NBA 2K14 Review

NBA 2K14 and I got off on the wrong foot. Upon first booting up the game, I was  immediately thrown into a quick match between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs while the game installs in the background. This took a good 30 minutes to complete. It’s odd being forced to play as the Miami Heat in a game where there’s only background music, but I guess I’ll take that over waiting a half hour for it to install. Once I completed that, I thought I’d finally get to play some hoops in its MyCareer mode. Instead, I largely sat through what seemed like hours of exposition that played out through a barrage of painful cutscenes.

Things start out as you would expect for a career mode in a sports game. You’re an up-and-coming prospect with an opportunity to show off your skills at an exhibition game for scouts to assess your abilities. However, you have to sit through a number of cutscenes of your character talking to his agent and your rival before actually getting to touch a basketball. Besides being as poorly acted and written as last year’s cutscenes, they also go on for way longer this time. After that initial game, you sit through many more cutscenes, make some dialogue choices, pick out a suit for draft night and then watch three games complete from the sidelines. I get that the game wants to tell a specific story about your rise to NBA super stardom, but this doesn’t make for an entertaining video game by any measure.

Finally, it kicks into a rhythm where you’re actually getting to play basketball and it’s as awesome as it ever was. This still feels very close to the real deal, except with the added benefit of next generation graphics and additional animation. Despite having played dozens of hours of last year’s game, I got quickly sucked back into 2K14‘s vortex all over again.

The next gen version of the game is a bit thin on modes in relation to the the 360 or PS3 versions. Training mode as well as Path To Greatness were unfortunately cut. I probably wouldn’t have spent much time in the latter, but not having a place to freely practice plays is a bit of a downer. I guess if that’s the trade-off for next gen graphics this time, I’ll take it. They better not skimp out next year, though. What you do get, however, is still quite substantial. Of course, there’s the MyCareer stuff, which is the core of the experience. MyGM, which allows you to manage the business side of the sport. You can quick match any two teams. You can also play online.

After wading through the crap that is the beginning of MyCareer mode, NBA 2k14 delivers a sweet taste of next gen hoops. It retains the quality gameplay of previous efforts while adding better graphics and animation to the mix for an overall more realistic experience. If you’re fine with giving up the two missing modes, next gen is the way to go.

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