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Review

NBA 2K14 Review

Not quite a slam dunk.

I immensely enjoyed NBA 2K13 last year, scoring it an eight in my review. It’s a game that has seen a lot of action in my house and the MyCareer mode was a thing of beauty, so I was interested to see how 2K would move the franchise forward. It’s definitely had some changes, and some of them are glaringly bad, with a couple of positives too.

When I started up NBA 2K14 I went right for MyCareer mode again. There is a much more fleshed out story and the relationships between you and other members of the NBA is much more rounded, with players issuing challenges over social media. As with last year, you don’t choose the first team you play for but are picked during a draft round after a Rookie Showcase.

The post game conferences, which were a nightmare to work out, after every match are gone. Instead, team chemistry is affected by interactive cutscenes between your avatar and other players. I much preferred this system.

The gameplay is solid enough, though I did have an issue with my assigned target players being switched during plays that ended up with me defending the wrong person, even though I was assigned to them seconds before. It’s an issue that was in 2K13 which I had hoped would be resolved but it sadly remains here.

There hasn’t been a complete overhaul in how the game plays with controls almost entirely similar to the previous iteration, including having the option of shooting using the right analog or a face button, while defending is mainly handled with the right analog. Dynamic goals also made a return, where the coach gives you a target to achieve while playing a match, though not all of them are achievable when you first start out.

Presentation wise, NBA 2K14 is absolutely beautiful with vivid colours and incredibly well done player animations. When a player speaks during a cutscene the mouth movement matches words to a tee, and visually it is an amazing looking game. Also you’ll get actual air footage of the city you’re playing in before a match begins.

The in game commentary once again takes my award for the best commentary of any sports game, though there is some recycling of lines from last year. There is also 2K’s Real Voice system where real life interviews with players are used during matches either during half time or post game, to comment on plays or the score. It brings the sense of realism up and is a brilliant addition.

You can upgrade your player again using Virtual Currency (VC) similar to last year, however this is where the first glaring issue arises. In NBA 2K13  you had the option to play a set number of skill games to earn extra VC, but they’re gone from NBA 2K14. Instead you have dreaded microtransactions, where you can buy extra VC to improve your player’s stats.

They’re optional of course but as a result it feels like it is a lot harder to earn points to receive upgrades and improve your player. The reward payouts also seemed less compared to last year turning MyCareer into a bit of a grind instead of a smooth progression.

VC ties all three main elements of the game together including MyCareer, MyGM and MyTeam. MyGM is the management mode of NBA 2K14 where you control every aspect of a team from playing the games to sorting out the finances, whereas MyTeam is similar to FIFA’s Ultimate Team.

NBA2K14

I enjoyed the MyGM mode due to the amount of control I had over the team, with everything from the on court action to scouting for new players, managing backroom staff, setting the prices for games and concessions, and bringing improvements to the team. It is a proper management mode that can take up hours of your life.

MyTeam is something I only dabbled with a little because I didn’t really like how it was set up. The menus were a bit tough to navigate (a complaint for most of the game actually), and I didn’t think it quite had the depth of similar modes in other games, like Ultimate Team, but with some time I’m sure it can be great.

VC is mainly used between MyCareer and MyGM to purchase improvements, but having the same balance to split between both modes makes it tough to decide whether you want to spend to improve your player in MyCareer, or increase his attributes in MyGM where he is the general manager of the team. I would have preferred the two to have been split so I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing points for one mode over another.

The biggest and most glaringly terrible feature that wasn’t discussed during the release of the game is that it requires an online connection to play any game if you’ve started a save while online. This, I feel, is probably tied to Virtual Currency which is saved to 2K’s own servers and not locally. In order to play anything other than a Quick Match offline, you’ll need to start a whole new save.

The error screen above presented itself when my internet was down briefly while I wanted to play MyCareer. I couldn’t access the mode at all and the same went for the other modes too. This is a major blow to the franchise and something that should have been explained clearly prior to release.

The choice shouldn’t be have an internet connection or start again from scratch while your access is down, because the single player game save should be saved locally. Obviously if I can’t access MyTeam without the internet that’s fair enough, but when it’s a single player save that gets locked out it becomes a whole other, very frustrating, ball game.

What’s Good:

  • Presentation is excellent again.
  • Gameplay is solid and easy to pick up.
  • Inclusion of Real Voice adds to sense of realism.
  • MyCareer is vastly improved.

What’s Bad:

  • Microtransaction option seems to have impacted VC earning ability.
  • Need an internet connection to access saves if career started when you were connected.
  • Loading times can be long.

NBA 2K14 is a gorgeous looking game, with a vastly improved MyCareer mode and an in depth MyGM mode. MyTeam is something that will take plenty of time to get into and enjoy. However the inclusion of microtransactions and the need for an internet connection have a major impact on how easy it is to recommend this game. Still, it’s the best basketball game on the market.

Score: 6/10

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14 Comments
  1. Germanos
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Holy shit, the visuals are amazing. The player faces look fantastic on those screenshots.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:11.
    • Amphlett
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      I agree my young friend, I agree. I had to do a double take after the first 10 seconds of gameplay in the video above as it looks so realistic.

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:59.
      • Germanos
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        I’m not that young -.-

        Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 11:44.
  2. nofi
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    Which format is this based on? The next-gen versions are incredible looking.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:13.
    • Aran Suddi
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      This is the PS4 vesion

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:32.
  3. bigchrissyc
    Member
    Since: Aug 2013

    I also agree, getting VC is harder this year than last, and some of the earlier Dynamic goals are laughable, such as ‘Your team is down bring them back to within 5 points’ which is fine is you wasnt 20 points behind with 3 minutes left in the quarter.

    The visuals are amazing though, i have this for PS4 btw. My biggest gripe is with shooting, last years version was a little off with even open look, perfect release shots missing frequently but this year seems to have taken it too another level, last yerr at least 2K gave you a HUD version of shot release, look at the basket, how well you was defended (each coloured Green through red), this year its relegated to few words under the Myplayer stat bar making it even harder to gauge a good shot.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:30.
  4. JesseDeya
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    6?

    I don’t normally get hung up on score, but it seems you’ve written an 8/10 review and then slugged it 2 points for (optional) micro-transactions and the internet thing.

    Congrats, lowest review score on the internet by a country mile :)

    I’m enjoying the game on PS4 at the moment, only had it 24hrs by boy howdy is it pretty.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 09:49.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Not interested in the genre but that score was a bit of a surprise. Felt like 7 or 8 out of 10. Then again, perhaps Aran is happy even when sad. :-)

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 10:01.
    • nofi
      One for all.
      Since: Forever

      “I don’t normally get hung up on score, but it seems you’ve written an 8/10 review and then slugged it 2 points for (optional) micro-transactions and the internet thing.”

      The VC and micro-transactions do massively affect the game. That, and needing to be always-online.

      The game is beautiful, but it does suffer from the above.

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 11:10.
    • Aran Suddi
      Member
      Since: Sep 2011

      That’s a valid criticism so I’ll break down my thought process when I reviewed NBA 2K14.

      First off I took the decision to review it by comparing it to 2K13, which I scored an 8 last year.

      Yes 2K14 looks outstanding but that was had minimal effect on score. Instead gameplay mattered which for the most part hadn’t changed bar some cosmetic differences. If that was all then I probably would have awarded an 8, possibly a 9.

      However the VC system is worse this time. round, coupled with the removal of skill games you could select which offer both rewards and making it harder to earn VC, all the while giving the micro transaction option a massive push in the menus didn’t feel right. There also didn’t seem to be any security from stopping say a kid getting extra VC. Just a couple of pushes and it’s done.

      That would have got the game a 7.

      However locking single player saves online with the solution being to start again if you lose the Internet for whatever reason is something I’m against. I’ve made no secret of my opposition to single player DRM.

      That bumped it down to a 6.

      If I had scored this an 8 then that would have been like saying this is as good as 2K13 when there are issues that need to be addressed, and weren’t present in last year’s title.

      As a reviewer I feel it my duty to give the best advice encompassing every bit of the product which I feel I did here. Obviously you don’t have to agree with my reasons or the score, but that’s how I reviewed it.

      If you have questions just let me know and I’ll happily answer them.

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 14:27.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      Most of those higher scoring reviews were published before the always-on internet patch happened only a few days ago.

      The fact that a company can make such a change (that they clearly planned out before release but kept secret) after a game is released and be able to avoid having the label the game as requiring a reliable internet connection is pretty shocking.

      You can be sure that many of those higher scoring reviewers would have docked a mark or two had the always-on DRM been included when they were reviewing the game too.

      Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 15:57.
    • Huddy
      Member
      Since: Mar 2011

      And they were right to do so. Had this review been up at launch I would of held off purchasing and read more community feedback.

      2k added the requirement to be online for save games AFTER release, there is still no mention of this anywhere on the packaging even today. It’s impact means that if the 2k servers are down and oh boy they are down just as much as up it leaves your only game option as a quick game.

      Further more 2k have decided to heavily monetise this game with even the most simple actions requiring an in game purchase to access.

      I’ve lost saves, around 20k in VC due to 2k server connection failure since release, the games also still riddled with bugs and yet the mainstream media don’t care, so well done TSA for highlighting these important issues, keep up the good work!

      Comment posted on 04/01/2014 at 00:28.
  5. lambchop
    Member
    Since: Aug 2013

    I’ve downloaded the demo of this but not had chance to check it out yet. Looks good though.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 13:03.
  6. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    The reason there is no mention of the required internet connection on the packaging is because it was patched in after release.

    I’m shocked more has not been made of this story to be honest- if it was EA or Activision the internet might have exploded with rage.

    Comment posted on 11/12/2013 at 15:52.

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