After four years of delays, cancellations and broken promises, NBA Live is back in the form of NBA Live 14 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
A series that once held the crown of top basketball game on the market, NBA Live 14 is a game that is just hoping to challenge the big dog of NBA 2K14 to prove, not only to itself, but to fans, that it’s now a two horse race on the court.
And while NBA Live 14 certainly has its bright spots, there are far too many negatives to really take this game seriously as a player in the NBA gaming market right now.
The game definitely has some good to it. The layered control scheme is the first thing that stands out when playing as it allows people who have never played a basketball game before to pick up and start playing right away. Even the “bouncetek” dribbling system is pretty easy to learn after a short amount of time with the game.
Though not the best aspect of the game, the overall gameplay isn’t as terrible as some would have you believe. Sure, it’s not polished nor ready for the spotlight, but the game is a back-and-forth affair that is sure to have you excited when you watch your team gain momentum because of two quick threes to blow open a game.
And though some outlets may say that the gameplay is just too clunky to be enjoyed, I found myself having fun with it regardless because of the moves you can pull of when dribbling and driving to the basket.
In terms of game modes, I only caught myself enjoying two of the modes: Big Moments and NBA Live Ultimate Team. Big moments allows players to recreate classic moments in various NBA games, and will be updated throughout the season with classic moments, like the Jeff Green buzzer beater against Miami, that take place this year.
Ultimate Team is exactly what you’d expect from an EA Sports sports title. It’s fun, addicting and you can get lost in time when you sit down to play it.
Unfortunately, for all of the good that can be found in the game, there is enough bad to create an unpleasant experience for even the most open-minded player.
Off the court, the two main single-player game modes are lackluster at best. Rising Star mode is nearly a carbon copy of NBA 2k’s MyPlayer mode. The only thing is, you lose points that could be used to build up your player for everything wrong that you do. Turnover, lose points. Allow your man to score, lose points. Miss a shot, lose points.
The amount of points you can potentially lose compared to the amount you can gain is far too onesided which makes this mode nearly unplayable.
Dynasty mode is about as cut and dry as you can get. It’s your typical franchise mode where you take control of a team, build your roster and try to win an NBA title. That’s it.
On the court the game is sometimes good, sometimes bad. At times, the game flows like you’d expect an NBA game to. At others, the game feels sluggish and unresponsive to what you are trying to get your players to do. It doesn’t happen too often, but it comes often enough that makes you question if this is a next-gen game or something you’d find on the PS3 and Xbox 360 four years ago.
The player models look ok, but for some reason they all look like Hercules from the Disney movie after he gets his immortality back. They are just way too shiny and bright for humans. That can only mean one thing I guess: NBA players are immortal, god-like figures! I mean, it only makes sense, right?
The presentation leaves a lot to be desired as well. Though there are good ideas in place with the ESPN integration, stellar visual graphics and the haltime/postgame reports, the commentary sounds too much like a PS2, Xbox OG game than something we’d expect on a next-gen system.
Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy provide some of the most generic calls in quite some time, and the inflection in their voices change mid-sentence for no apparent reason. I mean, there is no reason to have a call that goes: A quick shot by MARIO CHALMERS! Seriously, why do you have to yell his name?
NBA Live 14 is a solid first step back onto the court for a series that many believed to be dead when NBA Live 13 was cancelled back in 2012. It has a lot of room for improvement, but the foundation has been laid for a game to become a competitor to the NBA 2K juggernaut in the years ahead.
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