Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: NBA 2K14

For the past two years 2K Sports has dominated the basketball simulation genre on videogame consoles. It would be easy to suggest that this was simply due to a lack of competition, but in reality the NBA 2K series stepped-up it’s game significantly with NBA […]
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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageFor the past two years 2K Sports has dominated the basketball simulation genre on videogame consoles. It would be easy to suggest that this was simply due to a lack of competition, but in reality the NBA 2K series stepped-up it’s game significantly with NBA 2K11. Sense being the recipient of significant acclaim there and being alone in the marketplace, NBA 2K’s job has been one of refinement rather than revolution, and NBA 2K14 isn’t about to break this trend.

The core gameplay experience of NBA 2K14 remains largely the same as in NBA 2K13; players will find that the videogame demands a great deal attention as they drive on offensive and play with caution when defending. The videogame appears to be much stricter on what constitutes a foul and far less forgiving with fumbled controls. Tight and decisive, that’s how NBA 2K14 demands you play at all times. It’s either that or you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the league.

The MyCAREER gameplay mode begins the player as a rookie. Before even starting the videogame you’ll be tasked with customising your name and appearance, and then you have the opportunity to play as this created character as theyElectronic Theatre Image climb from unknown to NBA superstar.  Rather than taking a commanding role in the team, switching between players as they receive the ball of enter a better position, you’ll control just this single player. The first match you’ll play is a showcase match on which two teams of hopefuls take to the court in the hope of proving themselves.

As you play through the match you’ll see a grade moving between ‘A’ and ‘D’ with success and failures, and the final grade determines your reward. Earn credits and spend them upgrading your player while ensuring that you remain open to other opportunities through a simple discussion based mini-game. It’s not particularly progressive and much ofElectronic Theatre Image the latter part of the system if lifted straight from previous instalments, however it returns simply because it’s a feature that resonated with fans. It’s a binary formula for developing a unique player, which is exactly what the MyCAREER mode is all about.

Surrounding the MyCAREER mode is all manner of other gameplay opportunities, showcasing NBA 2K14’s other technical advances. The front facing NBA Today mode features a vastly improved Dynamic Rosters system, a feature which sees the statistics of real world players updated daily to reflect the hot and cold streaks of players in real leagues. This is coupled with playing the highlight match-up of the day by default and the delivery of the latest resultsElectronic Theatre Image as they happen. With NBA 2K14 there’s no need to check out the latest results before playing the videogame as they’re delivered to you directly as you play.

Other noteworthy components include the vast variety of leagues, tournaments and customisable match types for one-to-four players offline. Of course, NBA 2K14 also includes online gameplay with a similar amount of customisability. The most impressive online option however, is that of the Team-Up mode. A ten player match in which each player takes to the court with the same soloist ranking system as the MyCAREER mode delivered with not one single experience of lag during Electronic Theatre’s time with the videogame.

While the player models don’t seem to be moving anywhere, the cloth animation has most definitely progressed. Players’ shorts will move not in relation to the player, but as a result of: it’s clear that the shorts have received a separate model and their own physics laws. Shirts are also notably smoother in their animation than ever before, though for some reason are far less believable than the shorts. In terms of aural quality the narration is also of a very high standard, often Electronic Theatre Imagereflecting events from either the real world NBA matches or your own efforts in MyCAREER depending on where you may be playing. The accompanying soundtrack, however, is an all-too familiar package of popular music and trending chart hits.

It’s not revolutionary and it doesn’t make any bold statements, but NBA 2K14 progresses the formula just enough to warrant consideration by the most ardent fans of the series. Many will criticise the videogame for sticking to what it knows, but to both newcomers and the core fans it’s a simple case of if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, NBA 2K14 is just what the NBA 2K franchise needed remain the finest basketball simulation videogame series currently available, however the competition is about to heat up with EA SPORTS’ NBA LIVE 14 just around the corner, so it’s only a matter of time until 2K Sports have to work that much harder to stay at the top of the league.

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