2K’s smooth basketball sim; NBA 2K14; has given us some serious hoop dreams. With the game’s deep but fun gameplay and neat presentation giving us a truly immersive representation of the sport, you’ll likely be inspired to get out on the court yourself. In amongst the usual full-sided matches and training games, the career mode is a brilliantly addictive addition, getting us totally hooked. Diving into the career mode, you’re given the usual array of customisation options to craft your player in your own image, meticulously adjusting the sliders to get just the appearance you want. Or just give him a huge afro and make him as tall as possible, either’s good.
Things kick off at the Rookie Showcase. This prestigious event brings together the cream of the draft class to show off their skills in front of prospective employers, with the glitz and glamour of the event well represented here. Once you’ve finished strutting your stuff, you’ll be invited to sit down with a number of GMs and scouts in mini-interviews to determine where you’ll end up. Draft day is an exciting moment, as the commissioner reels off the list of names and which clubs have selected them, it’ll hopefully not be too long before your name is called and you find yourself a professional NBA player for the first time. It’s a well-handled moment of the game, and unless you’re in the top few picks, sitting through the long list of announcements makes it that much more exciting as you wait to find out which corner of the US you’ll be plying your trade in.
Gameplay is quick-moving and unforgiving. With basketball a small-sided sport, time on the ball isn’t as rare as many other game’s career modes, but as a result, everything you do in possession comes under intense scrutiny. The grading mechanic is particularly harsh, penalising you far more for a miss than it rewards for a good shot. The perspective is well-suited to the game’s general flow, allowing you to survey the entire court effectively before picking your pass or shot. With your player starting out unable to hit a barn door, it’s going to take some serious training time to get him up to speed for the NBA, but the game never makes it feel like a chore.
Off-court performance can be just as important to the development of your player, with your conduct in press conferences and interviews shaping your image for the rest of the world. Your bosses, teammates and fans will be carefully watching what you say in public, so be careful not to be too scathing when speaking about your coaches. That said; it is good fun to sound off every now and then, just to see how far you can push it.
Your relationship with the fans is important, with this social media themed screen giving you a snapshot of what people are saying about you. This is a fantastic touch, adding to the immersion, and giving a sense of personality to your teammates and fans. Teammates ribbing you on Twitter, or people commenting on your latest billboard gives a nice extra dimension to the game world.
There are so many little milestones to strive for, giving you a clear sense of achievement as you progress through your career. Everything from your number of Twitter followers to your rebound stats are monitored closely, and assessed at every turn. It’s a great little moment to hit these targets, with your first bucket in the NBA feeling just as important as your hundredth, you really feel like you’ve earned the superstardom as endorsements and offers come flooding in.
It’s a fantastic game mode, and as is usually the case with sports titles’ career modes, it will entertain fans of the game for hours. Watching your baller grow from a promising rookie into an NBA superstar is a rewarding and enjoyable journey, and may just be the very best way to play NBA 2K14.