After having completed a review for an EA Sports game, it’s only right that a 2K Sports game is my next feat of game guru-ism. 2K Sports are a real up and comer in the world of sports. Their realism and the beauty that is engineered in their games is unrivalled. NBA 2K has trumped EA Sports’ NBA Live for years now, and with the acquisition of WWE Games from THQ and WWE 2K14 due out next week, 2K Sports are only going up. Granted WWE 2K14 was basically finished when the assets were acquired, and the finished product is the remnants of a THQ game. Next year we’ll see where WWE will take them on the next generation. Why am I blathering on about wrestling on a review about a basketball game? Because you need to appreciate the quality of this company and where they are going. On with the review!
Just as I said when I wrote the NHL 14 review, I am not familiar with the NBA. I know a good couple of the big names out there, and I’ve seen Space Jam. But outside of that, my knowledge of the sport and its rules is minimal at best. I’m gonna throw this right out there, the game is brilliant. It is by a the premier basketball simulation experience you will ever find. The majority of everything I say about this game will be positive, so I’m gonna throw my one negative out there. It’s hard to be good at this game, very hard. There is a level of realistic control of each of the player’s arms and their bounce of the ball that takes hours of grinding and hard work to master. After a couple hours of solid practice and tutorials, I finally became moderately competent at the game. But once you’ve done the grinding and got a real feel of the game, man is it good. I found myself becoming so immersed that I attempted several layaway shots with my cans of Pepsi Max while shouting ‘Kobe’.
For the third year in a row, 2K sports have changed their button layout. They have chosen to adopt the old right stick ‘pro stick’ option. Made famous in the EA Sports FIFA series. You can now use the right stick to shoot, as well as do insanely accurate little changes to your dribble. Beware though, a slight accidental knock can send your player into an unwanted alley-oop, NBA Jam style.
The graphics on NBA 2K14 are absolutely beautiful. Each player is handled with the utmost care, and every little imperfection, tattoo, hairstyle, and even character traits are emulated to perfection. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sports game that looks as impressive as this marvel. I’ve never seen sweat and player animation look so real before, and I’ve played every single sports series that has been available on this generation. Every movement is performed with such grace and elegance, and the realism in everything is truly remarkable. I’d quite like the WWE Games guys to use some of this team on next year’s WWE game.
There is something of a story/career mode in this game. It’s called path to greatness, and features an actual narrative. Something that has rarely been seen in any sports game to date. The only ones that come to mind are Tony Hawk’s Underground and the Skate series. Path to Greatness takes NBA 2K14 cover star on a journey through his final contracted year with Miami Heat. The goal at the end of the mode is to have won seven NBA championships through a choice of two separate paths. You can choose to resign with Miami Heat, or to move elsewhere in the NBA in the search for glory. However, you cannot choose which team this takes you to. This means you could be stuck with gutter trash like the Clippers, making your search for gold that much harder.
Jumping online and testing your skills against real world people works a treat. Menu navigation and connectivity handles like a dream. Believing you have a handle on how to play the game, then coming up against people that have actually learned how to play the game is a tad disheartening. But that’s all down to my own lack of skill.
Although what I have to say about this game is mostly positive, this isn’t much of a change from last year’s iteration. 2K Sports have come out and said that NBA 2K14 on the Xbox One will be drastically different and improved from the Xbox 360 version. With that being said, I can’t see any reason to purchase this version at all. Unless of course you don’t plan to invest in an Xbox One of course. But even so, if you plan on staying a 360 gamer, keep NBA 2K13 and I can guarantee that you’ll have an equally great time. Having said that, this being similar to last year’s outing doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a brilliantly made, well executed, beautiful game that does the world of basketball proud. I fully recommend this game, unless you plan on getting an Xbox One where the game runs at a smooth 60fps at 1080p resolution. In which case, I recommend it for that. In a sentence, NBA 2K14 is a game that makes me wish the rest of the 2K Sports series’ would make a triumphant return. Please download the demo now on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and give this a shot for yourself.
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