NBA 2K14 REVIEW
By: Takudzwa Makoni
Fans of the National Basketball Association are in for a treat. The long awaited newest edition to the 2K family- NBA 2k14- is finally arrived. It was worth the wait. It is easy to wax a bit too lyrical over each 2K offering, given the excellent job developer Visual Concepts does with marketing. That said, 2K14 is probably, in the words of Polygon Reviews, the most incremental upgrade in the recent history of this acclaimed franchise.
As a long-time fan of the franchise, and after suffering through many disappointing basketball titles over the years, this reviewer must admit initial cynicism. However, 2K14 lives up to the hype.
The challenge for sports titles has always been to find the fine line between accurate detailing, and applying creative license to facilitate the flow and ebb crucial to video gaming. 2K14 walks this line perfectly, with the most realistic simulation of basketball ever to hit the stage.
No great leaps forward are evident; however subtle, accurate changes from the previous, still-excellent 2K13 improve the gameplay immeasurably. With more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence, players on offence and defence no longer attack or defend according to pre-prescribed floor-spacing assumptions. The read-and-react ability of individual players is unprecedented. This marks an end to defensive blunders and game-plan inconsistencies. Combine this with the 2K franchises legendary presentation, leaves you feeling satisfied and engaged. The 2K franchises in-game commentary and analysis is still the best in the business
The one consistent criticism gamers have had about the franchise, particularly gamers not well acquainted with the nuances of real-life basketball, is that the control systems are just too darn hard to master, and from my experience, without mastering the controls, gamers really cannot fully appreciate the full basketball experience. 2K14 has gone some way to attempt to address this, with a new, interactive graphic lay-over that can show you exactly how to execute set moves, and where you’re supposed to be in certain situations.
Each year, 2K presents a new single player mode. This year’s Lebron: Path to Greatness mode allows you to play out the next seven years of the cover athlete, Lebron James’s career. You control options such as which team he signs for going forward, and which skill sets to focus on as he grows older. This mode, while amusing and engaging in the short term, will quickly take a back-seat to the other modes if one is not a Lebron fan.
The debate raging across the gaming world since the announcement of the new generation consoles set to hit the market in a few months is if this year’s current generation titles would be worth the investment, at over R600 a pop. NBA2K14, while flawed away from the court, with uninspired extra modes and no real option development, lives up to the hype once the opening tip-off is thrown. If you are not shelling out the bones for a next-generation console, then NBA 2K14 is definitely worth it.