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Despite slam dunk last year, ‘NBA 2K14’ deserves a pass this year 

PHOTO COURTESY OF 2K GAMES

PHOTO COURTESY OF 2K GAMES

 

As video game reviewers at The Rebel Yell, we don’t have the luxury of obtaining digital copies of games to review.

To pay $60+ for a game is hit-or-miss. Luckily, that’s hardly been the case over the last year for me.

We’re getting closer to ushering in the next-gen era, and not everyone in this city will be outside Best Buy days before the Playstation 4 and Xbox One go on sale. People will be stuck with the current generation of consoles for a little longer, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

But if you’re still debating on whether to get NBA 2K14 now or to wait until the next-gen gadgets come out, let me save you the trouble: it’s not worth the $60 to get it now.

Jump in the hot tub time machine with me as we flashback to NBA 2K13: one of, if not the best basketball simulation game of all-time. Produced by Jay-Z or not, the gameplay was realistic and the presentation was much improved. It was a classic.

The problem with most video games is that, depending on the success of prior releases, companies will grasp the mindset that they don’t need to go above and beyond the following year.

2K Sports has never had that problem. Even if it succeeded, they tried to find some way to get to the next level in producing a quality game. When it failed, the brand knew about it and improved. That’s the true art of a company.

Here’s the short of it: NBA 2K14 is NBA 2K13 recycled with LeBron James on the cover, and with a different soundtrack.

The presentation is almost a mirror image of last year’s game. Nothing’s changed, other than changing the color scheme of the main menu from gold to blue. The commentating trio of Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr update their commentary to reflect the new season, but that’s expected.

Even the crowd hasn’t changed. The fans still look like graphic blotches that know only one motion: pump their fists and sporadically sit up and sit down at random times of the game.

One new game mode added to this year’s game is the LeBron: Path To Greatness mode. A year removed after winning his second straight NBA title, you can control the remainder of LeBron’s NBA career, whether it be a dynasty with the Miami Heat, or opting out and going somewhere else.

Although the mode had promise, the presentation aspect outside of the gameplay had a lot to be desired. All you see after each game is a cutscene with text and a narrator who sounds like the Geico camel’s third cousin, twice removed.

It’s a mode that will get you a couple days of play, at most, but it’s nothing that will grasp you in. It’s a combination of MyCareer and Franchise mode morphed to make one awkward baby.

Here’s the silver lining to be excited about: the return of Crew mode. Well, sort of. It’s called “Crews.” For those who haven’t played NBA 2K10 recently, do your research on Crew mode. You’ll see why Crews isn’t as great and isn’t as fun.

Finally, the gameplay.

This is where 2K Sports failed. In an attempt to provide a more realistic feel, there are plenty of glitches in the gameplay that almost make the game unbearable. The A.I. offensively isn’t responsive, while the computer players have taken it back to 2K12 days by leaving the shooter wide open on the perimeter.

Ray Allen can score as many points as his age (38) with this defense.

Expect a patch to come sooner or later for those who have the game. For those who don’t, it’s not worth the $60+ right now. It should — hopefully — be improved come next-gen time. With that, comes concern. NBA Live is making a return (at least we think) to the next-gen scene in November. EA Sports’ Infinity

Engine will make or break this rivalry forever.

Any other time, this would’ve been a sure-fire buy. But there are too many problems, and considering we haven’t seen any gameplay from sports games in the next-gen, there’s no certainty that NBA 2K14 will succeed even then.

Not even LeBron could save this, right now.

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