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Why NBA 2K14 is Overrated

/ Dec 31st, 2013 5 Comments

NBA 2K14 Gameplay trailer

Without a doubt, the NBA 2K series has taken off as one of the most popular sports video game franchises. 2K Sports has once again put out the best basketball simulation of the year with NBA 2K14. During its three years of being the only basketball game available, NBA 2K continued to improve, most notably in graphics. Everything from player models to stadium atmosphere has a distinct feel of realism after gradual and consistent improvements on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Clearly, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One edition take that realism to an even higher level as players and stadiums look spot on.

That being said, the fun factor should not overshadow the fact that NBA 2K14 (and recent predecessors dating back to NBA 2K12) are bad games. The player and coach I.Q., along with mechanics flaws and inaccuracies in the shooting system, leave no room for NBA 2K14 to be called a good game.

NBA 2K is a video game simulation of NBA basketball. Players and coaches are expected to make high-quality decisions and play as if they are the best in the world. There is no reason for a top-tier point guard to sail a pass over the head of a teammate that is less than two feet away. There is no reason for a pass to a seven-foot center to go to the chest of a six-foot point guard during a mismatch in the post. When a player has position underneath the basket, there is no reason for that player to expose the ball by reaching around for a weak layup, resulting in a block. All of these things and more happen consistently in NBA 2K.

next-gen NBA 2K14

Dwight Howard and James Harden in next-gen NBA 2K14.

However, players are not the only ones diseased with low basketball I.Q. The most experienced mind on the bench, the coach, handles game situations poorly. It is understandable that each team has a set rotation and philosophy and the player does have the option of manually adjusting the Point of Emphasis and substitutions. However, if teams truly have their own identity and style, the coach should have no problem understanding how to handle certain situations. Riding the hot hand is not the most radical idea. Nor is it tough to understand when it’s appropriate to call a timeout. The person playing the game has the option to call timeouts, but much like the actual NBA players in real life, it can be tough to drop pride and call a timeout.

The head coach should make the NBA decisions that a video game player, who would easily fail as an NBA coach is not capable of making. Teams should not be able to go on huge runs without attention from the coach. Furthermore, a coach should not be calling a timeout immediately after the opposition has called a timeout. It destroys the flow of the game and gives the opposition confidence and additional rest.

While the player and coach I.Q. is considerably frustrating, the majority of issues are in the actual gameplay. Shot timing and grades have been inaccurate for years, and 2K Sports did absolutely nothing to fix it. As a matter of fact, one can make the argument that it consistently gets worse. There was a time that achieving an excellent release on an A-quality shot was a guaranteed basket. That alone could be frustrating because it makes defense irrelevant at times. However, in NBA 2K14 there have been a number of times where the credentials of the shot simply did not make sense. Kevin Love and practically every top-tier shooters manage to turn A-quality, excellent release, wide open mid-range jumpers and three-pointers into air-balls.


The conversation engine in NBA 2K14 MyGM.

Issues that cannot be ignored are passing and rebounding. The inaccurate passes could quite possibly be the most frustrating and unacceptable trait of NBA 2K14. Players struggle to make the simplest of passes. NBA 2K14 often punishes the offense in order to make up for the A.I.’s defensive deficiencies. Because the defense doesn’t get down court after a possession change, the game doesn’t allow the offensive player to successfully take advantage. Passes across halfcourt on fast breaks are consistently and unrealistically inaccurate and almost always result in a turnover. From a pass sailing over the head of an open player to players receiving the pass, only to bobble it directly out of bounds, NBA 2K14 does not like players creating fast breaks with long passes… unless it’s the Miami Heat. The game has a soft spot for the Heat. Thanks, Lebron.

The last great game in the NBA 2K series was NBA 2K11. Since then, the game has suffered from a number of changes. Improved physics and presentation have taken the series to a new level, and the unique style of star players makes NBA 2K14 an extremely fun experience. It is the many flaws and deficiencies in the gameplay that take away from what could be an outstanding experience. Take-Two and 2K Sports seems to have gotten complacen, and continue to neglect extremely noticeable flaws that have existed for the past three years.

It is time for 2K Sports to listen to the critics and take NBA 2K to the next level of gameplay. Until then, it will remain a fun bad game that reaps the benefits of a monopoly.


Chad Whitney

Chad Whitney

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Chad is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated. A part of the Editorial team, The Chad has also dabbled in Reviews and Previews. The Chad has been a gamer since he became conscious of life. He has stated on more than one occasion that The Chad doesn't wear aluminum foil on his head, thus he is vulnerable to having his mind read. Mind reading can be a strain though, so FOLLOW The Chad @ChadNorris1390 on TWITTER.
Chad Whitney
Chad Whitney

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  • Anthony Arnold

    Thanks for speaking the truth. I am personally astonished how this game got such glowing reviews. I played it for 3 days from Redbox. Playing as the Thunder, I saw Kevin Durant AIRBALL a wide open three. Russell Westbrook, one of the leagues best finishers, bobbled a simple pass at the basket more than once leading to turnovers every time.

    Combined with horrific server issues and micro transactions being force fed, I think this game is pretty garbage.

    • Chad Whitney

      Thanks for the opinion. I tried to be as unbiased as possible, pointing out only key flaws. Glad to hear that you connected with what I addressed

  • Aaron Echols

    Yeah, getting pretty frustrated. I have NBA Live 14 as well, but I haven’t played it much. I guess it’s time to start giving it a run again…

    • Chad Whitney

      I unfortunately got rid of my NBA Live 14. Te lack of a Practice Mode killed me, but I hear they’ve added the mode so I am reconsidering it.

  • Brent Raines

    I agree that NBA 2k14 is a bad game, I just don’t agree your reasons. I agree that coaching AI is awful, but I think players play realistically. I play on the simulation setting, maybe that would fix some of your issues. But at the same time, players miss open shots and occasionally make bad passes; I don’t think that occurs at an outrageous rate. The game is stripped down and void of many features that made it popular- that is where the problem lies with NBA 2k14.

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