basketball. There's not a lot to complain about here.


MyCareer, MyTeam, MyLeague/MyGM, MyPark, Pro-Am and more, NBA 2K17 is the most robust offering yet, with each mode a worthwhile thing in its own right. Menus are also vastly improved, making for a tighter, more accomplished package all round.


A good, strong list with an excellent spread across all of NBA 2K17's modes means you'll be bagging achievements as you explore everything on offer, and you won't have to grind too much either.

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