NBA 2K14 is a great entry into the basketball game genre, as we mentioned in our PS3 & Xbox 360 review. Basketball fans were, up until the last couple of years, deprived of a solid basketball video game. The NBA 2K series evolved each year, and took hold as the leader of the genre, something supported by a loyal fanbase. With the announcement that the series was coming to the next generation of consoles, many people expected great things. Lets see what was delivered in the finished product.

The major improvement here comes by way of graphics, however, it is not a small leap in presentation. The graphical upgrade is jaw-dropping, and makes NBA 2K14 the closest thing to a photorealistic game that I have seen on consoles yet. The players LOOK exactly like their real-life counterparts, they act like their real-life counterparts and they PLAY like their real-life counterparts. Their signature moves and styles of play have been captured with precision.

The lighting engine and design of the surroundings have been tweaked to make the court almost indistinguishable from one you would see on a televised game. The player models and the range of emotions they can express is unbelievable. Truly, you must see this game rendered in real-time to appreciate the absolute beauty and finesse of its presentation. It is a ground-breaking achievement which makes me excited about the future of the PS4 and Xbox One; what we will see on the consoles in a couple of years when they reach their prime. NBA 2K14 is, without a doubt, the most realistic next generation title I have seen thus far.

The gameplay has also been given a significant improvement, with everything now feeling a bit tighter. To be honest, the gameplay and mechanics were almost at their peak in the current generation versions, so, there was little 2K could do to improve them; they just made everything feel a bit smoother and added some polish. It really is THE basketball game to own if you want something akin to reality. The game KNOWS basketball and expects you to play it as if you were playing it in life. The development team has given huge attention to the finer details in this respect.

Unfortunately, with the upgrades in graphics and gameplay come a few downgrades. Some of the gamemodes have been stripped away from the game, such as Crews and the signature Lebron’s Path to Greatness. They aren’t HUGE losses, and I definitely welcome the other upgrades in return for the loss of these, however, I know some people will be disappointed that the next generation version isn’t ‘full’. In addition to these game mode losses, a few other features have been streamlined, which is a bit of a disappointment.

The fantasy league features have been scaled back A LOT. Team customisation, and deep customisation in general, are missing from the online fantasy league modes. Practice and association modes have also been removed, and, in general, both the Online Leagues and offline modes are rather lacking in variety. A lot of very popular features have been stripped away, and this will definitely be noticed by many players making the upgrade to next gen. It is quite disappointing that these modes have been removed.

Overall, the game looks and plays fantastically. It is definitely the most realistic basketball game ever released in terms of visuals and mechanics. Unfortunately, with these upgrades come the loss of many deep customisation features and gamemodes, and these will be sorely missed by core fans. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in either patches, or the next iteration of the game, but for now, the lack of content makes quite an impact on established fans.

NOTE: This review deals primarily with the UPGRADES/DOWNGRADES which have been made for the next generation versions of NBA2K14. For more details on the static elements of the game, please see our PS3/Xbox 360 review below this note. Thank you for reading!

ORIGINAL REVIEW (14th Oct 2013 at 11:03)

NBA 2K14 is here just in time for the kick off of this year’s basketball season. This years entry in the popular sports game series brings a new game modes and a few changes to the lineup and offers some… different things you may not have seen before in a basketball videogame. Read on for more from our review of 2K Sport’s latest release…

A new game mode has been added to the game for its 2014 release, focused specifically around one player; LeBron James. His ‘Path to Greatness’ gamemode brings you through the best moments of James’ life as an NBA player, and allows you to play each of his key moments as he begins as a new player, to his current success. Unfortunately, the mode lacks depth and isn’t something that I really enjoyed playing. His story is told a little unrealistically, and doesn’t add much to the game.

Unfortunately, not a lot has changed between 2K13 and 2K14, although, last year’s version was pretty close to perfect (on current-gen tech) in terms of mechanics and aesthetics as you can get, so, we can’t really blame 2K on that. We can, however, blame them on the lack of alternative new features added in lieu of the lack of major engine upgrades. While LeBron’s gamemode was added, there has not been much else added to the title on the game mode front, so, it is a little light on improvements. EA are bringing back NBA Live for next gen consoles, so, that may push 2K to be more innovative in the next release.

The only new noticeable feature added to the game is a pass assist mechanic. You can now use the left trigger (L2/LT) along with the right analogue stick to utilize a new, improved pass system. This is something that has been implemented well and does help a lot with using tactical dribbling and passing. This is something that was badly needed in the series, as the previous system was too difficult to use efficiently, so, it is great that 2K have finally given it an overhaul.

As we said, the aesthetics are great albeit largely unchanged. The sounds and commentary are great, however, and do make a considerable improvement. You can feel a more authentic game atmosphere as you launch up a match, which makes the game feel more realistic. The UI and other game modes remain largely unchanged from last years release, so, as usual, Seasons, Career Mode and other options such as MyPlayer are still available for you to enjoy.

Although not a lot of changes have been made, 2K14 still remains a great title. At the moment, it is the only major basketball title on the market, however, EA are set to change that with the return of NBA Live on next gen next month. It will be interesting to see how 2K respond to their new competitor. NBA 2K14 is currently available on Xbox 360 and PS3 and is coming to PS4 and Xbox One at their launch.


IMPORTANT NOTE: In the SCORES section below:
– (OG) represents old generation, eg. PS3, Xbox 360
– (NG) represents new generation, eg. PS4, Xbox ONE
*lack of either of these means the score is common to both versions