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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that NBA 2K17 is a basketball game. There's no inappropriate content, although parents should be aware that hefty amounts of logos are presented throughout the entire game. Players can also purchase upgrades or digital items with real cash to give themselves boosts or status upgrades. Parents should also know that online play is unmoderated, which can expose players to inappropriate comments.
What's it about?
NBA 2K17 is the latest installment in the long-running basketball franchise, expanding on its attempt to become the most detailed version of the sport possible. Some notable adjustments include an expanded MyGM and MyLeague mode for players interested in creating or controlling a preexisting franchise, while adding new front-office concerns, such as voting for league rule changes in the off-season. The MyTeam mode has been expanded, including Dynamic Duo pairings between players that provide unique boosts to your squad, such as long-range shooting or crushing low post defense. MyCareer has a new storyline for players to go through, letting them step into the shoes of "The President of Basketball" as he tries to navigate his way through college and the league to fulfill his court dreams while also forming friendships on and off the court. Also returning are boosted elements to the 2K Pro-Am, Blacktop, and Online play, as well as a redone 2KU mode to help you learn the basics of gameplay taught by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Finally, the game comes with enhanced audio in each NBA arena, new play by play commentators, revamped player animations, 45 classic NBA teams, and a massive 2K soundtrack with 50 tracks.
Is it any good?
The sheer number of improvements, coupled with the depth of this year's installment, means that if you're a basketball fan, this is a one-handed tomahawk slam-dunk. The franchise always had strong controls, but this installment feels more realistic and tighter than before. For example, you can't simply drive the lane like you could before; someone will shoot out an elbow or put a body in your way to prevent the constant fast breaks. The number of wild, off-the-mark passes has been significantly reduced, and transition play just feels more believable on both sides of the ball. It's also fantastic to see how much attention was paid to the presentation of the game; expanding the play-by-play roster significantly cuts back on the amount of repetitive dialogue, which was sorely needed. But one issue that many longtime players will have to get used to is the adjustment to the shooting mechanic, which relies much more on your jump and followthrough of your shot than matching your release to a specific section on a meter. It feels more accurate to the sport and cuts down on running up the score, but it definitely will take getting used to.
One of the bigger and better adjustments to NBA 2K17 comes in the MyCareer mode. Forget last year's Spike Lee-helmed story (which was controversial with some players), because this year is all about proving yourself as both a player and a teammate. That's highlighted by the "Orange Juice" team mechanic, which provides a significant boost to your scoring chances and your stats. Arguably, it can be a bit overpowered, especially because Justice Young (your counterpart in the duo, played by Michael B. Jordan of "Creed" fame) makes almost every shot he takes, but the mechanic does call to mind the Jordan/Pippen, Malone/Stockton, or Curry/Thompson pairings that shot out the lights when they got on the court. It's not all good; while there's vastly more to do, and the training sequences actually matter more in this game than ever before, it can be a bit of a grind to enhance your stats as you shoot the ball for hours on end only to get a very small stat boost or a random improvement during a drill. Why would intangibles go up if you lost a Boston drill, for instance? But even with the few questionable elements of play, NBA 2K17 is simply the best simulation that's ever stepped onto a digital court.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism in sports games such as NBA 2K17. This game shows a lot of corporate logos in an attempt to recreate the experience of broadcast NBA games. Does the inclusion of these logos add to the realism, or are they only being used to push products?
Talk about how NBA 2K17 compares to real-world basketball. How well does it mirror the sport? Are there some elements you won't find on a real court?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.