Once you have something down to a science, it becomes difficult to improve upon it. Like a house, once the foundation is built and the furnishings are there, you can only really start decorating. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into an article about home decor, although if I really tried I could make it one. Don’t worry, this article is in fact about something entirely different. Although if you did play basketball in your house, it would result in a drastic change to your home decor.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are here to talk about the fast, furious, and intense sport of basketball. For the past few years, the basketball genre has been utterly dominated by the 2K series. In the past, NBA Live has been a ghost, a phantom, a fickle friend who says they’re going to show up, but then they ditch you. This year, the NBA has two games to portray it’s sport. NBA 2K14 and NBA Live 2014. The inevitable question upon all of our minds is of course, which one is better?
Round one: “Game Modes and Features.”
NBA 2K14 brings the modes you would expect, along with some new features on PS4. The animations this year are stronger than they’ve ever been. Player movement is smooth and it’s nigh impossible to tell when one animation transitions to another. Player expressions are real and believable and the whole game sells the intense atmosphere of the game better than ever. Just like previous versions of the game, each player has a unique way of taking shots making each player feel different.
The biggest new feature on this year’s game is the addition of MyGM mode, which is a variation of Franchise mode where players become a GM and during the season they have to manage the owner, meet with them and gain their trust. As you play the game, you level up and earn bonuses to improve your negotiations and trades. It’s a deep mode that seamlessly blends the management of the team and the hands on gameplay across the court. It may not have all the modes of the previous console’s versions, but it does include the ones that count the most, and that’s what makes it a strong presence in the basketball genre.
NBA Live comes out this year with a new feature called BounceTek. This feature promises greater control of the ball. Using the thumbstick, players can modify their dribbles to perform crossovers, signature moves, spins, and so on. This feature works well, but a lot of the aspects can be overplayed. This major advantage removes some of the challenge to the game. What’s more is that there is no tutorial explaining the nuances of these moves. Players have to seek out information in the game’s manual which many people will overlook. Without any guidance, it’s hard for the game to truly showcase this feature.
The animations in NBA Live 2014 don’t compare to the ones in 2K14. The players in this game are stiff and the animations on the court aren’t seamless, in fact they can seem choppy in places. The modes that you would expect are here, with a Franchise mode, plus the game has an interesting set of mini challenges that mimic real life events. These challenges allow you to recreate intense moments from a game that occurred only days before. where you can control the career of an NBA athlete. And then there’s Rising Star, where you control the career of an NBA athlete, but ultimately NBA Live 2014 is a skeleton compared to the more polished and impressive NBA 2K14. The war is not over yet, however, we still need to talk graphics.
Round Two: “Graphics”
NBA 2K14 brings massive graphical improvements to the court with the PS4 version of the game. Players look incredibly lifelike, the crowds and courts feel alive, and the overall presentation is rock solid. Commentary is real and contextual and the halftime and postgame interviews are eerily relevant to what occurred in the game. NBA 2K14 is a master of the sport and the atmosphere is spot on. It brings the intensity and fluidity of a real basketball game to your home.
After a three year hiatus, NBA Live 2014 comes out with a mediocre package. Being exclusively on next generation platforms brings a certain level of expectations in regards to the caliber of graphics. NBA Live doesn’t have the prowess here, and this extends to the presentation itself. The commentary uses generic phrases and rarely calls out actual players which makes it feel scripted, more so than it really is. The halftime show is good, but the actual contextual elements are drowned out by a several minute long intro and outro that isn’t needed. The players and audience lack the level of detail you would expect, and the players lack the spark of life that other games have already mastered.
Round Three: “The Final Breakdown”
Here we are folks, were almost to the part where I drop the microphone and let you chime in. Before I go, let’s wrap up these two games with a little Pro and Con session.
- incredible graphics and detail
- lifelike players and animations
- deep and involved modes to keep players coming back
- rock solid presentation.
- lacks the full suite of modes from current gen
- occasional glitches and bugs break the atmosphere
NBA Live 2014
- unique mini challenges that mimic real life events
- BounceTek dribble mechanics make for interesting tactics
- last gen graphics
- frame rate issues during replays
- choppy animations
- true depth of BounceTek isn’t easily accessible
There you have it my friends. The reigning champion, and the returning legend go head to head. NBA 2K14 seems to have taken the cake with this one, but I want to hear what you think. Light up the comments and tells us which one is your favorite. If you like NBA Live better, tell us why! Nothing is more honorable than loyalty my friends, so speak your peace and tell us all about it in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 12/26/2013