The transition from Xbox 360 to Xbox One has been quite a smooth one. Finally, with the big release of Titanfall just weeks ago, we’ve been given a solid base as far as the games themselves go. With many genres now available with first-person shooters, sports games and plenty of online-multiplayer, options are a pleasant change from the slow start new systems usually go through. Having said that, Nick Lovett, who is not typically an NBA fan, has found a passion for NBA 2K14, one of the few games that had been on shelves from day one. Here is our breakdown of the beginning of the revolution in sports gaming.
Aside from the playing quick pick-up games locally with/against a friend or online against random talent, the game basically offers two routes: “My Player” mode and “My GM” (or “Career”) mode. The biggest difference, first and foremost, is in-game player control. In the GM mode, you are allowed to freely switch between any player on the team as well as monitor and alter strategic options. In My Player, control is much more limited to simulate the feel of being that one player.
My GM stems far beyond just constructing the team and playing games. In an RPG-fashion you attain VC (virtual currency) for winning, losing and performance during big games. You then take those coins and apply them to different coaching fields depending on the path you wish to take such as, Trade/Salary Negotiation, Emotional Intelligence, and Business Savvy.
The latter means that there is also a business-driven aspect as well. Not only are you responsible for the team winning on the court, but off the court in addition. Over the course of your tenure as GM, you earn opportunities to adjust ticket/concession prices in the stadium, construct facilities that give your players skill boosts, and even improve the odds a team will agree to trade terms.
This gives the front office feel, which stresses the importance of both facets within sports in general. True-to-life variables like money, patience, morale and fan interest are also calculated before you even choose the team you want to lead, and these variables affect your success. For example, if you choose a team with low patience, they obviously expect you to turn around/continue their team image. On top of yearly expectations and goals given to you by the owner, after a little time and VC you actually unlock the choice to buy the team.
Also, a nice aspect included in this is that VC earned for your account can be used on either your GM or created player. That way, you can play a bunch of games as an entire team to bank some coin, then use it to improve your individual player, or vice versa.
The My Player version of the game, in our opinion, is much better in the next-gen version than in the current-gen. In this one, there is actually a story to it. Your player has to make off-court decisions that stick with your player and influence certain parts of the game.
Some of the decisions are smaller in nature, but can affect team chemistry like going out with teammates after a win or as a rookie deciding whether or not to go along with the hazing that goes on. If you agree to do both things, your teammates will like you more and the team chemistry rating goes up, but if you don’t agree to them, it goes down.
This system also affects the way your coach and general manager look at you. When we chose to go out with our teammates after a win, our player was late to practice the next morning, so he got benched for a game. This is a very realistic take on what would actually happen in a real-life locker room.
Along with the decisions that occur off the court, there are sometimes scripted moments in the game where you have to decide what to do. Like if your teammate gets fouled hard, will you rush to his side and defend him? We defended our teammate, then got ejected from the game and suspended for another, but the chemistry ratings went through the roof. The decision system makes this game mode a lot more worthwhile.
In the current-gen versions of the game, your player just gets handed endorsements without much work. After five games, you are allowed to choose between being sponsored by Nike or Jordan. In the next-gen version, we just got past the All-Star break with our player winning MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge, but he only has one national endorsement. This also makes the game much more realistic because the players are only given show deals if they earn them.
Gameplay is the same in this mode as it is in the normal modes, save for, in this mode, you can only control your one player. This is fun, but at times frustrating because your teammates will sometimes not shoot the ball when they’re wide open or ignore you when you’re wide open. While this does not happen often, it still happens enough to frustrate.
Positives for the Game:
Graphics are truly next gen. It is flawless and both our families’ mistook the game for an actual, live game.
The emotions of the players are pretty awesome to see. This makes the game more dynamic.
The animations of each player are life-like. Each player carries their true to life forms for shots, dunks, blocks, etc.
Sound effects are great.
Negatives for the Game:
AI can be spotty at times in My Player mode.
Soundtrack is very limited.
No random team generator in Play Now.
No choice of jerseys (still) in My Player.
Seeing as this is 2K’s first basketball game on the next gen systems, they did a really good job. There are minor tweaks they need to make here and there, but for the most part this game is solid.