The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
as the second coming of Michael Jordan as early as his junior year of high
school, LeBron James has shouldered the burden of outlandish expectations his
entire life. But four MVP awards and two championships into his storied career,
he still has more than his fair share of haters. Most of this ill will springs
from the public relations gaffe where LeBron rebuffed his hometown fans on
national television and announced his intentions to take his talents to South
Beach alongside Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. After back-to-back championships
some of that hostility has abated, and NBA 2K14 serves as another step in the
rehabilitation of his reputation.
the LeBron: Path to Greatness mode, players assume control of King James to try
and best Michael Jordan's six NBA championships, which is the benchmark many
NBA fans expect the Miami Heat forward to reach if he wants to supplant Jordan as
the best player of all time. You can take two tracks to achieve this goal -
either stand tough in Miami or join LeBron on a "fantastic journey" where he
takes his talents to New York and eventually returns home to bring a
championship to Cleveland.
Concepts gives Path to Greatness as much attention to detail as the stellar
Jordan Challenge from NBA 2K11, creating running storylines and providing
contextual commentary throughout the experience. The craftsmanship of these
what-if scenarios is impressive, but it comes off as a public relations stunt
built to communicate that LeBron's successes should be celebrated by all NBA
fans - including the shunned masses in Cleveland.
you're not a LeBron James fan, NBA 2K14 doesn't bring much else to the table in
terms of game modes. The Association mode is showing its age with curious GM AI
behavior that offers mystifying trades and does a poor job with team
construction. One rebuilding team offered me the center it just drafted number
two overall in exchange for a package centered around my backup small forward.
The popular My Career mode, which is still a destination mode, is largely
untouched, and relegating the restored five-on-five Crews mode to pickup
blacktop games is a missed opportunity. MyTeam, which is the 2K Sports version of EA's Ultimate Team, adds another tier of players, tournaments, and the ability to match up your team with a friend's.
the court, NBA 2K14 continues to improve its game. This year's primary change
comes in the form of a reconfigured right analog stick, which now handles all
dribbling and shooting moves without the need for a trigger modifier. This
system works well once you learn the subtleties of switching between dribbling
(where moves are activated by tapping the stick quickly in any direction) and
shooting (holding the stick in any direction).
up the trigger allowed Visual Concepts to surface freestyle passing. Pulling
off highlight reel no-look passes is as simple as holding the trigger and
pushing the right analog stick in the direction of the intended player, though
your success rate is largely dependent on the skills of the passing player. On
the other side of the ball, blocking shots is easier, and players defend off
the ball move with more urgency than in past iterations.
the on-court action needs refinement. Players clip through one another too
frequently when battling under the basket, balls warp strangely into players
hands during some transition animations, and defenses tend to sink too far into
the paint, leaving perimeter shooters way too much room to operate.
Like the superstar who
graces its cover, NBA 2K14 features an undeniable sense of greatness. Its
presentation is the best the sports genre has to offer, and the gameplay
refinements improve an already stellar game. It's a shame Visual Concepts
didn't put the same level of effort into improving the popular My Career or Association mode.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.