NBA 2K18 Locker Codes might play brilliantly, but its off-the-court issues get in the way of its success. The game delivers a significant simulation of the activity, with sparkling presentation to match and a renewed concentrate on the inner-city roots that lots of NBA athletes show. Then developer Visual Concepts can take this otherwise stellar game on a detour toward microtransactions.

The NBA 2K series has been on this path for years, but its focus on microtransactions reaches a new top in NBA 2K18 Locker Codes. It often feels like the better bits of the game — of which there are plenty — get lost in its obsession with squeezing more money out of its players.

The go up of microtransactions in the NBA 2K series parallels the increasing tumult of the real-life NBA offseason. This season, 2K Sports had to change NBA 2K18’s cover after a blockbuster trade put its cover sportsman in another uniform. To better capture that growing disarray in the league’s offices, NBA 2K18 introduces a tale to its franchise mode, MyGM. A new player — your created MyPlayer, specifically — suffers a career-ending leg harm and later occupies the reins as standard manager. Trade Kyrie Irving away or put him at a different position; that is the crux of the team GM gig, with a hint of periodic internal team dilemma involved. It’s a stretch to call it a story setting as the menu does, but modest expansions to MyGM include dialogue exchanges and player interactions new to NBA 2K18 Locker Codes.

Not only will there be a story in MyGM, there’s still a bevy of MyPlayer options. Rather than request Spike Lee to immediate MyCareer (as he performed back in NBA 2K16), NBA 2K18’s methodology settles down, focusing on the turbulent rookie year of past street baller DJ. It’s mostly satirical toward locker room culture, a reprieve from the thick dilemma of Madden NFL 18’s Longshot or even past many years of NBA 2K. For example, DJ’s agent isn’t much of one, but he has a catchphrase: “Eat what you kill.” The people don’t seem to understand what that means (plus they say so), but NBA 2K18 operates with it for the laughter.

When playing as DJ, you’ll encounter NBA 2K18’s “A NEARBY.” Consider it a hub of activity for DJ’s career. In the MMO-lite twist, it is possible to walk around with numerous (hundreds, maybe, if servers fill) of other player-controlled DJs, playing pickup video games, trading ratings in minigames or socializing. The presence of other players is normally pointless outside of light competition, however; I ended up just ignoring the crowd.

I soon realized The Neighborhood just replaces NBA 2K18’s center menu. In that sense, it’s merely a clumsy way to find their way. Want a haircut? Walk the block to the barbershop. Want to change clothes? Go back home first. Need new shoes? Run down to Feet Locker. Looking to catch an instant pickup game? The judge is outside on your still left.

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