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Long has the NBA 2K series ruled the basketball gaming world. Since EA’s Live series (And its NCAA series too for that matter) went under in 2010, 2K studios’ NBA game has gone unchallenged. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. The game was far superior to its EA brethren before that series became extinct, and each incarnation has improved upon an already stellar game. So with the Live series poised to make a comeback, would 2K step up their game even more? In a word… nope.

NBA 2K14 is almost a carbon copy of the 2013 version. It is graphically identical (Although the next gen version will no doubt have better graphics… right?). All of the game modes are essentially the same. NBA 2K13 was a great game though, so this isn’t exactly a death sentence. But after playing that game nonstop for a year, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed in the lack of game mode or graphic changes. However in soldiering on through a few weeks of the game, I am actually pleasantly surprised by how much the good does outweigh the bad.

The Good: The overall amount of foul calls has increased, which makes it far less likely for you to get smashed to the ground by Dwight without a foul call.

nba blockScoring near the bucket has changed considerably. In previous versions, a player of any size and skill level could dart into the paint and score pretty easily with a pump fake or 7. Basically a player could pump fake however many times inside the paint, and even if the defender didn’t bite on it, he could throw up a shot that would scorch the net. That trick is pretty much gone. I find that when I pump fake once, there is about a 50% chance that the defender will just slap the ball out of my hands and leave me sobbing as he dunks it the other way.

This works both ways. When your player is on defense, it is much easier to strip the ball or get into the passing lanes without the ref riding you into the reach-in sunset. This feature is perhaps a little overdone, as both of my MyPlayer guards have racked up some pretty insane steal numbers (My pg set the Knicks’ franchise record at 10 steals despite having a mere 62 in the steal attribute). While I am not complaining about being a defensive juggernaut, it is probably not the most realistic of features.

One other positive that must be noted is that I have yet to find the overpowered team. If you are a veteran of the series, you know of what I speak… the team that shall not be named. If you aren’t, watch this video and see if you can figure it out for yourself (Note: That video gave me ‘Nam flashbacks).

I am not saying that a monster doesn’t exist, but in about 40 games played I have yet to find it.

The Bad: The changes to the right stick. Look 2K… I get it. You want the maximum amount of crazy and flashy moves available to us, the eager consumers. I love you for that. But to have one stick control dribbling, shooting, and passing? It is insanity. I have seen some other reviewers say to just give it a little time. Well, I gave it a little time, and I still fire a 40-foot fadeaway jumper when I’m just trying to cross Goran Dragic over. The different layups and moves to the basket are neat when you can pull them off, but even after 15 years of basketball game romance, I just can’t seem to pull them off consistently.

layupI also have to mention the lack of changes to the MyPlayer and MyTeam modes. These two modes, MyPlayer especially, offer a fun new experience for a veteran gamer tired of franchise modes. However these features are basically left untouched from the 2K13 version, and that’s too bad because they have a lot of room for growth.

One last thing I want to point out is the 3 point shooting. This feature has needed to be adjusted for a few games now (Refer back to the video of the One Team to rule them all), and 2K may have overdone it a bit for NBA 2K14. Gone is the instant 3 point killer available in MyPlayer. The 3-pt specialist now only receives a 72 in the attribute, whereas before the player began with an 80 and could basically lead the league from day one. I agree with this change on the surface, but when the overall success rate of 3 pointers is also lowered, it makes for a rough experience for your humble sharpshooters. My pg has an 81 in the 3-pt shooting attribute, and can not even crack the 30% mark. This needs to be adjusted just a tiny bit.

The Ugly: Shaq’s acting career. I mean really. How did we as a society allow this to happen? 5,000 years from now our descendants are going to dig up a copy of Kazaam, and it will be on display in a museum somewhere. Just let that sink in a little bit.

Originally posted to Corrupted Cartridge.