NBA 2K is back and it's better than ever. Of course, this is supposed to be the progression of games. They should improve. But beyond the usual improvements in graphics and gameplay control, the folks at 2K sports have packed this edition with even more ways to gain enjoyment.
This is something the franchise has done a nice job of over the years, and it is one of the main ways it has kept each installment feeling fresh. NBA 2K14 definitely continues this trend.
Below, I've highlighted my three favorite new features.
Path to Greatness
Let's just start with the feature revolving around the cover boy: LeBron James. NBA 2K has quested to not just have the players on the cover provide a photograph, it works them into the gameplay.
This year, it is all about James.
In this mode, users will not be playing a full season but instead will be inserted into key games—like a Game 7 in the NBA Finals or a head-to-head showdown against Kobe Bryant.
Also, users are given the opportunity to continue the Heat dynasty or go on a "Fantastic Journey," which allows you to use James on a different team. Considering that James will soon be approaching free agency, the Fantastic Journey mode is a nice way for fans to explore "what if" possibilities.
Whether users are a fan of James or not, it is impossible to deny his immense talent, and that comes through on this game. He is dominant, and it is fun to control a player with such diverse strengths.
Improved Offensive Sets
I have never leaned on offensive sets in NBA 2K, but that is beginning to change.
This year, the offensive sets are more varied and team specific. This adds a nice element of realism. However, it is not the enhanced diversity that really makes this more useful.
That comes in the form of the intelligence of the teammates users are not controlling. The plays are run more fluidly and efficiently while the other players behave in a far more realistic way. This eases the frustration that has kept me from running plays to begin with.
Just as in a real NBA game, there is no need to rely on running plays every time down the court, but this is a nice option when freelancing stalls out.
As for the stalling out on offense? That is going to happen a little more this year.
NBA 2K has really taken into account the physicality of basketball. The reactions of players to contact fighting for position or penetrating the lane are far more realistic. That makes offense tougher. Hence the need for running plays.
Also, shot blocking has been enhanced. Players can block a shot at any time when the ball is in the air. Of course, if it is on the way down, it will still be goaltending.
Still, the limited opportunity to block shots has been a source of frustration in the past, and that facet has been improved. While that may bite all of us users on offense, it makes defending a more enjoyable task.