A Whole Lotta Hoopla: NBA 2K14 Out Now

By John Walker on October 7th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

NBA 2K13 was monstrous. I know that seems a controversial statement for a game with a Metacritic of 90, and part of a long-running, extremely successful series. But I’m quoting its publishers here. For some peculiar reason, on the Steam page for NBA 2K14, the description begins, “NBA 2K13 was a monstrous release…” I guess they meant “big”? Anyway, NBA 2K14, which looks more like a registration plate than a game name, is out now, and I expect it’s probably very good.

It’s peculiar just how extraordinarily realistic the basketball looks, the movement, the physics, the fluidity, and yet the players still look like ghoulish waxwork zombies, their rectangular arms reminding me of the polygonal creations of around 1999. In fact, here’s the first NBA from ’99 on Dreamcast:

and here’s the latest:

Anyway, that’s obviously not a massively important element of what makes these games work. And work the 2K series tends to do. Sadly there doesn’t appear to be a demo, but then, 2K don’t acknowledge that there’s even a PC version on their (terrible) site for the game. Which is odd. However, it’s priced at only £20 for the PC version, rather than the £40 for the console boxes. Coo.

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34 Comments »

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  1. Bull0 says:

    Ah, America. Monstrous. Like using “Awful” to mean “Causing awe”. Don’t ever change.

    • BigKid66 says:

      I’ve spent the first 47 years of my existence in America (mostly) and I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Awful” used as “Causing awe”

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        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It happened, somewhere.

      • The Random One says:

        You haven’t? I’m shocked and aweful.

      • Keyrock says:

        No one ever says “awful” to mean “causing awe”, not even in New Jersey. Us yanks do butcher the language quite a bit, that just doesn’t happen to be one of the ways.

        • honuk says:

          except that would not be a “butchering” of the language at all, as “to cause awe” is not just an acceptable usage of “awful,” but is in fact the original meaning of the term.

          nice try, though, RPS comments.

    • Alex Hopkinson says:

      I’m pretty sure they’re thinking “monstrous” as a positive in the same way that people would describe a Blake Griffin slam dunk as “monstrous”. :)

    • RedWurm says:

      I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use “awful” in that way, although that used to be the correct meaning. Have a search for the old – and quite possibly apocryphal – “amusing, awful and artificial” quote.

    • SpaceAkers says:

      yeh no1 in america does that. Awful just means very bad.

      good try, though.

  2. Armatool says:

    Dreamcast still looks decent

  3. dahools says:

    Well its definitely getting a more popular sport any way!

    There’s far less empty seats in 2k14 than in 1999! ( or sorry 1k999? . doesn’t really have a ring to it does it . . . )

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Actually the first release was NBA 2K hehe, just released in late 99, so really the naming of the series only went downhill from there, the first one was the only game that properly rhymed.

  4. Njordsk says:

    2K are lazy, and even more on PC. Online play didn’t even work since 3 fuckings years.

    So yeah, a mode for lebron, some new euroleague team and then?

    They could have made the next gen version for PC too, as it seems completly different.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      They are definitely lazy with the PC version, the interface is an absolute abortion that gets no better or easier to use hours into the game, seemingly random buttons send the menu forwards and back and it can be infuriatingly difficult to find what the hell you want at times.

  5. Alex Hopkinson says:

    It’s a good game again this year but after quite big changes in 2K11, 12 and 13, this is definitely the one that feels closest to the stereotypical “small tweaks, this year’s rosters” annual sports franchise release. With the new consoles on the horizon, they’ve focussed on gameplay more than anything in 14. Game modes have received some tweaks in a few cases but have largely remained unchanged since last year (specifically the association and My Career modes that form the core game for most single players).

    It is worth noting that the PC version misses out on the My Team mode (the basketball equivalent of the EA Ultimate Team modes) and the online Crews mode (if you have 4 NBA2K friends, you can play 5v5 against other groups of 5 friends, all using your My Career players). The PC also gets the short end of the stick on patching (and there is definitely some important stuff that needs patching at the moment) and roster updates during the season, although that will presumably change this year as they’re using Stats Inc to update them daily to reflect the latest performance for all 400+ players.

    In terms of graphicsability, the engine is basically 7 years old now and rather looks it. The small amounts of footage they’ve teased for the new consoles version (due in november, obviously) looks rather fine indeed. Hopefully that makes it to PC in NBA2K15.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      If nothing else, at least NBA 2k14 has the fixes that the console releases got in patches for 2k13 (the PC version was never patched, and has some quite nasty bugs), plus it looks like they finally added stuff like the dunk contest to the PC version.

      • Alex Hopkinson says:

        Unfortunately, 14 does return the same kind of bugs both 12 and 13 had at launch (playing on the 360). :) Settings not saving properly in modes, 3 point percentage way too high, some oddities in the way CPU teams play in My Career (this year they have a really insanely PG focussed offence, even by modern NBA standards!). Not quite the showstoppers we’ve had before, I guess (I still shudder on occasion when I remember 12’s insane My Career trade logic at launch, which rebuilt teams every few ingame weeks).

    • desolation0 says:

      The lack of support for the online features and patching alone is enough to warrant the half cost of the PC version.

    • CyberPunkRock says:

      In addition to what you said, I think the focus on gameplay this year paid of. I’m playing this game since NBA 2K11 and every year they improved on some things and broke others that worked before (shotblocking I’m looking at you!). This time they kept the good things and improved on the bad things:
      – moving without the ball is much more fluent, no more sticking to defenders like magnets
      – contact in the paint is much more realistic
      – passing is faster, making kick-out passes to an open teammate a viable option
      – controls are tighter although have to be relearned due to the new prostick controls
      – the speed difference between a big man and guard is actually noticeable, especially on fastbreaks

      On the technical side it’s the more or less the same game for years but the player textures are a bit sharper. The beauty of the PC version despite its lack of support is modability. You can mod nearly everything from player faces, to courts, to the basketball itself. If you do that, the game looks next-gen already. And because it’s the same engine most of the mods from last year work with 2K14, too.
      Here is a link to a good mod page:
      http://forums.nba-live.com/index.php?sid=bff83705df9d028e07f6284f01371171

      There are very good rosters and draft classes there, too which are updated regularly (you have to wait a bit for the modders to complete them since the game is out for just a few days).

      • Alex Hopkinson says:

        I’m not sold on the isomotion stick change yet – so far, I’m finding the movement stuff much less intuitive than last year, although hopefully I’ll get used to it. Agreed on the PC mod scene though. I picked up 2K12 on PC as well at one point, just to check out the Ultimate roster mod thing, which was very impressive work.

      • Slazer says:

        I also noticed that the horrible defense of 2K13 made a big step forward. They actually fill the zone and move around a lot instead of just sticking to their man. Though that makes it very hard if you are used to switch to the on-ball defender all the time, as you will stop your players movement

        • Alex Hopkinson says:

          The defence changes are a mixed bag. The CPU players sag off on 3 point shooters too much, so grud help you if you play a team like Golden State on a decent skill level. It seems to be more pronounced in the My Career mode though. Presumably they’ll patch this at some point…

          It’s also now really quite hard to get into the paint. Part of this is due to the sagging perimeter defence though, making things resemble the Spurs/Grizzlies western conference final series from last season. I can’t decide yet whether pick and rolls are too ineffective as a result or just about right.

    • greenbananas says:

      “Game modes have received some tweaks in a few cases but have largely remained unchanged since last year (specifically the association and My Career modes that form the core game for most single players).”

      My Career is exactly the same as last year (and as still lagging behind something like New Star Soccer which was made by 1 guy years ago) and just as unplayable, the AI pretty much ignoring player input as a deciding factor in the game in favor of the match AI; As for association, the only tweak I’ve noticed for the last 4 years is that they’ve managed to break team chemistry. The AI still doesn’t know how to trade (particularly during the draft), the auto-generated rookies still have broken tendencies (that result in 90 rated players shooting 30% for the season).

      All in all, as a single player game, it’s pretty broken. Which as far as 99% of their audience cares, it’s fine. It is an online game after all. Too bad online on PC works horribly, reportedly, if at all.

      • Slazer says:

        I played online league for some month on 2K13, and encountered no issues (not counting bug using players). Actually on 360 everything seemed a little delayed, that didnt happen on PC. Older versions were a slideshow on PC

  6. realitysconcierge says:

    Isn’t the point of using a K in the name to shorten how many characters they need to use? Because now it just seems a little useless. Of course I guess they’re probably going for brand recognition if anything.

    • Caenorhabditis says:

      Also, some people pronounce titles every once in a while.

    • LintMan says:

      Really, the K saves nothing here and I’d like to see it die. We don’t need 85 more years of that.

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        Surlywombat says:

        It’s NBA 2K 14. Because it’s a NBA game made by 2K Games, and it’s the fourteenth one.

  7. Engonge says:

    WOHOO Turkish Airlines!!!!

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    strangeloup says:

    Describing the previous game as “monstrous” made me imagine a basketball version of Mutant League Football, which is very much a thing I would like to play.

    Also, any fool knows that the finest basketball game is NBA Jam.

  9. Freud says:

    I loved NBA 2k13. I didn’t expect to but I did. The gameplay is fantastic. There are still bugs (that still aren’t fixed because I guess they moved on to 2k14) but a very enjoyable game.

  10. Baldanders says:

    Can someone do a proper basketball management game already? Why do only the boring sports get to have one?

  11. aymanpg says:

    the game is very very very good