As anyone can see from the title of this post (and website for that matter), I’m absolutely disgusted by how much NBA 2K14 sucks! However, before I cut to the chase, let me just say that I have long been a fan of NBA 2K since the very beginning and actually forced myself to buy a Dreamcast system back in the day just to be able to play the original NBA 2k. Also, actual real basketball used to be my life until, uhh…. well let’s just say until it wasn’t. It’s also fair to mention that this article will not critique anything outside of “Quick Match” gameplay. This is because personally, I could care less about any of the extras 2K adds each year (group play, build-a-player, the assoc., and all that crap etc.). Personally, I buy 2K for one reason and one reason only… online “Quick Match” play.
Now to the point… everyone knows the the biggest gameplay flaw for NBA 2K13 was the inability for one to play precise defense, particularly in two areas. First being , how consistently hard it was to block even the most obviously block-able shots. Secondly, the rate at which reaching fouls were called was a little too high. Especially when you tried to steal a ball that was being held right in front of your face by a 7 footer. Besides those aspects just-mentioned, I believe NBA 2K14 shouldn’t have modified a single 2K13 feature with regard to player control. In my opinion NBA 2K13 had mastered offensive player control. I couldn’t imagine what 2K might’ve possibly done to give a user more fingertip control of the players. Unfortunately though, they tried and failed horribly. I mean yes, they could’ve tweaked a few little things like the infamous leaning layup, but I don’t even consider that to be control-oriented, but more like graphical. They also could’ve toned down the 3-point percentages a little, but again, I don’t consider that as part of individual player control. I’ll be the first to admit that since NBA 2K10, the 2K brand has continually wowed me every year improving the realness of it’s player maneuverability giving the user more and more realistic control with each release. Unfortunately this is not the case with NBA 2K14. Instead they have taken a horrendous 10 steps back.
Obviously with each year, there will be a learning curve users must adapt to before becoming as proficient as they were on the previous version, but ultimately the changes would/should always make the experience better, more authentic. For instance last year the big gameplay change was the addition of having to hold down the L2 button while shooting. This was annoying at first, but was very easy to adapt to and subsequently allowed many additional offensive moves to be easily executed with the R3 joystick. Because of the ingenious addition of the L2 (in 2K13), there wasn’t any chance of accidentally picking up your dribble or shooting the ball, and for me it revolutionized my (back towards the rim) post game. So why is it that the 2K devs took it upon themselves to remove the L2 shooting requirement now combining shooting and dribbling moves into the same button, R3? Who knows, but consequently, basic moves such as the commonly used hop-step now (with 2K14) relies on a user being lucky enough to aim the R3 stick in the right direction to hopefully engage the hop-step motion, then requiring the user to continue holding the R3 stick down in order to shoot the ball (so no more hop-stop to pivot or pump). 2K plays this up as some continual motion bull-crap; More-like awkward and unrealistic motion. Regardless, one should be able to hop-step exactly when one wants. Just as bad, let’s say you mistakenly push the shooting stick away from the backboard (maybe in your haste to dunk it hard) be prepared to shoot a floater, because that’s exactly what will happen. Also for some insane reason there a thin line between dribbling and shooting, very thin. The absence of full control is immediately apparent. Online line so far, win or lose I feel like each trip down the court feels fake. Every play, successful or not, looks and feels accidental or lucky. Also the game is overfilled with steals, blocks, and stumbling & fumbling around the court. It’s like your watching a horrible game on TV as opposed to controlling one. Even worse, with these silly changes all combined, NBA 2K14 completely marginalizes surgical assassins like Bryant, Westbrook, or Rose reducing them to nothing more than another player that might be open to shoot a J instead of feared whenever the ball is in their hands. How could 2K make this obviously calculated decision to dumb-down the controller moves and in-game play like this? Until now, users like myself enjoyed being able to: 1. purchase the game, 2. go to training camp to learn any new “finger-skill” moves (dribbling and post-up), 3. going to freestyle mode to practice a bit and put it all together, before lastly hopping online to hopefully dominate anyone who thought they might just log-on to the game and start beating people by simply chucking-up jumpers and threes. This year, there’s no connecting moves or knowing exactly what your about to do. Instead, just push the R3 stick whichever way you choose and depending on your court position at the time, all you can do is sit back and wait to see what move the 2K intelligence picks for you.
Combining the shoot button with the dribbling button is definitely the single worse modification to this years release by far. If you dare to try any 1-on-1 moves, then you’re probably going to lose the ball (seems 90% likely). Equally as likely and perhaps worse your player will consistently stop dribbling and start the shooting motion. You see, if one holds onto the dribble stick slightly longer than a quarter of a second or so, the dribble move you’re trying execute will abruptly send your player into the shooting motion. With this devastating game change, NBA 2K14 has taken away the ability for a teams star player to dominate on any particular trip down the court. If you need points immediately and figure you’ll up your chances by going to Durant, LeBron, or Kobe to get them… then you better had think again. You might as well flip a coin and let anyone shoot it. On top of that there’s so much luck involved in 2K14, it’s appalling. Even the most slightly contested lay-ups will miss consistently, regardless of who the challenger is. In my opinion, 2K has over-fixed the the defense. Now, Steve Nash has a 50/50 chance of blocking LeBron James on a 1-on-1 fast break. Even if he doesn’t block it or steel it, he’ll foul him and definitely force a miss. That’s opposed to years past when the same scenario would result in a monster dunk with an automatic “And 1” if someone so athletically inferior had even thought about trying to block shot of such a superior player (which actually resembles real life much better).
In conclusion, NBA 2K14 is complete garbage; Well that is if you enjoy control. But… if your some 2nd grader or occasional game novice, then maybe you’ll be totally satisfied with running around the court unable to do anything you intended, but rather, awkwardly passing the ball around the court merely playing to avoid turnovers and feeling like whoever wins just luckily hit more jumpers that game. In that case, then you should go ahead an buy the game I guess. Although I must say, so far my record is 22-3 online, yet I don’t feel the least bit dominate. There will be no dominance this year… anyone can win. I’ve just already mastered getting fast break lay-ups after steeling the ball which I believe everyone will soon learn to do, seeing as how the game has only been out for 3 days now at the time of this writing. Notice I said above, “anyone can win”. Unfortunately I believe this is actually a strategic move by 2K14. I think that they’ve convinced themselves that it’s much more profitable to have every and anyone feeling like they could win as opposed to making the game the most fun for those users who commit to learning the intricacies of player control. That’s why Youtube is full of nothing but fake reviews given by fake reviewers paid for by 2K, which is why I had to write this. My record will stay at 22-3 this year. For I have listed my game up for sale on Craigslist and will not play another match. In order to teach 2K a true lesson, I suggest all you out there do the same. Maybe after a year of record low sales they’ll actually start making the game for the true ballers again. I’ll be sure to rent 2K15 first before I drop sixty-five hard-earned bucks again. I really hope that my above accusations against 2K of putting profit above gameplay quality are wrong. If I am wrong about that, then that leaves only one sad conclusion, which is, 2K doesn’t have developers working on the game that actually love to play the game often… there’s no way! And that my friends, is a damn shame… pfft, hire me for goodness sake, I’ll do it for free! I always thought NBA Jams was for small kids, novices, and the “lazy fingers” out there that just wanted to mess around… now 2K is as well, wow!