NBA 2K14 Xbox One Review
Welcome to the New Age
Right from the first tip-off you can easily tell that this is not going to be the same sports video game you are used to from the previous generation of consoles. It’s not the My Player mode you had grown so accustomed to and it definitely is not the NBA 2K franchise you love. It is better. So much better. Welcome to NBA 2K14
As soon as you have installed the game to your hard drive and boot it up you will be prompted to create your very own My Player. If you are familiar with the franchise then you will immediately pickup that you will be able to choose between a diverse amount of facial features that will truly set your player apart from others you come across on the court. There are multiple hairstyles, facial hair styles, and even hair patterns to layer on top of your hairstyles. Want a high fade with stars or flames etched into it from your master barber? Done. The player models look fantastic from individual hairs on their heads all the way down to sweat and veins on their arms. The jersey fabric is almost lifelike. I’m astonished as I rotate my newly formed star around to make sure every little detail has been completed to my satisfaction. Now it’s time to start my soon to be Hall of Fame NBA career! It’s time to hit the court.
What truly sets this version apart from the previous generation is obvious; the graphics. They are really, really good which is to be expected. Not only did the visuals not disappoint, they actually exceeded my expectations, and this is just the first iteration. The realism is there in terms of life-like NBA player models, the arena lighting is phenomenal as it seemed like I was actually in the Rockets arena, and of course the presentation delivered by the commentary, stat overlays and cut scenes make you feel like you are watching an actual TNT production of NBA Sunday. I mean even the halftime interviews used actual lip synced voices from real NBA players! All of these things combined come together to form the most lifelike video game representation of any sports game that I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and I’ve played a lot of them.
The gameplay itself is spot on and picks right up where the previous gen version left off. Not much has changed in terms of button assignments, but there was a noticeable change to how the AI reacts to certain situations. The AI was definitely smarter. Instead of dribbling up the court and waiting for 20 seconds to tick off the clock before making a move, they attacked aggressively, passing back and forth and definitely looking to capitalize on fast break opportunities. Also, I found it more realistic when passing into the post, for some reason in the Xbox 360 version I played, it just felt too crowded down there and a lot of times the ball would be turned over even though my teammate appeared to be wide open. That was very frustrating, to say the least.
There are a couple of new game modes that are included exclusively with the next generation of NBA 2K14. Gone is the Lebron: Path to Greatness mode, instead it is replaced with the beefier MyPlayer, a revamped MyTeam (2K’s Ultimate Team answer) and MyGM. The latter pits you in the role of the boss in charge to make all the behind the scenes business decisions necessary to take your team to the promised land. You will have control of a myriad of options such as ticket and merchandise pricing, facility upgrades, training staff all the way down to jersey sales. It is a welcome addition to the franchise, but the only drawback I found in this mode is that it tries very hard to be a deep RPG element in a sports game, but it quickly falls flat. The only way you can earn revenue to upgrade your team is to play actual games, which is weird, considering you are the General Manager. MyPlayer adds a new realm of online gaming called The Park. This is a great place where you can take your created persona online and compete against others in street ball. The catch is that there are multiple games going on in one lobby at the same time, and in order to que up next all you need to do is walk up to that particular court where a game is being played, hit a button, and your player will call next. You’ll have a spot as soon as the previous game has finished. You can watch up to 5 games going on at once with a mix of 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 action on the center court. It is truly an amazing and unique experience for console gaming and I cannot wait to see how they progress this mode moving forward.
NBA 2K14 next-gen is not void of a few mistakes here and there such as arms clipping into one another or an abnormal physic reaction of the basketball, but honestly it is not enough to pull you out of this beautiful game. Also, I found the interactions in the cut scenes within the MyPlayer mode to be incredibly cheesy and impossible to take serious. Also, during the MyPlayer mode you are constantly “called out” by other players, but for some reason they only speak to you in text while your created player responds audibly, this definitely needs to be fixed going forward.
The future of sports gaming looks very bright if this is what to be expected going forward. Graphically it is an alpha male stealing your girlfriend with one arm and dunking the basketball on your head with other. Presentation wise it is the Ferrari at the red light while you sink back in your Chevy Malibu’s front seat hoping not to be seen. The attention to detail is that perfect bite of steak and lobster oozing with a rich creamy butter sauce. It hits on every aspect of NBA realism with fierce tenacity and yet has so much room to improve without letting you down one bit.
Welcome to the new age of sports gaming, and this, my friends, is just the beginning.