With this being the first time I have played an NBA2K game since NBA2K10 over a friends house, I was surprised to see how much of an improvement 2K has made on their long running basketball series. The controls have been changed from when I last played and that proved to be an issue relearning the rather over complicated control set that has been provided.
After playing a few ‘featured games’ as the NY Knicks (who are obviously the best team on the game, right?) to get used to the new and – not so – improved control set I delved into MyCAREER. This aspect of the game sees you create a player, play a trial game, and get drafted (hopefully).
Having not played the game in over three-years, I have become awful, not that I was really any good at it anyway. NBA2K14 was not afraid to point this out to me by giving me a D- in my trial game. After that embarrassing performance I managed to be the 18th pick in the draft for the Timberwolves. This was one of the teams that really wanted me in the draft interview process, so I was happy to join (not that I had a choice).
For those out there not familiar with ‘MyCAREER’ it’s sort of like FIFA’s ‘Be A Pro’. You make a player and play as him and only him as the computer controls the rest of the team.
This particular game mode is very hit and miss. Getting the ball off your team mates proves near impossible and calling for the ball constantly makes your rating drop, so you make fewer coins to buy upgrades to improve your player attributes. The lack of passing came more to light when the Timberwolves entertained the Pistons and I needed two points to win the game, the AI kept hold of the ball and decided to shoot for three and missed. I was wide open begging for the ball and could have won the game for us. Beating the Pistons would have ended a horrible nine game losing streak that I had.
If you’re not happy with the team that you have been drafted to, you can put in a draft request and get drafted to a better team. I stuck it out with the Timbrewolves, but you can pretty much choose who you go to.
Despite the issues I had on the court, off the court however is the most detailed career mode I have ever played, not just in an NBA game but in any sports game. You take part in draft interviews, post-game press conferences, sign endorsements for shoes, and even take your team mates out for dinner or reply to fans on your media interface which is basically 2K’s version of Twitter. Using this feature helps boosts the team chemistry or makes the fans love you, depending on what option you choose.
NBA2K14 also has a game mode dedicated to the cover star, LeBron James. This game mode is similar to the ‘Creating A Legend’ mode on 2K12 which sees you take control of ‘his airness’ Michael Jordan as you choose a path for the legendary basketball player. The LeBron James mode is slightly different as you choose what to do with the cover star, one of the options leads you down a mutliteam route where legendary players come out of retirement, and new young ball players come through. Or you can stay with the Heat and carry on being King of the basketball court.
Although I got fairly bored of playing through the MYcareer part of the game (I normally get bored easily playing through career modes of sports games) I thought the game was definitely one of, if not, the best sports games I have ever played. The Career mode is incredibly in-depth with the involvement of the social media feed so you can ‘interact’ with fans and team mates.
I did have problems when actually playing matches, my team refused to pass the ball to me as much as they should and could have. This does change when the team chemistry is boosted, but it takes a while for that to happen, and it often costs you games earlier in your career.
The commentary in the game is very realistic and it’s nice to have the flowing commentary rather than a pause before the commentator says your pre-recorded name. Like the rest of the game, the commentary is also very in-depth, which is not at all surprising with lengths Visual Concepts has gone to making this game as much of a realistic experience as possible.
Despite all the good about the game, the main let down is the new control set. If like me you only know the basics, the game is not really tailored for newbies, or passive basketball fans. A really neat feature to NBA 2K14 is the inclusion of the European teams. As Basketball and NFL are becoming ever more popular over this side of the pond, the inclusion of the EuroLeague teams is only going to help the sport grow further here.
Note: I did not get a chance to try the online, every time I attempted to find a game it would say the servers were unavailable or the matchmaking failed.