FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
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Thu, 17th Oct 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Ever since the release of NBA 2K11 in 2010, the series has been going very strong thanks to the addition of Michael Jordan.

Even though Michael Jordan is still featured in NBA 2K14, the main focus for this year is none other than LeBron James.

With that being said, is there enough new content in NBA 2K14 that will entice fans to purchase it? Annual sport games in the video game industry are nothing new.

Each year, games from EA and 2K Sports get released and minimal changes are made. Yet, sport games are still popular as fans still buy them annually for new teams and players that usually come in.

NBA 2K11 was the last time the series changed dramatically, however the series has started to feel quite similar ever since then…

I’ve played every NBA 2K game since NBA 2K6 and huge changes were made when NBA 2K11 entered the fray. The graphics, presentation and allowing fans to play as Michael Jordan made NBA 2K11 one of the best sport games ever made.

NBA 2K12 was a great follow up as you could play as other NBA Legends while NBA 2K13 had the USA Dream Team and the All Star Weekend as DLC.

Sadly, NBA 2K14 is lacking in terms of adding new game modes. The NBA Legends are still playable in this game, but there are no different modes for you to play other than straight-up basketball.

Not to mention they got rid of the NBA All Star Weekend altogether. You can no longer do the 3-Point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest or play in the All Star game.

The only new mode that has been added to NBA 2K14 is “Path to Greatness”. In this mode, you play as LeBron James and the current Miami Heat team.

Your goal is to get “seven rings” (NBA Championships) with LeBron and the Miami Heat. This means LeBron James could surpass Michael Jordan’s six rings If this mode in NBA 2K14 comes true.

It’s a fun mode, but only if you are a fan of LeBron James. It’s kind of a redundant mode if you are a LeBron hater or not a huge fan of the Miami Heat team. Thankfully, you can still play as many other NBA teams.

This includes old teams from the past and for the first time ever; several European teams are available to play too. However, you still cannot play as the New Zealand Breakers…

Other than “Path to Greatness”, every other mode in NBA 2K14 is virtually the same as in NBA 2K13. If you already played NBA 2K13 and was expecting to play anything different, you are out of luck. That’s not to say that NBA 2K14 is exactly the same as NBA 2K13. This is because most of the changes have been made to the actual core gameplay itself.

The biggest difference between the two games has been made to the controls. In NBA 2K13, you had to hold down the left trigger and flick the right stick up in order to shoot.

In NBA 2K14 however, holding down the left trigger and licking the right sticks means you pass the ball instead. NBA 2K13 veterans will need to relearn how to play the game as there are many other controls changes that have been made too.

Most of the dribbles, step-overs and other offensive maneuvers have been altered in NBA 2K14. This will make life pretty hard for those that learnt all of these moves in NBA 2K13.

2K Sports tried to make these moves accessible to they made the controls are bit easier to do. Alas in the process of doing this, NBA 2K13 players will need to play a few more games to get used to the new controls.

The controls isn’t’t the only thing NBA 2K veterans need to be aware of either. The other main things I noticed about NBA 2K14 is the fact the physics and A.I. have been amped up to make the game more realistic than ever before.

Watching your footing has become more crucial as you can no longer sprint in hopes of getting a slam dunk as easily as before. If you run too fast and bump into other players, you will lose your footing and will have a high chance of losing the ball.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the defense has become more brutal too. Players can now block dunks and layup from behind, but they also guard the basket more frequently too. Casual gamers may find NBA 2K14 to be harder than previous games in the series…

Presentation wise, not much else is different from the previous games. The replays, in-game music, menus and other things remain the same.

The soundtrack for NBA 2K14 is pretty terrible in my opinion. The soundtrack was hand-picked by LeBron James himself, and his taste music is different to that of mine. The fact that he added Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is just one of the many horrid songs he’s chose to be in the game.

Graphically, the game looks excellent and is the best 2K Games can do with current generation hardware. The NBA 2K series’ graphics peaked at NBA 2K11, and there’s not much else they could have done to improve the visuals since then.

Even though the graphics looked great on the Xbox 360 version I played, I’m sure the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One versions of NBA 2K14 will look even better.

NBA 2K14 is an excellent game, but I feel that 2K Sports ran out of ideas to add new modes to the game. This usually happens to all annual sports titles, and I feel that NBA 2K11’s Michael Jordan mode will be unmatched for many years to come.

Still if you are an avid basketball fan, NBA 2K14 offers the most realistic gameplay the sport has ever seen. Not to mention the game will be released on the PS4 and Xbox One later this year so the graphics will look realistic too.

Graphics: 8.0Gameplay: 9.0Sound: 7.0Lasting Appeal: 8.0

Overall: 8.0