NBA 2K14 was a solid, if not spectacular basketball when we reviewed It on PC. It was identical in many ways to its predecessors and had some nagging flaws that drug our opinion of it down some. Now we review NBA 2K14 for next-gen on the Xbox One. Is it the definitive NBA 2K14 experience, did 2K Sports cut too much to get it to market on time?
Let’s start with what everyone will notice first, the visuals. Yes, it looks substantially better than the last-gen edition in pretty much every way. The lighting, shadows, textures, models and animations all stand out and make this the best looking basketball game yet released. The commentary is also improved with new lines and more varied content. The Real Voice segments, in-game interviews with players and coaches that use contextually chosen real-life recordings of the player/coach involved is an odd addition. In its own way it’s innovative and unique but it doesn’t add a lot to the experience.
As for the gameplay itself, if you didn’t like the foot planting tech from past NBA 2Ks (the mechanic that requires your players to stop, plant, and then cut or move), you’ll hate it here because it’s much more prevalent. It actually makes the game feel a little sluggish until you acclimate to the timing, but it also succeeds in giving the players on the court a feeling of weight and momentum. The rest of the game controls are the same as on the PS3/360 versions.
A significant strategy chess match comes in the form of points of emphasis, a set a varied play styles to focus on, ranging from “focus on pick and roll offense” and “play through a specific player” on offense to “don’t allow anything inside” and “create chaos” on defense. You pick one offense point, one defensive point and a flex point which can be either offensive or defensive. You can change these before the game and on the fly, making for the aforementioned chess match as you change them around to try to simultaneously counter your opponent and exploit any holes you can find.
MyCAREER, my favorite mode in the series, gets a huge upgrade with fully acted cut scenes with coaches, other players, the media and your personal rival, Jackson Ellis.
I freaking hate Ellis. He’s played up so much as your rival, a player to compare yourself to as you develop, but he’s almost a cartoonish level of disrespectful. He also apparently sucks so bad he can’t hold a team. I met him early in my career and he played for the Jazz, but only a week or so later he was on the Pelicans. So my rival, the guy who’s supposed to push me to greatness by challenging my success, got traded a little over a week into his career? Color me unimpressed.
NBA 2k14 for Xbox One has a few flaws that need pointed out. On some cut scenes the character models wobble and vibrate for the entirety of the scene, which is really distracting. The Xbox One’s DVR also refuses to capture any sound from the game, which can be a turnoff if you were hoping to make highlight clips.
If you have a next-gen system, I’d definitely recommend NBA 2K14. It plays at least as well as the last-gen versions (which were very good), and it looks outstanding. Not only is it a great way to show off your new investment, it’s a good game in its own right.