Visual Concepts’ vaunted NBA 2K franchise has a reputation for its high standards, and the series’ latest entry on the PlayStation 4 continues that sequence of slam dunks by towering over its PlayStation 3 counterpart. Not content with a mere visual upgrade, NBA 2K14 on Sony’s next generation system plays a totally different ball game to its existing sibling – and while some of these enhancements undeniably have niggles, they’re still terrific additions to an already excellent game.
This is a title that’s drenched in more authenticity than a players’ vest at the end of a high-octane quarter. Recognisable commentators Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Clark Kellogg narrate with considerable clarity, while Doris Burke interviews various athletes at half-time. Meanwhile, sponsor video transitions pop up alongside NBA logos and help to sell the television broadcast feel as if it were real.
And this is, of course, where the visual prowess of the PS4 comes in, with each court feeling alive due to the varied crowds and immaculate models. There are moments where the immersion is so great that you’ll forget that it’s a game – even if the uncanny valley will creep in eventually when a player fails to convey the right emotion, or a couple of identical twins pop up in the audience and make the same cheering motion. The issues are more noticeable due to the outstanding achievements elsewhere – but the game sure does hint at plenty of promise for the future.
In fact, given that sports games have historically struggled with the generation jump, it’s amazing how realistic this title looks and feels. Animations are much more fluid and realistic, and there’s a sense of physicality to the play that wasn’t quite there before. In addition, the artificial intelligence is competent and, at times, lifelike – and that’s without even mentioning the wealth of new modes and features.
For starters, My Career now plays out like a more structured narrative – a soap opera even. Cutscenes, dialogue trees, and personal objectives form part of your career and the story of your player. Upon picking a likeness, you’ll start shooting some hoops in the Rookie Showcase, discovering a rival that will follow you through your career and sculpting a personality that affects your team interactions and fan support.
Throughout your career, you can chat with your manager, coaches, and fellow players, having general conversations as well as more meaningful, life shaping ones. You’ll begin by watching matches unfold from the bench, ready to jump in should an injury impede the game or the coach decide to take a chance on you. Then it’s all up to you to prove that you’re worth a place in the starting line-up. It’s a neat addition that provides a sense of progress to the campaign – even if the voice acting is weak and the coach interactions are restricted to text.
There are other issues, too. You’ll encounter some of the same conversations with your coach multiple times, while you’ll often be given strange mid-match objectives that don’t necessarily gel with your team’s playing style. For as cute as the idea is, it’s not an especially engaging narrative either – but it’s at least a refreshing change from the bland campaigns that are otherwise so common in the sports genre.
Other modes include My GM, which allows you to manage an NBA franchise in a socially interactive style. You’ll be able to converse with the team’s owner, players, coaches, media outlets, and other executives to solve problems, help grow your franchise, and try to find the right balance between keeping everyone happy and managing your players on the court. As with the campaign, though, the dialogue is atrocious throughout.
Online, you can now play The Park street matches with buddies, as well as the standard head-to-head option. Meanwhile, the collectible card game My Team makes a return, which challenges you to create a fantasy squad in a similar style to FIFA’s popular Ultimate Team. One new addition includes Domination, which allows you to pit your assembled squad against all-star teams and real-world rosters.
NBA 2K14 on the PS4 is a stunning digital facsimile of basketball. The title’s visually jaw dropping, technically stunning, and represents a whole different ball game to its PS3 counterpart. The new My Career and My GM campaigns don’t always score a slam dunk, but they’re engaging enough to dribble your way through, making this is a top option if you’re eager to shoot some hoops on Sony’s next generation console.
Man, I wished I was a basketball fan - the graphics are absolutely insane in this.
@get2sammyb I know how you feel,
I used to play sports games in my earlier gaming"career", like "Troy Aikman Football" and "NBA Jam" (if it counts as SPORTS) on the SNES (lol) and later NHL 2001 on the PC. Some other Hockeygames and the Wrestlers on Gamecube. I miss my sports games as they are great fun with friends and so far I haven't found a new home yet. I despise soccer and tennis, boxing is more like "fighting" than "sports" (by what I basically mean complex multiplayer team sports) and I really can't get into Football (Madden) either. So it leaves NBA and NHL. The Hockey games have convoluted controls for my taste and I am not that much into basketball. So... Im on the fence giving this game and the sport as a whole a chance.
For me I like a sports game that I can pick up and play. I know the basic rules of the games but when it comes to plays and management calls I have no idea what I am doing. I really would like to get back into a sports game as well and I have been looking at this one NBA Live 14, Madden 25 and FIFA but I have the same fear with all of them and that is that they will be way to complicated for a casual sports fan like myself to play.
Is that the case with these games are they going to be complicate for us casual fans?
@Tasuki I guess Basketball will be the safest bet then, because ignoring how the GAME is, looking at the sports themselves basketball might end up having the most simple rules. Soccer can be daunting at times and if you're not a real life fan already like me, you might end up not bothering at all - just like me. Football is just spinning my head, the moment it gets tactical I'm lost and not being a fan of the sports I lack the interest to "learn" myself into the rules.
That leaves hockey and basketball to me, in hockey I hate the controls of the later games that came out recently so I think I might give basketball a try, and probably even find a place or group of people to play with in real life as well as I badly need some exercise (self employed, 12 hours a day with computer).
I love basketball but I am not a big fan of NBA. The rules confuse me (NBA and Europe have some differences in rules) and I don't know the players. However I watch many games in the local championship and the Euroleague. I may get NBA2K14 sometime since it has European teams.
My last Basketball game was the launch PS3 NBA 2K7. When I tried this on my PC I was blown away at how far basketball games have come. Presentation is suberb, the game engine is fantastic, you can just leave it playing and indeed at some point you will forget that this is just a game, hell it fooled poeple walking into the living room. One thing I should notice is that you need to realy know basketball in order to play effiently as a virtual balller. You have to learn the positions and the plays. So some research is needed. This is a game that you need to through a lot of time into it but in the end you will become a good "virtual" basketball player. This has become one of the first games I will get with my PS4. Great game.
A casual fan can pick up and enjoy the NBA 2K games easily. Honestly, as much as I love sports and sports video games I'm not into play calling and micro managing and all that stuff either (except in the MLB The Show series, which has a fun to use franchise mode). There's not many rules or plays you need to know to get into NBA so if you even have a passing interest in the sport give 2K14 a shot. I'd say avoid Live, it was a decent series at one time but like Madden the quality has seen a massive drop off. One of the few decisions EA made in recent years that I thought was a good one was putting Live on the backburner, it had gotten that bad.
Sometime I just hate myself, lol. I have a bad habit reading about everything I can before I get a game. Things aren't looking very good about the PS4 version of NBA 2K14. A lot of bugs are being reported over at 2K's forums and in a usual 2K fashion... 2K doesn't care. Hmmm not good at all.
Would buy if I was interested in handball but I'm not. NBA jam was the last I played a handball game. If EA offered two for one on sports games I would get this but then they don't need to make any offers. Rolling in it.
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