NBA 2K14 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 stood above nearly all other sports titles on the market. With the perfect mixture of fantastic gameplay, sleek graphics, and a decent variety of game modes, NBA 2K14 was near flawless in most regards. You can check out our review for the current-gen version of NBA 2K14 on the link here. 2K Sports is now taking the success of NBA 2K14 on current-gen hardware, and bringing the best b-ball action on the market to the next-generation of consoles. Very few launch titles have had me as excited as 2K14 and for good reason. NBA 2K14 for the Playstation 4 is no mere port, but rather a great representation of what the future will hold for this series with brand-new technology to work with.
The first thing that will easily impress most players upon first sight of 2K14 will be its gorgeous graphics. Truly a next-gen treat, NBA 2K14 is one of the most visually impressive launch titles available for the Playstation 4. Player models are far more accurate, with the spot-on facial expressions of players striking me the most. There are a few exceptions, but in most cases, player’s likenesses are as authentic as ever. Every player on the court looks and reacts like a real-life person, not just an emotionless character model. It presents players with a connection to the team and its players when controlling them.
Coaches have also received a nice graphical boost showcasing much more detail than previous years. You can view the difference clearly when everyone is huddled up during a timeout, or when any coach is being interviewed by Doris Burke, which is a new addition to the NBA 2K14 presentation package for next-gen consoles.
Not only have the players on the court gotten a visual overhaul for next-gen, but nearly every detail in the entire arena has been worked on and upgraded providing one of the most atmospheric sports game around. Almost no part of the arena has been left untouched. Lights reflect perfectly off of the hardwood. Crowds feature a greater variety of fans sprinkled throughout the stands. The team benches seem more alive with players and coaches constantly interacting either with each other or those on the floor, reacting to every play that happens on the court. Everything meshes and blends together phenomenally. It is nearly impossible to distinguish if someone is actually watching a real NBA broadcast when passing by or playing a video game. NBA 2K14 truly looks that damn good in-motion.
The gameplay remains virtually identical to that found on its current-gen counterpart, with a few noteworthy additions found on the next-gen version. First is Point of Emphasis, a new handy feature that allows players to make quick coaching decisions in order to adjust the team’s overall strategy. Pick a specific approach you want to have on both offense and defense in a matter of seconds. It is easily accessible when in-game, but can also be changed at any time during a timeout. Collision physics received some enhancements as well. Aspects of the game such as shot blocking, driving to the basket, lay-ups and dunks at the rim, and much more have greatly benefited from the extra attention and advancements made to NBA 2K14’s physics creating gameplay that looks and plays truer to life than other entries in years past.
Some changes have been made to the available game modes found in the next-gen version of NBA 2K14. The highly-entertaining “LeBron: Path to Greatness” mode found on both the PS3 and 360 versions has been removed entirely from NBA 2K14 on the newest platforms. Crews mode received the ax. Create-a-Player, aside from a basic version for MyCareer, and Create-a-Team also hit the chop block. Customization features as a whole for the next-gen version are nearly absent altogether, minus a few watered-down elements. The severe lack of game mode variety and customization options stand out as two of NBA 2K14’s biggest flaws on next-gen consoles, but far from game-breakers.
MyCareer, a mode long found in the NBA 2K series, is back for next-gen and has been totally revamped providing a more cinematic experience this go-around. Players guide their created baller on his journey from unknown prospect to NBA star. The use of interactive cutscenes adds to the overall experience as players will have choices to make with regards to how they want to respond to those around them. The dialogue found throughout MyCareer is horrendously bad, and a true riot to listen to. While most people your character comes across will communicate with words, your teammates will use textboxes to tell you how they feel. Yes, all of your teammates are complete mutes who do not open their mouths once during the mode, providing for some awkward exchanges of conversation. 2K seemed to have lofty ambitions with this new approach to MyCareer, but it is not executed nearly as properly as they likely wanted it to be, but it still provides a more engaging experience than just going to practice and doing the occasional interview here and there. MyCareer is the closest gamers will actually get to living the life of an NBA player. Hopefully 2K does continue to build on this flawed, yet bold approach to a career mode for the series.
For those that do not want to take part in a glorified drama made for TV, MyGM mode is also there for players who just want to manage their team and play games. A new take on the Association mode found in older NBA 2K games, MyGM allows players to control many aspects of their franchise from the team’s roster to prices on food sold at the arena.
And lastly there is Park. A fresh-take on the old Blacktop mode found on the PS3 and 360 versions, Park allows gamers to take their created players online and compete in different variations of pick-up basketball found at your local park; 3 vs. 3 half-court, 5 vs. 5 full-court, 2 vs. 2 half-court, and a few others game types are available. I did not manage to spend a large amount of time with this mode, but it certainly has potential as up to 100 players can be on any given server playing in games or waiting their turn to get in on the action.
Those who decided to wait until NBA 2K14 hit next-gen consoles may have made the right choice. NBA 2K14 on next-gen platforms stands head-and-shoulders above its cousin on PS3 and 360, even if it lacks a few extra features. Combining the best basketball gameplay available at the moment, with stunning visual detail, and a few decent game modes will keep any basketball fan happy. It truly showcases what the future entails for NBA 2K on next-gen consoles, and I am extremely excited to see what 2K can do with the series going forward. If you were to pick up only one title at the launch of either console, NBA 2K14 is certainly one of the best options at this current moment.