Earlier this week at the NBA 2K18 event dubbed “Run the Neighborhood,” games press, YouTubers, and “influencers” got a first-ever look at the star-studded basketball title running on a Nintendo Switch. Of course, developer 2K wasn’t simply going to let us play on the Switch; the catch was they held the demo at a barbershop in NYC and offered haircuts to everyone with a Switch set up at each barber’s station.
The NBA 2K series is renowned for both its gameplay and visuals. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch is known for its accessible gameplay experiences while on the go, but not so much for its visuals. So the question on everyone’s mind: how was it?
The first and immediate answer that pops into my head is “fun.” But allow me to back up and explain that playing a Switch while getting a haircut isn’t exactly ideal — you don’t realize how much you move your head while playing games. In other words, I don’t recommend you trying it if you want your fade to look halfway decent. However I managed to power through and got a chance to put the demo through its proper paces.
First off, 2K didn’t play games (pun intended) and already — at the time of this demo — updated Kyrie Irving’s jersey on the main menu of the game to reflect the trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics (a blockbuster deal that happened a week before this event). The demo itself granted access to a handful of teams: the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Portland Trailblazers, and (of course) the Boston Celtics.
When I first picked up the NBA 2K18 demo, it was already mid-game and I was playing with Portland against the Cavs. I started off being down by 10; not a great way to start, but it didn’t matter much.
I quickly got a sense of weight on the players, which was a welcome surprise. In prior iterations of the game, some players in the game felt like they were on skates at times. Also, it did take a quick a bit of an adjustment to play on a smaller screen, as I have been used to playing the NBA 2K games on big screens (40 plus inches typically), but after that adjustment it felt like I was playing any other version of it. In other words: I was right at home.
The Switch version may take a slight hit to graphics, but gameplay was solid. Just to reiterate that point, in no way does the game not look good, but there are small differences that can be spotted like it being at 30 FPS as opposed to the 60fps that NBA 2K fans have become accustomed to. Nothing felt stripped out of this version: if anything, I was surprised with the amount of polish shown. The demo came complete with a pre-game show, a halftime show, and even parachuting giveaways in certain arenas.
If the demo was any indication, NBA 2K18 on the Nintendo Switch hardware is a force to be reckoned with. In discussions with others at the event, many were impressed and discussing it as a viable option rather than getting an Xbox One or PS4 version of the game. After my time with the demo, I myself am leaning towards picking up the Switch version now for a couple of reasons; first, NBA 2K wherever you go; and secondly, if they allow for the two Joy-Cons to be used as controllers like what EA is doing with FIFA on the Switch, now you suddenly have NBA 2K with a friend anywhere. The dynamic of in-person smack talk will be glorious and endless.
Check out the gallery below where you can see the highlights of NBA 2K18‘s “Run the Neighborhood” event in all its swagger:
Look for more coverage of NBA 2K18, which is set to release on September 19th, 2017 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and PC.