Nothing can compete with the NBA 2K series when it comes to simulating hard-court action. This new 2K14 edition goes all-in on the dual-stick dribbling and movement. Players hit the lane and attempt spin moves, up-and-under shots and floaters with more realism than ever.
After several years of living the Michael Jordan experience in this franchise, his greatness steps aside to let the king take the spotlight. LeBron James gets a game-play mode all his own, with two paths to direct him toward NBA immortality. One path keeps James in Miami to continue building a dynasty in South Beach, while the other route sends him to another team as a free agent. The mode remains fascinating, no matter which way you go.
The in-game commentary gets better each year. The trio of Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr offers insights to the teams and individual players. But after about a dozen or so games, you likely will want to blast some music rather than listen to them drone on. Arenas continue to improve from a lighting and interactivity standpoint, with games looking more like broadcasts and less like digital facsimiles.
The game has pushed hardware and software limits as much as it can before the new consoles dramatically shift our perceptions of what is possible in video-game visuals. If you plan to wait before jumping into the Xbox One or PS4, know that NBA 2K14 won't disappoint you through this next NBA season.
RATING E for Everyone
PLOT The basketball court is in session.
DETAILS PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, $59.99
BOTTOM LINE They shoot, they score (but it's not hockey).