Let me just say right away that I'm admittedly not "huge" on basketball. I've had my fun with NBA Street and follow the NBA a little bit, but I probably wouldn't normally call myself a "fan" of the sport. With the announcement of NBA 2K14 being built from the ground up for the next generation of consoles and seeing the flat-out insane graphics, I knew right away that I wanted to get my hands on the game -- regardless of the fact that I had no idea just how a proper NBA game was played. I haven't done my reviews in the fashion I'm going to for this game for quite awhile, but I think you'll deal with it just fine; it keeps things nice and tidy.
Graphics: Well, what should I say. I feel confident in saying that this is the best looking launch title on the PS4. Yes, that includes Killzone Shadow Fall, which is, in itself, a gorgeous game. NBA 2K14 just looks, in a word, phenomenal. The vast majority of character models, the jerseys, the courts, the lighting, the sweat -- completely unmatched. The presentation of NBA 2K14 is also fantastic. While I'm not that impressed with the menus (they're quite bland), the in-game presentation leading up to the game, the replays, the half-time reports, and everything in between make for a beautiful package that'swhatshesaid. As great as the game looks, there are some very minor problems I have with it. The most noticeable thing for me is definitely the clipping that can be seen a little bit too often. Jerseys will cut into arms, hands will go through desks in MyGM... stuff like that. Another little thing is the random "bounces" that the jerseys do at times. The cloth physics are great, don't get me wrong, but they're completely bizarre at times. Finally, where is the armpit hair!? Ah, well... maybe next year. I know I said more negatives than positives for this game, but when a game looks this nice and clean, the glitches are what stand out. 4.5/5
Sound: The soundtrack is fairly varied, but definitely more geared towards rap fans, which is what I was expecting. Some of the songs included are ones that most people have probably heard at one time or another, including: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, "Not Afraid" by Eminem, Imagine Dragon's "Radioactive", the ever-popular "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, and plenty more. It's a safe bet that you'll find at least a hand full of songs in the game that you will enjoy. As for the commentary in the game, it's great, but not without its share of issues. 2K boasts that the game has about 250,000 lines of commentary, but I heard quite a bit of repeating just after playing a few games. The thing that really annoys me is something I've experienced in MyGM. I'm playing as the Pistons (yes, I'm serious) and Josh Smith went down with a torn ACL in the second game of the season. The past three games, the game acknowledges his injury, yet they say "Hopefully he gets back in there soon." Uh... what? The dude tore his ACL, he didn't stub his toe. Additionally, Burke's sideline reports constantly say things along the lines of, "Josh Smith will play a huge role for the Pistons this season." Orly, Mrs. Burke? Despite that (sorry for the rant), the commentary is spot-on with plays, and is overall done very well. 4.25/5
Control: Playing my first simulation basketball game in probably a decade, I was completely lost in NBA 2K14 for my first hour or two of playing. As much as I loved the game's graphics, sound, presentation, and all of that, I couldn't help but get frustrated when trying to learn the controls, as simple as they seem to be. NBA 2K14 makes a lot of use out of the right stick, as you'll be using it to make your moves with the ball, and cover players while you're defending. As you'd expect, there's a training mode. If you're new to the series, you'd be wise to do everything in the mode to get an idea of how to play the game. If you don't, you'll just end up raging like I did. The control in this game is extremely fluid almost all the time, but there's one instance where I feel like it's cumbersome -- on rebounds. The triangle button (or 'Y' on the One) is used to hop at a ball when there's a rebound, but a lot of the time my player either doesn't jump, or he doesn't jump nearly high enough. It's an annoyance, but I assume it has something to do with timing, as everything else in the game controls swimmingly. I will also add that if you're brand spankin' new to the series, stay away from MyTEAM/MyPLAYER -- the players you use at first are absolutely terrible. It's hard to handle the ball and defend, and you'll find yourself with something like a twenty FG% at the end of the game. If you're feeling up to smashing your PS4 controller, be my guest! 4.5/5
Fun: NBA 2K14 is a game that just about anybody could enjoy on some level. Obviously, basketball junkies will fall in love with its realistic feel, but TV passerbyers (made that word up. Pretty good, eh?) will likely think there's a live NBA game on TV. The gameplay is also so incredibly solid that it will turn on many new fans to the series and the sport, like myself. NBA 2K14's three major modes (MyGM, MyPLAYER, and MyTEAM) are all engaging in one way or another, though they each have flaws. First, MyGM has a great feel to it and could be absolutely awesome in a year or two, but the redundant cut scenes and triple cheesy dialogue prevent it from being great. MyPLAYER and MyTEAM are fun modes (especially MyPLAYER), but it really feels like 2K is pushing you to purchase premium currency to give you a real chance of winning. It's not impossible to enjoy your time in these modes while not spending a penny, but you'll more than likely get frustrated when you have players who can't sink a simple lay up.
All-in-all, NBA 2K14 is almost perfect. None of the issues I've had with NBA 2K14 affect the gameplay in anyway. There are some things that could use a bit of touching up, but I expect 2K to take care of that when next year's edition rolls around. Whether you're a hardcore NBA fan, a casual fan, or somebody who really doesn't take much interest in the sport of basketball at all, you'll enjoy the next-gen experience that is NBA 2K14.