An in-depth comparison across all console versions.
For the last many years, the NBA 2K series is the place to play if you are a hardcore basketball fan. With each iteration, Visual Concepts have pushed the visual boundaries whilst delivering slick gameplay at 60 frames per second. NBA 2K18 is no different and it’s perhaps the best looking game in the series.
One of the most striking features of NBA 2K18 lies in its presentation and creating an atmosphere that is eerily close to the real thing. Whether it be the crowd cheering or the amazing commentary at display, the game excels in delivering a fantastic basketball experience. Character models and body animations, for the most part, look great. The gameplay feels really smooth with special care given to the way players pass the ball and score their shots. Tress effects and high quality skin shaders are used aplenty, along with dynamic sweating and cloth simulation. Player movement look authentic, however sometimes it feels like they are sliding along the court instead of lifting their feet. This isn’t a noticeable issue but it’s jarring nonetheless. We also noticed character clipping issues and let’s not even talk about the facial animations. Look, the facial animations aren’t that bad but at times they look like doll eyes, killing the immersion factor. And for a game that thrives on immersion, it’s slightly disappointing that Visual Concepts haven’t been able to nail this feature.
On the consoles front, we have both the base PS4 and Xbox One versions running at a native 1920 X 1080p resolution with frame rates running at a rock solid 60. During on-court gameplay, we witnessed next to no frame rate drops, however the Neighbourhood mode, which is set in a semi-open world, does struggle to maintain a higher frame rate. There isn’t much difference between the two console versions and much like every entry in the series, NBA 2K18 maintains parity in terms of texture quality, texture filtering, character models, skin shaders and post processing effects.
However, as expected, the PS4 Pro version is a different story. The PS4 Pro builds runs at a checkerboard 4K resolution along with a solid 60 frame per second. The game also benefits from improved anti-aliasing, enhanced motion blur effects and better shadow quality effects. Even the performance in the Neighbourhood mode is better.
Eventually, whatever platform you play NBA 2K18 on, a locked 60fps is given. The game plays to each platform’s strength delivering a rich basketball experience (only if you can ignore the atrocious microtransactions but this topic is for another day).