Ranking sports games is not the easiest thing to do. That’s especially the case when most are simulation titles that have mainly adjusted the mechanics and AI with each installment. Still, there are several games to pick from this generation of video game console platforms. While ranking is tough and there’s no definitive list, here are a few that seem to be the more popular installments available. Of course, with that said, we want to know your personal list. Without further ado, here are some of the better installments available.
#5 NBA 2K15
NBA 2K15 feels like a small step in improvement over NBA 2K14 though it’s enough that we feel warrants a spot on the list. In this particular installment, the controls feel tighter and at times rewarding to go through when facing down an opposing team of AI or other players. You can create space and maneuver around with some relative ease. However, other little improvements may keep players interested in the long run. A career mode makes a return with players taking the role of a non-drafted rookie. Managing to get a contract deal, players have to work at the bottom in hopes of finding a spot within the team.
Other game modes also make a return. Players can still go through MyGM which gives you control over how a franchise is handled, stadium salaries, and contract negotiations. There’s also a game mode known as MyLeague, which goes a step further by controlling rosters, teams, and even season lengths. These modes allow players some ability to enjoy some management style gameplay for those that want a more in-depth look at the work that goes into running the NBA.
#4 NBA Live 18
There are some debates online on what series lands on top each year with NBA Live and NBA 2K. Some may find the Live series to feel a bit more of an arcade-style gameplay, but for the most part, you’ll find everything to be relatively close with the counterpart. With NBA Live 18 the controls feel a bit more simple to understand and pick up on quickly. The AI was also pretty decent at providing some challenge which is particularly nice with the various different game exhibition matches you go play within. There are the standard career mode and franchise ownership simulator you could go through but there’s one other important feature to this installment.
With NBA Live 18 players were finally given the ability to play with the WNBA teams. It was the first game to really make this accessible which included the coastal team along with an All-Stars lineup. It was limited to local gameplay but that’s not much of a big deal as there were some complaints about the lack of match types within the online play. Instead, it was mainly just ranked games.
#3 NBA 2K17
When NBA 2K17 launched it seemed like the controls were not only finely-tuned but so was the AI. It was almost a bit more strategic in how you handled the ball, the plays you made, and carefully deciding how to go against an opposing team throughout the game. Career mode again doesn’t offer very much, it’s one element that seems to be lacking with the games in my opinion, but there was a rather neat way the developers opted to make choices matter more within the game.
Buffing stats and getting your character ready for a game makes a difference. It’s all about putting time into practice before games by going to the gym and completing little mini-game challenges. How successful you are will help give your character an improvement with their stats. Furthermore, there’s even a focus put on your character outside of the game as well. You’ll have the ability to attend different promotional events and it’s through these events that you earn currency to spend on improving your player stats.
#2 NBA 2K16
When it comes to sports games two real elements need to come together which are controls and AI. Thankfully, NBA 2K16 seems to have both, with controls being finely tuned and an equally challenging AI to face against. There’s a slight learning curve to the controls and at times you can find a few hiccups, but it’s nothing that would take you out of gameplay experience. Previous game modes also make a return such as the MyGM and the career mode.
In career mode, players take the role of a player that is going through his high school, college, and ultimately the professional NBA career. There’s even a nice little overhaul in the career mode in that the choices you make matter. Instead of negotiating with money you’re instead focusing on a point system with the various teams. Essentially, would you take more points to buff your player stats by going with a smaller team or take fewer points to get a spot on your personal favorite team? This is one particular basketball game available on the platform which tends to be well received by fans and critics alike.
#1 NBA 2K14
Even years after it released, NBA 2K14 is still a fan favorite basketball video game. It’s one of the games that not only holds up well but visually is just as impressive. For some, this game still beats out other titles with its realism feel and tone. This installment also released on past-generation video game platforms and overall the mechanics haven’t changed between them.
In fact, the gameplay itself is what keeps players coming back to NBA 2K14. There have certainly been some much-needed improvements over the career area of this franchise, as you’ll find moments in NBA 2K14 where your character is talking with essentially a voiceless NPC. Despite that, you’ll find several different game modes and matches both online along with offline gameplay. Everything from 2v2 half-court matches and full-court 5v5 is available and you still have MyGM mode where you get control of the business side of things.