Wait for it


If you are an owner of or have played any other NBA 2K title, you know all about the server-side and other issues that have plagued the players of these games ever since online play became available.

In the most recent version of the game, my two friends and I once played a total of three myPark (3-on-3, 2-on-2 or “21” playground style basketball) games that took a total of FOUR HOURS in real time (the games themselves usually take five minutes). This happens all the time, either because of server issues or the fact that when one of your teammates’ game crashes, you have to wait until he or she gets through the infamous Paul George loading screen, the one right before the full game modes are available to select. The last time I tried to play NBA 2K17, my game got stuck on this screen for 12 hours before I gave up and turned off my Xbox One and closed the game’s application for what will hopefully be the final time.

Even if everything goes right in regard to those variables, there are still many perils that you and your friends can fall victim to. What if you don’t load into the exact same park as the one your friends are in? Either they have to move to you or you to them. That can take some time to load, because NBA 2K games tend to get stuck on one percent on loading screens. In NBA 2K16, it was 51 percent for almost everyone. I’ve heard of various percents from friends, but I always got stuck on 90 percent in NBA 2K17. Even more frustratingly, your team can pick up a random player and go on a winning streak, in which case they may not want to leave that court to join the rest of the team because it was so hard to find an open game in the first place. Even if you wanted to leave, sometimes the game simply won’t let you, and you are forced to play unless you close the application or turn the console off. I haven’t even gotten to the actual basketball gameplay or offline modes yet.

The last issue the NBA 2K series has is with save files. If you clear the reserve space on the game or press cancel on the Paul George screen when it reads: “Please wait, retrieving data from 2K Sports Server,” you can lose one or all of the files saved to the cloud or hard drive if you don’t contact 2K Support quick enough. Personally, nothing catastrophic has happened to my saves, but I’ve heard horror stories of files with weeks upon weeks of time played being corrupted. I’m planning on simulating the NBA 80 years into the future in NBA 2K17, and if my myLeague file decides to become corrupted in, say, 2084, I’ll be out for blood with 2K Sports.

But one of these games comes out every year, so the developers are bound to fix all these problems when NBA 2K18 comes out, right? Probably not, but we’ll see on Sept. 19 when the game launches. Developers have made promises to fix the issues from last year, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion among gamers that new ones will arise. That’s why I’ve resisted the urge this year to drop $60 on the standard game on release day. Instead, I plan to pick it up around Black Friday or Christmas when the price drops down.

There are also the “Legend” and “Legend Gold” editions of the game, which cost $100 and $150 respectively and offer an alternate cover, early access to the game and virtual and physical bonus items. The “Legend Gold” edition used to cost $100 in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17, with the “Legend” version coming in at $80. When I was a more avid player and my game actually worked, I forked over the $100 for the “Legend Gold” edition of NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17. If you go by the virtual currency it gave me, the two physical posters I still have in my room and the other items, it was probably worth it, until the dreaded Paul George screen that I mentioned earlier.

When you factor in all the microtransactions for virtual currency or VC in the game, NBA 2K could very easily end up costing a gamer more than $500 dollars, about double what a PS4 or Xbox One console itself costs right now. Sorry NBA 2K18, there’s no way I’m spending more than my console costs for something I can’t even trust to work. In conclusion: don’t buy the game — Yet.