Feature

Everything We Know About The Switch Version Of NBA 2K18

by Matt Bertz on Sep 01, 2017 at 09:52 AM

Nintendo fans who are sports owners have had it rough for more than a decade. Throughout the Wii and Wii U era, game options were extremely limited. Occasionally EA Sports and 2K Sports would throw users a bone, but the games were often half-baked, lacking the interesting features or control fidelity that PlayStation and Xbox owners were enjoying. With NBA 2K18, Visual Concepts hopes to deliver a basketball experience for the Nintendo Switch on par with the other versions of the game. 

We played the Switch version of NBA 2K18 at an event in New York, and came away impressed with the package so far. Here's what we found out:

This Is A Fully Featured Game
EA may be struggling to deliver a FIFA experience for Switch in line with the other versions, but Visual Concepts has accepted that challenge and delivered. The Switch version of NBA 2K18 has all the major modes coming to the other consoles. Whether you want to build a franchise in MyGM, create an online franchise with friends in MyLeague, become the next NBA superstar in MyCareer, construct a team via the card collecting MyTeam, flex your skills in MyPark or ProAM, all these modes are included in the game. The only feature being left out for the Switch version is custom logo creation for ProAm teams.

The Switch Version Uses The Same Engine As The PS4/Xbox One Versions
Visual Concepts didn't have to go backward to move forward with the Switch version. The game features the same animations, A.I., and controls as the PS4/Xbox One versions. That said, there is obviously a delta when it comes to graphical fidelity and performance. The Switch version looks good on the small screen, but the graphics are a noticeable step down. The game also runs at 30fps instead of the 60fps the other consoles enjoy. 

Switch Controls Are Adequate
When it comes to sports games, the fidelity of control is paramount. If the analog stick movements aren't precise, it can be tough to string together the dribbling moves necessary to down your defender. I only played one game of the Switch version, but was pleasantly surprised by how responsive the controls were. I'll have to spend more time with the game before understanding the strengths and limitations of the Switch controls, but if I start to find flaws I can always fire up the Pro Controller. 

Expect Regular Game Updates
Nintendo may have an inferior network service to Sony and Microsoft, but that isn't preventing NBA 2K18 from issuing regular game updates. Visual Concepts says the game will receive regular updates day and date with the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions. This means whenever they push new MyTeam cards, roster updates, gameplay changes, and the like, Switch owners won't be left on the outside looking in. If other publishers are able to follow suit, this could prove a watershed moment for Nintendo's post-launch support. 

Local Play Leverages Switch Capabilities
If you and some friends are hanging out and want to play some games of NBA 2K18, you have some interesting options. Up to four Switch consoles can be linked together for local play, and up to eight players can join in on the action.

The Digital Download Is Roughly 25GB
When I spoke to Visual Concepts, they didn't have a final file size nailed down yet, but they expect it to come in around 25GB. With the constant updates the game gets over the course of the NBA season, you should budget a lot more storage space, however. 

Retail Copy Details
The retail version of NBA 2K18 does not release day and date with the digital version on September 19. If you want the cartridge, you have to wait until October 17.

Staying Within Wi-Fi Range Strongly Recommended
The digital currency known as VC is the underpinning for player customization, MyTeam card purchases, purchasing a franchise in MyGM, among other things. If you want the full NBA 2K18 experience, you're going to stay connected. You can play MyCareer or MyGM offline as well, but not with the benefits (or costs) of the currency.

No Amiibo Support
Don't expect Mario and Yoshi to take the court with Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry. Visual Concepts told me they don't have Amiibo functionality in the game at this time. However, this can always be added later in a game update should they choose.

No Cross Compatibility
In my dream scenario, I could play the majority of my games on my PS4 at home, but then take that MyGM or MyCareer save on the road with the Switch. Visual Concepts agrees that's an interesting proposition, but it isn't happening with NBA 2K18.