Published on October 12th, 2013 | by admin0
NBA 2K14 PS3 Review
Summary: More of a refinement than a revolution, but still the best depiction of basketball on the current generation. A massive amount of content, absorbing career modes and online features mean you won’t get bored in a hurry.
Distributor: 2K Games
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs
More of a refinement than a revolution, but still the best depiction of basketball on the current generation. A massive amount of content, absorbing career modes and online features mean you won’t get bored in a hurry.
NBA 2K is back, and this time it’s all about LeBron, baby. The marquee player of the NBA lends both his likeness and narration to the franchsie, and even chips in with his own story mode: The rather modestly titled ‘LeBron James: Path to greatness.’ This branching single player campaign puts the champ through his paces in a series of key matches. At the end of each one you’ll accrue points, and the eventual total will determine your success at making LeBron the greatest player of all time.
This new story mode is the flagship attraction for 2K14, and it’s a welcome addition to a game that was already bursting with playable modes and things to do.
And that’s an important point: While there are some welcome new features and play modes, the core experience is the same as 2K13. Returning fans will notice this as soon as they dive in, finding that the game’s presentation has changed little in the previous 12 months. In short, it looks, sounds and plays pretty much exactly the way last year’s title did.
Some little quirks have been carried over as well. For example, some of the sound effects and voices are patchy, either having a graininess to them or sounding like they were recorded in somebody’s shed. The non-player character models (cheerleaders, coaching staff etc.) have stilted animations, and occasional clipping issues. And as much as you want your avatar to be a pasty white boy from Australia (I really did!), he still only comes with the one voice, and sounds like he’s fresh off the streets of Harlem- you feelin’ me? While these were never deal breakers, the fact that they haven’t been smoothed out since last time makes them more irksome.
But to be honest, it’s a testament to the quality of the product that I’m talking about these minor details at all.
While it does sometimes feel as if you’re playing last year’s game again, peer a little closer and you will spot some noticeable differences. For one, the AI seems to have benefited from some tweaking, and is less exploitable by cheap tactics. And the overall fluidity of the game is exceptional. While the player models aren’t perfect, you only have to watch a replay back to see how realistic the action looks.
As well as the aforementioned ‘Path to Greatness’ mode, there are some other new additions to keep you occupied. Along with all of the current NBA teams, you can select from a list of European basketball clubs to play with. While it’s great to have the extra content, it would be even better to have a dedicated story mode for them, or to have the new teams integrated into MyCareer. How awesome would it be to have your created player wet his feet in the Euro leagues before crossing the Atlantic to play with the big boys?
For those who prefer to play against real people, there are a whole heap of modes to keep you engaged. The online aspect of NBA 2K has really been ramped up here. If you choose to, you can keep the game fresh by having your virtual players updated on a regular basis, reflecting real-world form peaks and slumps.
The real strength of NBA 2K remains its flexibility. It lets you play the way you want to play: Arcade shoot-out, or defence-minded simulation. You can learn to pull off fancy moves with the right analogue stick, or you can play virtually your whole career without touching it. “Basketball isn’t easy,” as King James himself warns during the intro. Unlike LeBron, however, we have access to sliders. You can use these to adjust the difficulty of pulling off any action on the court, so if you feel that any one area of the game is getting away from you, it’s a simple matter of adjusting.
While the core of the game is the same as last year’s, it’s hard to criticise a product that was already outstanding in so many ways. For returning fans, expect much of the same great experience, with a few added bonuses. It may come down to how much use you’ll make of the enhanced online features as to whether you shell out again. For those new to the series, have no doubt- the amount of content available represents ridiculously good value, and for any basketball fan… Nay, any sports fan, this should be considered an essential purchase. It’s as faithful and enthusiastic a portrayal of the sport as ever there has been.