NBA 2K18 Locker Codes might play brilliantly, but its off-the-court issues block the way of its success. The game delivers a significant simulation of the sport, with sparkling presentation to match and a renewed concentrate on the inner-city roots that many NBA athletes talk about. Then developer Visible Concepts calls for this usually stellar game on a detour toward microtransactions.

The NBA 2K series has been upon this path for years, but its focus on microtransactions reaches a new top in NBA 2K18 Locker Codes. It often feels as though the better bits of the overall game — of which there are lots — get lost in its obsession with squeezing more money out of its players.

The go up of microtransactions in the NBA 2K series parallels the increasing tumult of the real-life NBA offseason. This year, 2K Sports got to change NBA 2K18’s cover following a blockbuster trade put its cover athlete in a new uniform. To raised get that growing disarray in the league’s office buildings, NBA 2K18 introduces a story to its franchise method, MyGM. A player — your created MyPlayer, specifically — suffers a career-ending leg harm and later takes up the reins as general administrator. Trade Kyrie Irving away or put him at some other position; that is the crux of any team GM gig, with a hint of occasional internal team theatre involved. It’s a stretch to call it a tale method as the menu will, but slight expansions to MyGM include dialogue exchanges and player interactions new to NBA 2K18 Locker Codes.

Not only will there be a tale in MyGM, there’s still a bevy of MyPlayer options. Instead of ask Spike Lee to immediate MyCareer (as he performed back NBA 2K16), NBA 2K18’s approach settles down, focusing on the turbulent first year year of previous streets baller DJ. It’s mostly satirical toward locker room culture, a reprieve from the thick drama of Madden NFL 18’s Longshot or even prior years of NBA 2K. For example, DJ’s agent isn’t much of one, but he does have a catchphrase: “Eat what you kill.” The heroes don’t seem to understand what that means (plus they say so), but NBA 2K18 runs with it for the humor.

When playing as DJ, you’ll face NBA 2K18’s “The Neighborhood.” Consider it a hub of activity for DJ’s job. In the MMO-lite twist, it’s possible to walk around with numerous (hundreds, maybe, if servers fill) of other player-controlled DJs, participating in pickup games, trading ratings in minigames or socializing. The presence of other players is generally pointless outside of light competition, however; I ended up just disregarding the crowd.

I soon realized The Neighborhood just replaces NBA 2K18’s key menu. In that sense, it’s only a clumsy way to find their way. Want a haircut? Walk the block to the barbershop. Want to improve clothes? Go home first. Need new shoes? Run down to Foot Locker. Looking to catch an instant pickup game? The courtroom is down the street on your departed.