- Street Date:
- October 1st, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Roger Shao
- Review Date:1
- October 28th, 2013
- Game Release Year:
- 2K Sports
- Visual Concepts
- ESRB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
The PC version is value priced at nearly half of what the console versions go for, making the lack of some features expected and announced for the Xbox One and PS4 versions (due this year) more understandable.
Once again it's fall and for hoop fans of the digital variety that means one thing and one thing only, 'NBA 2K' is back, baby! Doing away with the retro themed covers of the last few years, 'NBA 2K14' features The King himself, Lebron in all his chalk tossing glory. And it's appropriate, as this year's title includes an entire mode that focuses on King James and his quest for NBA immortality.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
The brilliant thing about the NBA 2K series is that not only has Visual Concepts continued to innovate and improve every year with new modes and graphics, it has done so without a direct competitor driving them for the last 4 years. Long time players know that since the demise of EA Sports' 'NBA Live,' the 'NBA 2K' series of games has literally been the only game in town.
Compared to last year's title, a surface inspection of '2K14' does not appear to be a significant upgrade. The game boasts the same modes and graphics as before with only minor tweaks in both gameplay and animations. While these tweaks can be both good and bad, (I'm looking at you removal of Coach mode) in general they serve to streamline and improve the overall authentic feel of the game. The real change this year is the addition of the Path to Greatness mode. Similar to the NBA's Greatest mode in '2K12,' Path to Greatness tasks you with first recreating then extending the career of one Mr. James. In the game, you can take full control of Lebron's career whether that's staying in Miami with his super friends or returning home to Cleveland to finish the job, it's entirely up to you.
Returning modes include My Career, Association, and Blacktop modes. All three are enjoyable and definitely reward you for the time you put into it. My Career lets you create a player and then take him from a NBA wannabe balling on the streets to starting for the Lakers in the NBA finals... If you're good enough.
Association is a personal favorite of mine and it returns intact and possibly smarter than ever. Being able to run your home town team is THE fantasy for many a hoop fan across the country. and this is the mode to fulfill those needs. As the General Manager, you can hire/fire the coaches, trainers, and even scouts on your team. You'll also be able to manage the roster through trades and the draft, which is handled with surprising accuracy this year with a virtual Adam Silver replacing David Stern at the podium. A change I did notice was that the trade logic for CPU controlled teams seems to have been smartened up. No longer would they trade first round picks to you for mere expiring contracts, which was how I ended up with 3 of the first 5 picks one year.
The gameplay is as refined as ever and is the best representation of basketball that you can get on a PC. Small tweaks to the controls have been added to the shooting and dribbling mechanics. Everything is now controlled with the analog sticks which allow you to add modifiers and change your shot on-the-fly for more variety when you are going through lane and have to decide between that floater or a reverse layup.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
On a widescreen 1440 X990 display with the highest settings the game is gorgeous, sweat glistens off the body and jerseys flutter realistically as the players move. If your rig can't handle the max just dial down the anti-alias and crowd detail levels which are notorious resource hogs, and it should run fine. Of particular note this year is the added animations, which are awesome. You only have to see the awkward missed high five once to appreciate how close this is to real life NBA action.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The music for the 2K series never disappoints, and this year the tracks have been chosen by Lebron himself so you know they must be good... I'm mean I'm just saying he is the King. The track list is impressive and features artists ranging from Eminem and Drake to Daft Punk and The Gorillaz, there's something here for everyone. In any case, the commentary is the real highlight with more than 50 hours of new commentary from Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg, and Steve Kerr added to last year's bank. If you ever wanted an anecdote about Emeka Okafor you are in for a treat.
With the Career, Association, and online modes you will be playing this game for as long as the NBA season lasts. Be sure to look out for the planned patch that is sure to come when the trade deadline passes followed by the roster updates for the playoffs aka "the second season."
All in all a great addition to one's library, provided you haven't played last year's game. I was a little disappointed with the lack of additions but seeing as 2K Sports and Visual Concepts have probably directed most of their resources towards the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game while still adding some features to the current version, I can give a forgive a few omissions.
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