- Publisher: 2K Games
- Developer: 2K Sports
- ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
- Genre: Sports
- Pros: Gorgeous Graphics, Great Audio, Depth of Mods, Smooth Gameplay
- Cons: Nearly Identical to Last Year's Model
The Miami Heat star doesn’t just appear on the cover of “NBA 2K14,” he dominates the game as well. He’s the first face you see and the first voice you hear when you start it up. You’re encouraged to play “LeBron: Path to Greatness,” a series of “highlights” of LeBron’s year. Interested fans will run through a rematch with the Spurs, a game with the Lakers in which you’re trying to beat out Kobe for MVP consideration, and, of course, key Playoff games. Then you take the potential future even further, choosing to continue the dynasty in Florida or possibly building another one around LeBron in another city. Try Cleveland. It will be ironic. All the other expected game modes are here are largely unaltered in terms of structure and even menu presentation – Season, Playoffs, Association, etc.
The core dynamics of “NBA 2K14” are nearly identical to last year’s edition. If a casual fan saw you playing the game, right down to the menu screens, they might not be able to tell the difference. There are some new pass assist and “smart play” mechanics, neither of which I found too engaging. In fact, call me a rebel, but the smart plays that I tested out never worked. And I’m talking turnover-never-worked. You can still call plays, shoot with either the right stick or a face button, pass as fluidly as you’ll ever see in this generation, and everything else you’ve come to expect.
The on-court gameplay is so remarkably fluid that you almost take it for granted. The game never glitches out like basketball sims did for about two decades. Yes, there are times when some of the animations feel predetermined to a degree that there’s no way to defend against them, but I imagine that’s how some players feel trying to defend against LeBron in real life too. You’re just getting in the way of destiny. As with most sports games, the developers do seem to play up the superstars a bit much – you could pretty much win a game with Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, etc. if you played ball-hog and took every single shot.
The right stick mechanics have been notably amplified. A quick flick of the stick and you’re dribbling behind your back to shake a defender or taking an outside shot. It’s hard to describe but they feel more organic and easy to use. There’s a new freedom to passing with the shoulder buttons that allows you to do so with the right stick. Good luck with it. I found it a bit too prone to turnovers but it’s clearly something that could be mastered over time and give you more precision with your passing.