Oh, NBA 2K14, NBA 2K14, NBA 2K14… the bones I must pick with you. So, nearly a week in as of this evening, while I still stop and stare at the gorgeous graphics, the eco-motive system and player emotions, I have some qualms with the game that annoy the shit out of me.
Number one is, eh, y’know, minor, I guess: the players in the game that did not go through the facial scan look like they’ve had plastic surgery or they are purely generic. Hey, JJ Hickson, I’m looking at you, Javale McGee and Trey Burke (white legs wut) just as a few examples.
I was really looking forward to seeing what NBA 2K14 was going to do with the online leagues this year, but they are barebone on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 — the admin controls are far and few between. Unlike previous NBA 2Ks, you can’t have the CPU controlling teams while you and seven of your broskis (just an example) control your own teams. That’s a shame. Also, apparently, despite the fact that you used to be able to do this, you can’t use your own sliders as admin of the league for online play. I really do expect them to rectify this in 2K15.
Speaking of online play, man, I remember the days where you could view your own stats, which teams you use, your opponent’s tendencies and download their VIP. I remember when there were lobbies. I remember when you could actually play a game without the server taking a shit on you.
MyCareer is cheesy as hell. I find it funny that my point guard told the Jazz scout or whoever that he had no interest in playing in Salt Lake City yet was drafted by the Jazz, anyway. Request a trade? During the regular season, you can’t do it. I say the mode is cheesy because the cut scenes are terriblol. You have this rival by the name of Jackson Ellis, and it’s just amusing. Not to mention your MyCareer player has the same voice as everybody else’s MyCareer player. It’s the same very generic black man voice that’s been popular on the 2Ks since what? 2K11? Oh, and from what everybody says, if somebody in MyCareer gets injured, they never come back. You read that correctly: every injury, no matter what, is a fucking career ender. This is, of course, until 2K releases a patch to fix this! I’ll still play the mode, but I’m kinda waiting around for 2K to rectify these things.
By the way, I think microtransactions are ruining the game with the VC (Virtual Currency) point systems. After playing a MyCareer game, you might get around 300-400 VC points on average. What if I want to improve my vertical by a substantial margin? 12,000 virtual currency to do that, 2K? Really? Really? If I want to put a sleeve on my player’s arm for games, I gotta drop more VC? I miss the way it was in 2K11.
Speaking of 2K11 and going back to the online play, Crew mode was a fucking blast. I loved that shit. They only took it out because basement dwelling asswipes were doing some kind of cryptic shit to manipulate games online, but I loved it because you and one, two, three or four of your bros could take your MyPlayer guys, make a team and play against other people and their teams from around the world. It was a blast. It was also in the game for 2K10. When I bought NBA 2K12, this was one of the things that turned me off from the game, the way they took the mode out, among other things. But I digress.
In MyGM, I’m having fun with the Celtics at the record of 7-8. I knew the season would be a struggle. If it weren’t for Jeff Green hitting a couple of game winners over the T’Wolves and Rockets, and Manu Ginobili missing a wide open 3 when ‘we’ visited San Antonio, my record would be garbage. Anyway, you create a GM (obviously), pick what kind of GM you are (talented in coaching? Business savvy? Scouting? Etc. etc.), and yeah. You answer to the owner, receive information from your trainer(s) and occasionally talk to the press.
Now, while I AM enjoying this mode — MyGM — tremendously, player roles and morale are frustrating to deal with because, again, it’s as if you are being forced to buy VC or spend the shit out of it just to coddle your vain, butthurt players. For me, it’s been Gerald Wallace getting his panties in a wad despite ample minutes being played every game when he comes in for JG. But hell, even modifying a lot of these player roles and/or “pep talks” you can have with players in your office involves you using VC.
I used to enjoy going into Association mode with the Celtics, Spurs and perhaps bringing in the ’95-’96 Bulls to fuck around with. I also liked to play what I’d see as “game of the day” or “game of the week” (self-dubbed) in Association — say, Thunder/Clippers, for example. MyGM? There’s no additional Association mode now, on the Xbox One/PlayStation 4, so you can only control one team and are forced to be a GM. This has to BLOW for those guys that love controlling all 30 teams for their leagues.
The menus are annoying to get through. When I first popped the game in last Friday evening, I was confused all to fuck on how to play a quick game before I went to “NBA Today” and mashed buttons, hitting “B” to bring up the additional menu.
The soundtrack is solid. Props to LeBron James for his input. It’s catchy, despite how much I don’t want to admit it, and I generally enjoy it, especially compared to last year’s, which I [expletive] hated. I really enjoy the inclusion of two songs from The Black Keys, but I wonder if LeBron really listens to them OR if he just added them to the game’s soundtrack because they are from Akron and Dan Auerbach spoke up about the piss poor way Cleveland fans reacted when LeBron left for South Beach.
I know I sound like a debbie downer, and there are more things that annoy me about this game, but y’know, I do love it, and the gameplay is fun and gorgeous. Although, three more things I must rag on the gameplay over…
1.) Bump n’ grind, bump n’ grind, bump n’ grind, non-fucking-stop. I feel like one cannot get around anybody on this game, and if you happen to do so, the defense collapses and converges on you so easily, and oftentimes you can’t even kick the ball out for one of the upcoming reasons (see #2). If I’m using Russell Westbrook, going up against Steven Nash, and the Lakers are playing man to man and I’ve called for an isolation, I should be able to blow by the sumbitch, but he ends up playing defense like he’s Dennis Johnson. Fuck you, virtual Steve Nash, you wizard (not of the Washington (DC) variety).
2.) Non-stop ball tips and steals. Try kicking the ball out when the defense collapses on you? Good luck, bro. You’d think, that when controlling someone like one Rajon Rondo, who’d certainly have the tendency to thread the needle — so to speak — with accurate, even dazzling, passes, would be able to toss a 3-foot pass to one Kelly Olynyk in the post, but I feel so timid when the idea of passing to the paint arises in my head, because I know it’s going to be knocked away 90% of the time, so why even bother? 2K needs to patch this. I want a challenge, no doubt about it I do, but I want to be able to, actually, y’know, pass the ball into the paint without dealing with everyone who has a miraculous Jonny “Bones” Jones reach and being reminded of it. Even when you are right next to who you are passing to and the defender is behind them, they will all of a sudden reach around (yeah) and swat the goddamn ball away. This never happens when you are on defense and the CPU is running amok on your ass.
3.) The prostick. Fuck the prostick. And some of the controls. NBA 2K13 had the controls set up perfectly — the right thumbstick was PURELY the crossover stick, and if you wanted to shoot with the right thumbstick, you simply had to hold down the left trigger and pull the stick back. All was well. With 2K14, the prostick is the crossover/dribble move stick AND shooting without the L trigger involved. Instead, now, if you happen to hold down on the thumbstick for too long, you will shoot! Frustrating! The L trigger is now used as a modifier for throwing flashy passes, and timeouts are now LB + RB (or the corresponding buttons on PS4). Oh lawd.
But I love the game. I really do. Just these problems are irking the shit out of me. Outside of what I’ve already said about the gameplay, it’s a blast. I just hope 2K will iron these things out and, if they can’t for the current version, at least rectify it all for 2K15.
After further review, NBA 2K11 is still the greatest basketball game ever made.
Edit (12/7/2013): Here are some big reasons why NBA 2K14’s online is difficult to enjoy:
1.) The playbook system is a complete mess. Those assigned online playbooks are totally different from those assigned offline playbooks. There is no way to practice the online playbooks. Sometimes they are random; we can NOT save playbooks and we can NOT put the playbooks in the order we want them. Massive disappointment.
2.) Roster updates are horribly out of date. The daily updated roster promise was a joke. By the way, I think it’s illegal to promote a product feature and not delivering on it.
3.) The online is a 3-point cheesefest. Please tone it down a little bit (at least the contested 3-point shots). It’s more easy to rain 3s than a mid-J. That’s why everybody runs to the 3pt line almost every single possession. The average 3-pt shots attempted are almost 30 shots per game. Example: kids, casuals and cheesers just push the button with Kevin Durant, Paul George, JJ Redick, Carmelo Anthony, and it’s an automatic 3 no matter how strong your D is.
4.) Overrated players. There are particular players that are on steroids, play the whole game with no substitution, sprinting and they make contested shots and a lot of and-1s practically automatic. They are goons in real life, but for fuck’s sake! Tone it down a little bit.
5.) Defensive settings for each player is gone. Enough said. Big regression in this game. WHY FIX WHAT’S NOT BROKEN?! At this point, Madden NFL is more of a complete game than NBA 2K, which is sad.
6.) Coach sliders are gone as well. 2K keeps deleting features for no reason.
7.) We can NOT see a player’s fatigue in the quick menu screen on-the-fly this year. Sadly, we need to call a timeout in order to see each player’s fatigue. Sad, sad, sad.
8.) No community feeling. Meaning: no leaderboards, no competition spirit, no ranking system, no lobbies, no complete stats for our next opponents. Even Madden NFL has this.
9.) We can NOT see our opponents DNF% (Did Not Finish percentage). This promotes poor sportsmanship because quitters will not face any punishment when quitting. If DNF% is displayed before a game, they will have serious consequences and problems getting a match. Nobody wants to play a quitter and 2K Sports shall discourage the poor sportsmanship.
10.) Please, please, please let us SAVE the important features to online (roster lineups, playbooks, coach sliders, defensive settings and inbound playbooks.)