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Review

NBA 2K14 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

The King packs his bags for Cleveland

You have to feel a little sorry for Tim Duncan. Labeled as boring throughout his career, The Big Fundamental captured four rings but never the hearts of the basketball-loving public. And there's no secret why; the man lacks style. A 12-foot bank shot may be an effective tactic, but it's not going to convince a casual fan to jump out of his or her seat to bellow a rowdy cheer. It's why a high-flying underachiever like Vince Carter was so highly touted while a multiple champion could elicit a collective shrug. Style is everything in basketball. NBA 2K14 embraces the artistic expression that surfaces only when trading baskets with sweaty men, and in doing so, it's an impressive and exciting representation of the real sport.

Last year's edition of NBA 2K tinkered with right analog stick control, but 2K14 goes full steam ahead with this initiative. Depending on what direction you move the stick in and how long you hold it, you can mimic the movements of a real NBA player. It's a worthwhile improvement that gives you greater control over how you attack defenders, letting you infuse your own personality into the action. Smoothly performing crossovers, jab steps, sweeping hooks, and even flashier moves such as behind-the-back passes with ease lets you orchestrate a show so entertaining even Miami Heat fans would show up on time to watch.

You can't blame Bucks fans for not showing up.

There's an extensive tutorial to guide you through the vagaries of your basketball repertoire, but you're better off ignoring it completely. Oddly enough, the practice floor is the worst place to learn how to play. Fiddling with the stick to pull off specific moves is frustrating, because if you're off by just a few degrees, you do something completely different. Basketball is all about context and reacting to what your opponent is doing, and the stiffness present in the tutorial smothers that freedom. So just head straight to the court. The only way you learn is if you're pushing yourself against the NBA elite.

Defensive players swarm like rabid hawks, relentlessly attacking entry passes and hounding ball carriers. And the only way you're going to consistently score is by being smart with both the ball and your positioning. Lazy passes are turned into fast-break baskets faster than you can flop for a foul call, and the added defensive intensity forces you to play smart or lose miserably. Master your back-to-the-basket game, and you can demand a double team. Pass to your open teammate for a couple of wide-open jumpers, however, and your defenders have to concoct a new plan. There's an enticing chess match going on as you and your opponent size each other up, implement strategies, and then readjust on the fly.

Someday there will be a game built around Gail Goodrich.

The improved controls are paired with diverse animations that make anything that could happen on an NBA court seem possible. Fouls happen because of how you and your opponent are positioned, so you know when you're smartly gambling for a steal and when you're just being stupid. Subtle body movements are important in creating (or eliminating) space between two players, and you usually feel in complete control of how things play out. Blocks are now a formidable weapon for a long-armed big man. Driving point guards can't expect to glide effortlessly to the hoop for free layups. If you're just trying to overpower your opponent, you're going to lose. You need finesse to get open shots, which makes you learn the intricacies of your players' skill sets and plan offensive sets accordingly.

There are still some oddities that detract from the realistic action. The most glaring quirk is that players often don't know how to react when there's a loose ball. They may stare longingly at a deflected pass instead of diving to control it, which would be worth a benching in real life. Plus, the ball doesn't always react like it should. Sometimes it might bounce as if covered in glue, or randomly ricochet like a Ping-Pong ball. These hiccups stand out starkly against the otherwise impressive visuals in 2K14. The franchise has always done a fine job of replicating the faces and movements of players, but now the rhythm of the action so closely mirrors the real thing it's almost eerie.

Are you ready for the Evan Turner era in Philadelphia?

New in 2K14 is a mode called Path to Greatness that lets you follow LeBron James as he tries to elevate his place in the NBA's hierarchy. Two paths--one realistic and one zany--are on offer, and seeing the crazy hypotheticals play out is certainly interesting. Unlike a similar mode in NBA 2K11 that let you fill Michael Jordan's shoes, Path to Greatness doesn't require you to reach a specific stat line to progress. Because you need only win to proceed, you can play your way, which is a lot of fun given LeBron's wide assortment of talents. More fanfic than historical document, this mode is a good way to explore The King's options. And who knows, maybe he will end up back in Cleveland some day…

Despite the occasional technical missteps, NBA 2K14 is a great experience that deftly captures the essence of what makes the NBA so appealing. Nothing could perfectly replicate reality, but 2K14 has almost as much personality, and gives you the freedom to perform how you wish. With lifelike animations, realistic player models, and an assortment of moves that would make even Dwyane Wade blush, NBA 2K14 further blurs the line between the real game and its digital equivalent.

The Good
Tons of different moves that are easy to pull off
Action flows just like the real game
Ramped-up defensive intensity forces you to smartly plan your offense
LeBron's Path to Greatness offers a crazy version of the future
The Bad
Some animation and AI hiccups
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for NBA 2K14

About the Author

Tom has been cheering on the Indiana Pacers for more than two decades, and has been playing basketball games for just as long. The days of Arch Rivals are thankfully long over.

Discussion

154 comments
m_dorian
m_dorian

Wasted a few hours on career mode on PS3. Worst game i played recently. MyCareer could be an addictive treasure but control mechanics and bad AI make this game a garbage.

bryandeth316
bryandeth316

Only thing that really angers me is that when I try rebounding with my My Career center my actual jumping for a rebound happens sparingly. I will press on the Y button and nothing happens.

alexstream81
alexstream81

GREAT GAME, 8,5.



ONLY ONE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hollywood night jersey doesn't work with your personalized rosters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


WHY??????  2 k, we love you, BUT, where's your head now??? Last year for NOCHE latina jerseys, no problem with every file...MAKE THAT in 2K14 too!!!!!!!!!


Ah, the initial, trailer, th worst intro i've ever seen in a 2K game...(LBJ6 is great, but the game is NOT called LBJ62K14, EH!!!)


GREAT 2K for NBA 2K14,  I'm XBOX 360 user, but make EVERY enjoyable ADD-on available for EVERY customized files!!! (it's technically EASY, like last year!)

ngboy
ngboy

will definitely wait for the next gen version

KingKizer
KingKizer

The Association and MyCareer are identicle to last year's game. MyCareer desperately needed an overhaul. The Lebron mode is stupid, who cares about the hypothetical future of Lebron? Bring back a classic mode. The gameplay has some tweaks and improvements. I've been a huge NBA2k fan since dreamcast and this is the only year I've been let down. Quite a disappointment.

D-run
D-run

The difference is in the gameplay with this one. Compared to other 2k games, the A.I is leaps and bounds above the past releases. That being said, 2k put all of their focus into the next gen version of the game. The Ps4 and Xbone versions are going to be the versions to get.

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

anything new in association mode?  like, are CP3, Carmelo, and Dwight Howard ALWAYS going to be available in free agency?  And will they ALWAYS sign with you if you give them a player option and a no trade clause on not even max money?

Also, has the rotation setting been fixed at all?  Guys getting signed as role players and agreeing to the contract then complaining for a bigger role 5 days into the season is probably the most annoying non-glitch in sports games.

I wish the game worked more like Fifa's career mode, where it tracks you specifically as the coach/GM of the team and remembers what you've done.

cjohns74
cjohns74

It is only an 8 or above if you are new to NBA 2K. Im a big 2k fan but I am very disappointed in the lack of effort they put in this game it is. The My Player mode is pretty much the same and that has been one of there big features in the past. I give it a 6 based on improvement at plus im a KOBE fan i can care less abut the Lebron Path of Greatness. starting to rethink 2K team is better than EA

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

It's the same damn game as last year. The only thing thats changed is the controls. Well that's a question within itself. EVERY YEAR 2k changes its controls and EVERY year they call it the best thing they ever did, but EVERY year it changes, and NOT for the better....which is why they change it.

I've never seen a game that changes its control scheme EVERY year. Here's a hint 2k. If its NOT broke DON'T fix it. You keep doing more harm than good. Next year they'll make it so that making a simple dunk you have to press the D pad...back button and A button at the same time. Just give us a break. Games NBA 2K13 2.0.

LilRoss2k3
LilRoss2k3

i was wondering why the introductory paragraph seemed irrelevant to anything...then i scrolled down and saw the picture of who reviewed the game....oh.

matthova
matthova

No JAY-z???? LeBron fantasy mode? MAn nba 2k11 and 2k12 were the best hands down. I played these games for a long time, they are all pretty good

AnyKeyz
AnyKeyz

You let McShea review my sports games now? The guy who said NCAA football pass routes were bugged when actually, it was a feature of the home crowd affecting the QB? (he later pulled this line from the review). I get the strategy of having this moron creating some feedbackula mess, providing you with multiple clicks/views ($$$), but this is really getting ridiculous...

kietasriesutas
kietasriesutas

IM GIVE 7.0   !!!!! last year's game is no big different from this year!!have 3year than 2k team no good to no longer gives!!and no demo this year!! 2014 I'm buy NBALIVE14!! 2014 WIN NBALIVE14!!2K GRAPHIC square! Let's see spectators, coaches! graphics bad!!player had not managed to move like controller moves!!2k very bad!!!

drekula2
drekula2

ONLY AN 8???  This is at least a 9 or a 9.5  


Why the hell does Tom McGay have to give all of my favorite games 8's

dipdish
dipdish

I'm not a L. James fan, apart from that story-ish mode, this game might lead to spend good hours in front of TV.

Zenwork21
Zenwork21

I'll buy the next one, not an heat fan.

Derugs
Derugs

 The good thing about this game is Jay Z is NOT involved  ✓

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

isn't this like FIFA.... same game different time ....... and it get's an 8?? and TLOU....8??

 tom tom tom tom tom

slimskelter
slimskelter

I wish they would allow you to adjust sliders when setting up an online versus game.

LVT_PTA_PB
LVT_PTA_PB

Seriously, I do think reviewers are paid for rating sports games. Seriously, how can you be amazed by playing the same thing only a bit different from the previous year? And how can you rank a game a high score each year, knowing developers are developing at a speed of 30% just to have enough upgrades for the years to come?

KingKizer
KingKizer

I am especially let down by the MyCareer mode. I really wanted this mode to be made fun and it really needed some attention this year. It did not receive that attention. Just want to emphasize if you own 2k13 and don't have a lot of money, 2k14 is not worth $60 at this point. The gameplay tweaks are minor and hardly change the game from 2k13. Redbox has it so just do a search on their website for redbox's near you that have it and try it out.

NbAlIvEr10000
NbAlIvEr10000

@cjohns74 I think there focus on gameplay is the main progression for this game.  Defense feels much better and offense is very fluid.  I can't wait to see how this game looks and feels on next-gen.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@cjohns74 Id say most devs are focusing on nextgen more at the moment. What did you expect? I expected the same game as 2K13 since nextgen is only round the corner

Derugs
Derugs

@LilRoss2k3 McShea right...  Lol I dont know why Gamespot lets him review sports games.  Considering his track record of games in the past he has reviewed its clearly he's not a fan of sports.  He doesn't convince me as someone that has an understanding or an appreciation of the sport well enough to review a sports game.  

vrasidastd
vrasidastd

@drekula2 9 or 9.5? it's the same game only difference is the title and some tweaks, 8 is spot on. A game doesn't have to get a 9 or 10 to be good for someone to play or enjoy them

MrJskilet
MrJskilet

@drekula2 Well that's the thing. They may be your favorite games but they might not be his. A review is a personal opinion. So no one should take it too seriously. But still an 8 is a good score. I myself would probably rate it as 9 or 9.5 like you though just cause I love basketball haha

Derugs
Derugs

@Zenwork21 LOL you can't be serious.  Its not HEAT 2K14 its nba 2k14... LOL 

Onslaught005
Onslaught005

@Zenwork21So you won't buy the game because you hate 1 team out of all the teams available for you to use or play? That is some high level hater trip right there if you're serious haha. Not a heat fan also but I won't really care if Lebron's ass would be in the cover and all the menus and whatnot, I'm buying the game because I like the NBA 2k franchise and their overall gameplay. 

Oh and it's "a" not "an" heat fan. 

Derugs
Derugs

To all of you that liked this comment I retract my previous statement.  The soundtrack in 2k14 is horrible at best.  Seems like last year's associate producer on the soundtrack didn't learn anything from Jay Z's involvement.  

Jim_bo_bo
Jim_bo_bo

@LVT_PTA_PB Have you played both games extensively, though? Have you been a fan following the series? If not, this review isn't for you in the first place, so don't get so worked up about it.

kittlesnets
kittlesnets

@LVT_PTA_PB  Sounds like your not a basketball fan.

Only basketball fans who follow the series understands how different each game is from one year to the next.

Zenwork21
Zenwork21

@Onslaught005 @Zenwork21 Hi .. I did buy the game for the last few years and since this one  looks pretty much the same as 2013, plus the the Heat cover plus the  "path to glory" are a bit too much for me to take all in once, I am going to skip this release.  Maybe I will give it a try to EA this year. I do not hate anybody since I do love basketball first , and LBJ is a pleasure to watch (London 2012 semi and final) ) however I dislike the Heat as a franchise and I am going to buy something else instead. Pretty sure they will publish another one next year and I will be back.. I agree that NBA 2 K is the best basketball game around. Best Regards

Lionheart199020
Lionheart199020

@kittlesnets @LVT_PTA_PB Being a pretty big fan of Basketball and Soccer, I can understand the kind of excitement a new iteration brings. It's Football I can't for the life of me understand. But I can't criticize, because I get geeked for a new 2K and Fifa iteration every year. I don't go balls to the wall crazy like some AAA, super-hyper titles, but I always look forward to a fresher experience than the last.

That said, the only problem I have with games like these is they're full price EVERY RELEASE. That's the point where the game REALLY has to innovate the franchise for me to take the leap...

LVT_PTA_PB
LVT_PTA_PB

@kittlesnets @LVT_PTA_PB It has nothing to do with being a basketball fan or not. It's about being critical and, honestly, not a blind fanboy. I purchased every edition of F1 since their creation (2010 to 2012, will get 2013) - and the progression is sloooow. The only major addition to the game in 2013 are the classic cars and drivers. The other modifications are mode tweaks. I mean, a game each year can't get enough upgrades to be as interesting as the 2010 came out. Progression from 2010 to 2011 are quite major, especially for the cockpit, but since then nothing has much changed except the tracks and team updated.


What I mean is that you just can't always say a sport game is awesome.. every single year. You just can't be as amazed as you were once you played NBA 2k11. The modifcations after that are just more or less updates and little additions.

ngboy
ngboy

@Loshead because i'm in no rush to get it. there are plenty of games to keep me busy in the meantime and i save $10 in the process. next gen consoles are here in a month, it's not that bad of a wait. 

Loshead
Loshead

@ngboy @amazon09 why wait for next gen theres two options you can do. If your getting it for xbone you can trade in your version to gamestop for $50 and pay $10 for the new one. For ps4 as long as you keep the ps3 version put it in your ps4 and download the digital version for nba2k14 for ps4 for $10. 

Zenwork21
Zenwork21

@HookedonPhonicx @Zenwork21 I think in any sport you have team that you like or you don't, Heat management is great, we know Pat, LBJ is one of the best and flash is one of my all time favorite. So I just do not like them but , as I said I do not hate them

HookedonPhonicx
HookedonPhonicx

@Zenwork21 You hate the Heat as a franchise for what reason? Is it because they have an excellent team president, Pat Riley who managed to get 3 all star players on one team.

o016945
o016945

@LVT_PTA_PB @kittlesnets well, the progression in F1 is slow, but that is one game you're basing improvements on. I have 2K14 and it is miles improved over 2K13. Even a casual player of 2K13 can easily pick up the controller and play a single minute to get this understanding. The team at Visual Concepts does not repackage their games like Tiburon does with Madden. 

kittlesnets
kittlesnets

@LVT_PTA_PB @kittlesnets In my personal opinion the difference between nba 2k12 and 2k13 is night and day.

The pick and roll/pop system, the dribble stick, the new post moves, up and under step back reverse, euro step left and right,  the dream team, reverse dunk button, bounce pass button...i can go on and on. 

now  2k11 on the other hand is a dinosaur compared to 2k13. feels like a completely different game.


point im trying to make is that the series has vastly improved every year and you can see the attention to detail the developers put into it. But to non basketball fans....it looks like the same game every year.

NBA 2K14 More Info

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  • First Released
    • iPhone/iPod
    • PC
    • + 4 more
    • PS3
    • PS4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    NBA 2K14 is a basketball gaming experience from 2K Sports that features a soundtrack hand-picked by Lebron James, refined controls featuring the new Pro Stick, the return of Crews, new Signature Skills, enhanced defense including blocked dunks, and more.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 281 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate NBA 2K14
    Developed by:
    2K Sports, Visual Concepts
    Published by:
    2K Sports
    Genres:
    Simulation, Sports, Basketball, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors