Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Review Copy Provided By: 2K Sports
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Note to Reader
Note: I did not personally play this game. I passed this game off to a person that I know who plays these games almost religiously. After several days of intense playtime, I asked him as much as I could about the game, and have articulated his thoughts here. I am sure this will result in a lack of discussion about certain features, but understand that I have done my utmost to make sure the game is reviewed from the best perspective, and with the integrity of his thoughts preserved.
NBA 2K14 continues to shine as the premiere basketball simulator on gaming consoles. While there isn’t necessarily a whole lot new on offer in this latest edition, it is the most refined and balanced of any of the previous games. That said, it does have its shortcomings.
The singular new mode added on to 2K14 is LeBron’s Path to Greatness, a mode that let’s you decide the future of the NBA great. You are given the option to take him from the Heat and out into the wilds of free agency. Placed on a different team, it is your task to lead whatever crew you end up with to victory. It’s an interesting hypothetical. Would LeBron be as successful, or even more so, were he paired with different teammates? How would the titanic match-ups within the league play out with a different supporting cast? This is really more of a fun aside than a true homage to the King. When you got to play the highlights of Jordan’s career back in 2K12, it was definitely more exciting, and more fun. Casting LeBron around the league is entertaining, but it’s not the killer mode that the series needs.
Within the gameplay itself, the new shot stick allows for greater control during every toss at the basket. Shooting, as a result, feels faster-paced. While overall this new feature creates for an added layer of skill that a player needs to wield, it takes away from the three-point game. The suspenseful slow jump shots of previous titles are gone, replaced with quick toss ups from the line. It sort of cheapens the three-point game in a detrimental way, but not so much that the feature should have been left out entirely. It’s usefulness shouldn’t just be glossed over. It fits in perfectly with the other precision controls for ball handling, and it connect the gameplay cohesively.
No-look passes have also been added, creating quick shift from player to player. The NBA style drive-inside-and-pass-to-the-three quick hits are now possible with the new option, creating even more to look out for when playing defensively, or giving you that much needed extra option on offense. And the defense has been overhauled as well. Drives inside seem to be tougher, and more players will go up to the rim on shots for the rebound. It creates a deeper need for strategy during offense, and a frustrating situation on defense when your AI companion goal tends.
Wrap all of this up with the best looking sports title to date and you get why the fans of the series are so rabid. the presentation inches ever closer to flawless. Commentary is varied, the visuals are gorgeous, and it seems that every year even more animations are added. Big name players have their signature shot-styles on display, and when they make the play, the commentators are there to comment dynamically. Playing a game like this one really makes you wonder why EA Tiburon can’t get it together with their commentary for the Madden series.
NBA 2K14 brings just enough new to the table to call it worthy of purchase. And when you do snag it, you’ll be playing a top-tier sports sim. The presentation if wonderful, the gameplay is tighter than ever, and the new in-game features just add to the depth. While the LeBron mode isn’t everything that it could be, it doesn’t take away from an otherwise stellar game. If you are on the fence about this year’s iteration, put your mind at ease. 2K14 is worth it.