It comes as no surprise that at the tail-end of 2013, 2K Sports has released its latest (and possibly greatest) edition of the highly successful NBA 2K series, developed yet again by Visual Concepts. This release marks the fifteenth instalment of the NBA 2K series and continues to maintain the excellent standards that 2K Sports and its NBA series have become synonymous with.
What You Need to Know
NBA 2K14 is the epitome of the NBA basketball simulator, offering something for every type of NBA fan. For the straight-and-out NBA junkies, there’s the casual quickplay option to dive right into the action for a quick fix, for the armchair critic there’s the management and simulation modes, and for the college dreamers there’s the MyCareer and MyPlayer modes. Oh, and for the LeBron James groupies there’s even a personally selected soundtrack by the hardwood maestro as well as a ‘Path to Greatness’ mode.
Thanks to a multi-year deal between 2K Sports and Euroleague, Euroleague teams have now been included in NBA 2K14. The 2K Beats soundtrack has been personally chosen by LeBron James and features some really awesome current hits such as Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. LeBron: Path to Greatness mode, meanwhile, lets you play through parts of LeBron James’ career, and minor adjustments have been made to the game balance for Association Mode to prevent too many players turning into superstars. More than two full days’ worth of new commentary from Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Clark Kellogg have also been added, and there are new signature skills to master, too.
What’s the Same?
The same high quality basketball action and features from previous NBA 2K series titles is still here, but perhaps the most disappointing aspect of what’s remained the same is that the visuals have not evolved since last year, and it was easy to spot clones in the background and at team interviews. Lastly, the enjoyable MyCareer and MyPlayer options are still there, too.
You’ll Enjoy NBA 2K14 If You Liked…
… Any of the NBA 2K series. Besides a few cosmetic changes to the game and the menu interface, and barring a handful of feature changes each year, the nuts and bolts under the hood remain largely the same from year to year and all of the good features (especially quickplay and blacktop modes for casual NBA gamers) are still there.
What I Liked
- 5.) The drill options in MyCareer mode were insanely fun – I remember playing some of them in real life and being able to relive them in the game is fantastic, such a pity they’re limited by the available sessions you have.
- 4.) The training camp mode is fantastic to learn the ropes and all the moves, but it would have been nice to have a demonstration for each move but still better than no training option.
- 3.) Kinect controlled voice commands that control tactics in the game and player interactions.
- 2.) The heartbeat vibrations on the controller when I’m required to make a high pressure shot.
- 1.) MyCareer mode is still the highlight of the package for my solo gaming time. I totally enjoy creating the most unlikely, obnoxious, arrogant and hopeless NBA player and getting him to upset everyone from the fans, his team-mates and the coach in his delusional romp through professional basketball!
Being sick with ‘flu, I had a few coughing fits while I was playing the game and in more than one instance, during MyCareer mode playing with Kinect on, my superstar player was penalised for foul language. If I wasn’t trying to create a heel character I may have been upset but it just went so nicely with the persona I was trying to generate for Mr. Brad Sessions from South Africa. Totally cool to imagine a heated multiplayer game where the chips are down and your friend lets out an unsavoury comment and is penalised for it.
What I Didn’t Like
- 5.) The live updates – although great to keep the roster dynamic and interesting – can cause some delays on load-up which can be frustrating especially without an option to cancel them.
- 4.) It’s a steep learning curve for a casual player – there’s no way to dumb down the controls and there are well over fifty moves to master.
- 3.) MyCareer mode is a lot of fun but when you really get down to it, it’s a bunch of random add-ons that haven’t had too much attention applied to them. In my last meeting with the GM I cycled through all the conversation topics from demanding a raise, threatening quitting, and saying I like it here, to which the GM always threw out some random response. I know the game is about more than social interaction but if you give the player the choice, you should follow through with appropriate responses.
- 2.) Getting stuck on one move in Training Camp mode and not being able to quit out until I had completed it. It would have been great to see a demonstration of the move before I had to try and execute it because being stuck in limbo for a while was a bit disheartening.
- 1.) The graphics haven’t been much improved. They’re still good but I had hoped for something better.
Least Favourite Moment
More often than I’d like to remember, I had to endure watching penalty shots being taken because one of my AI team-mates had committed a foul. It’s fine to have to endure the pain of your own penalties but when the AI commits penalties it would be nice to include the skip option there, too. Oh, 2K Sports – don’t make the skip option the ‘call for pass’ button, too, because when you’re mashing the ‘skip’ option to get on with the game you don’t want to end up being penalised for (inadvertently) excessive calls for the ball.
There’s singleplayer, multiplayer, online, offline, Association Mode, simulation modes, Playoff modes, Blacktop, 2K Beats, Shoe designer mode, MyCareer mode, MyPlayer mode – you’ve got it all here, including signature moves and team chemistry.
A nice bit of promotion for the game is the fact that 2K Sports ran a simulation of the 2013/2014 season and have predicted Miami Heat will win three finals in a row (66-16) – it will be really interesting to see how the game’s predictions pan out and I suspect if it’s even remotely close to reality it will be a coup for the developers!
The Bottom Line
NBA 2K14 improves on an already exceptional basketball series making for a game that’s definitely worth jumping through some hoops to get – NBA fanatics and casual gamers alike will find something worthwhile in this release.
NBA 2K14 was reviewed on the Xbox 360