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NBA 2K14 Review (Xbox 360)

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighbourhood…

NBA 2K14 - BannerI wonder if Mr LeBron James had these kinds of troubles in his hood? Well no doubt now he can make most problems just disappear with obscene amounts of money. I have always thought it is a definite sign of success when you are the poster boy for your sport on a video game. Only one step higher, and that is having the game carry your moniker. Isn’t that right Mr Woods, Mr Hawk, Mr Lara, and of course our very own, Mr Lomu…

Now as far as I am aware 2K Sports has pretty much sewn up the NBA, NFL, and NHL market of recent times and from a quick bit of research it seems many of the hard core fans see, and accept each years release of their favourite 2K game as an update, and seem to get upset if too much past the rosters gets a complete overhaul. Apparently the changes to the control scheme in NBA 2K14 has the 2K13 fans upset. But all this aside, I haven’t played a NBA title in several years so can cast a fresh opinion on NBA 2K14 as a ‘new’ title with no preconceptions or bad habits pick up from previous releases. This also means I suck at the actual game and took a long time to actually become accepted by my team and get a decent amount of court time.

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So as you can gather, I’m not a fan of basketball but do enjoy watching and even playing the real thing on occasions, I just don’t follow it in any way. The first thing that got me was the horrendously bad rap song that is the title track. Especially grating as I had to go through the process of creating a 2K Sports account with it playing in the background the whole time. After that and getting my head around the unique menu system, I was in! A quick Exhibition game had me dunking and rebounding like a pro. The controls were quick and responsive, with the right thumb stick allowing advanced moves if I felt like showing off. Finishing the first game with some of my baskets making the highlight reel, I was chuffed, so I dived straight into the Career Mode and started as a newbie.  This process has you going through everything! From interviews with potential teams through to the actual draft. A lot of this was confusing to me, first and second drafts, lottery picks…. Wasn’t totally sure what was happening at points but then my name appeared as a pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Woo Hoo! Hang on, I thought, are they any good?

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Turns out it didn’t matter. As a new player I was crap! All my skills were low, team mates wouldn’t pass me the ball, and the coach had me on the beach most of the time. But with a lot of practice and training you can up your skills and rapport with the team and slowly you can start to play like you did as a pro in the opening Exhibition game. Every thing you do earns you Virtual Currency which you can spend on upgrading your stats or even grabbing a new suit for the bus ride to the games. It was all coming together, a bit slower than I would like, but hey, I was getting there.

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Technically, NBA 2K14 looks great. Some of the contact with other players is a bit iffy but it is a nice looking game with all the fancy replays and slow mo’s to show off your winning moves. Now one of the most awesome, and impressive moments I have had in a video game for a long time cam as I got my first court time. I had used my own name for my player and whether my last name, Clarke, is just common enough to be included in the sound files or there is some other magic going on, I don’t care. Because when I got the ball for the first time and headed up court, there it was, the live commentary, “Clarke has the ball, he heads up court, Clarke shots….”

I missed. But they used my players name! The old saying is right, it is the little things that count. Things like this are what draw you in and keep you hooked. NBA 2K14 is a game that will keep you going for a very long time. I haven’t even touched on all the extras and other modes you can play. From what I can gather it even ties in with the regular season and allows you to play the games as they are really player in the USA. Fans will love the depth, newcomers can just love and enjoy a beautifully made and playable basketball game, see, even I have overlooked the crap theme song.