2K has thrown a significant amount of cash at their NBA 2K series over the years, and the results are easy to see â€“ the franchise has come leaps and bounds since last-gen, with 2K16 featuring a career mode created by Spike Lee. That alone was enough to make EA sit up and take note.
NBA 2K17 sees another franchise first â€“ a free to download prelude, offering five full matches to play through. Set during an up-and-comers college years, it entails creating a character and picking a college to play for, with the final match giving the chance to play alongside Team USA.
Some surprisingly lengthy cut-scenes occur between matches, taking up roughly a quarter of the preludeâ€™s two-hour (approx.) runtime. Pro tip: donâ€™t try to skip them, because youâ€™ll only end up back at the main menu.
This prelude quite obviously serves two purposes â€“ to provide a taster of the full game by showing off this yearâ€™s new features, and to help introduce newcomers to the series. It succeeds at both, especially the latter. Although there is slight pressure to perform well â€“ in order to gain plenty of upgrade tokens – thereâ€™s no major penalty for performing poorly. Your draft stock will dip, but youâ€™re still able to play the next match on the agenda regardless.
Thereâ€™s an exhaustive 10-minute tutorial as well, explaining the controls in a very relaxed manner while going up against some very lax competition. The fact that a lot of manoeuvres â€“ including two and three-point throws â€“ are mapped to the right analogue stick works far better than you may imagine.
The aforementioned upgrade tokens â€“ used to boost attributes â€“ carry over to the main game, thus providing a boost start. 2K obviously wants you to feel involved, possibly emotionally, with your handcrafted character in hope that youâ€™ll open your wallet and pre-order. Only having a passing interest in the sport, we didnâ€™t feel obliged to (NBA 2K16, last monthâ€™s PS Plus freebie, will suffice for us for now) but nevertheless NBA 2K17: The Prelude is a decent way to blow a couple of hours.
Still not sold? It has easy achievements. Really easy achievements.