WWE 2K15 is a big deal for 2K Sports. It's the first game in the series where they had the opportunity to produce a game from scratch, and they've been taking the responisiblity very seriously indeed, calling WWE 2K15 the first truly next-gen wrestling game, acknowledging the limitations of last year's generation-straddling iteration. As such, they're hoping to see Yuke's and project partners Visual Concepts both bringing their A-games, ringing the changes in a number of meaningful ways.
MyCareer is a huge addition to the franchise, taking the best bits from VC's longstanding mode in the NBA 2K series and applying it here, fulfilling one of the biggest requests fans have been making for years. The presentation, as you'd expect, is absolutely top notch, with a huge portable capture rig having been driven around the US to really nail the exaggerated facial animations and up the level of drama in the ring.
Speaking of which, the actually wrestling itself has undergone some changes too, breaking down moves into more specific components, giving players a greater array of options in terms of body targeting, and making a concerted effort to match the fluidity and shifts in momentum that befit a proper WWE match. Mastering the art of countering is going to prove absolutely essential in this year's game, and it's a fiendish thing to get a hold of against the AI, though I found it significantly easier (though still pretty challenging) against a human opponent.
To get the lowdown on the changes and upgrades that Yuke's and VC are bringing to the table with this year's game, and to chat about what working primarily with the new consoles has allowed the developers to do, I caught up with WWE 2K brand director Bryce Yang at a recent event in London.Check out my WWE 2K15 interview with Yang after the jump >>
NBA 2K15 is an interactive sporting soap opera, and it's quite brilliant in that regard. Visual Concepts have been leading the line in terms of narrative framing for career modes for some time, but last year's next-gen version saw them really ratchet things up in terms of context and plotting for MyCareer, upping the stakes by giving you a nemesis to measure yourself against, a mute team buddy to give you inspiration and a kick up the arse when warranted, and interactions with coaches, GMs and the press.
This year, though, they've really gone the extra mile in cultivating a sporting narrative full of drama and emotion. You kick things off as an undrafted rookie with an obnoxious, Jerry Maguire-esque agent shopping you about low-to-mid-level teams for a trial. The greater the team's standing, the harder you'll have to work to impress them, and so on. Succeed, and you'll earn yourself a ten-day contract; do well in the mattering of games during that short time period, and you might win a spot on the rotation for the rest of the season. It's a true underdog setup that then spins out into regular team meetings, chats with your coach, practice sessions, contract negotiations, team-mates finding out about you entertaining the notion of signing with a another team, squabbles about playing opportunities, clashes with other rookies and players, all in the quest to become the greatest player you can be.
It's rather intoxicating stuff, aided by more fully-featured voice work from the characters you'll meet along the way. It must be said, however, that few NBA players have the acting chops of Shaq, and the monotonous drawl of the likes of Terrence Ross and Andre Drummond, not to mention the interesting timing of some lines that VC clearly didn't have the time to record twice, can make dialogue exchanges inadvertently hilarious.Click here to read more...
NBA 2K15 is finally here, and it's good. I mean really good. Visual Concepts have tweaked a fair few things in this latest instalment of the World's Best Sport Game Series, and one of the nifty new features is the ability to scan in your face for MyPlayer.
Check out my efforts in the quest for facial perfection in the video above.
I won't lie, I didn't hold out much hope that this would be any good. EA Sports' Game Face is utterly dreadful. Aside from it being a slow, clunky, often unworkable piece of crap, when it does have the decency to work, my Game Face creations all came out looking like someone had stuffed several slapped arses into a blender and then given the remains to Picasso.Click here to read more...
NBA 2K14 is a barnstorming game, and Steam currently have a fat price cut offer on for the PC version, but there's a downside. The PC version of the game is,for all intents and purposes, the last-gen edition of NBA 2K14, which is a crying shame. It's still a cracking title, and a must for basketball fans who prefer to play on PC, but it's more like NBA 2K13.5 rather than the fully-fledged upgrade offered by the PS4 and XO versions.
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed) | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
The generation jump has, by and large, seen much of the same again in the short while since the Xbox One and PS4's releases. We've had a dearth of truly essential exclusives on both sides, coupled with generation-bridging third party extravagances that, though shinier on next-gen tech, are largely feature-complete and cheaper on old machines. What this had meant is that it feels as though we're still awaiting a number of studios to really commit to the future consoles and truly elevate their games to the next level.
Thankfully, Visual Concepts are on the ball. Sorry for the puns.
NBA 2K14 arrives on PS4 and Xbox One in markedly different form to the game that greeted PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. Instead of being a slightly tuned up version of NBA 2K13, what we have here is a title that has been resolutely overhauled both on and off of the court to striking effect. It hasn't all gone entirely swimmingly, but what we do have here is a truly next-gen title that shows great promise.
If you watched my initial impression video for NBA 2K14 on PS4, you'll no doubt have borne witness to my excited reaction to the player models and exceptionally fluid animations. Visual Concepts have always been excellent at player capture and recreating the spinning, Eurostepping balletic grace of a player such as Kobe or D-Wade. Creating a zippy point guard and giving him a devastating, Iverson-esque crossover has long been a delight. But here, on machines with more power and memory, the animations and level of physical detail on the players have been ramped up to an impressive degree. There's a solidity and physicality to proceedings that is very welcome, aided by an on-court soundscape that has been recaptured and given wider variety and impact.Click here to read more...
We're back with more NBA 2K14 PS4 gameplay for you, and in today's Dealspwn Playthrough we're taking a brief look at the changes Visual Concepts have rung to the opening scenes of MyCareer. If there's a criticism to be made of the NBA 2K series it is that MyCareer and The Association modes have been a little stagnant for too long. Indeed, on last-gen consoles (yep, we're saying that now), they remained relatively unchanged once again. But fire up the game on PS4 or Xbox One and you'll be treated to an experience that's been utterly overhauled.
The developers have made the whole thing a much more dramatic experience, injecting narrative elements into proceedings to make things mean a little more with the addition of a childhood friend as your agent and, more importantly, a matchup nemesis against whom you can gauge your personal development. It adds a little spice to the Rookie Showcase to have a rival to battle against.
There'll be a more comprehensive look at the improvements made across the game in our review, but it's a huge game and that's a little way off yet. In the interim, however, you can feast your eyes on this little look at how MyCareer unfolds in NBA 2K14 on PS4.Click here to read more...
I'll be honest, I've been a little disappointed by the jump up from current/last-gen to the new platforms that released this month when it comes to third-party titles. Being "feature complete" across two generations has obviously limited the scope of some titles on next-gen consoles, and thus rendered the urge to buy into this new tech more of a lazy nudge than an emphatic shove.
But where developers have chosen to fully embrace the opportunities afforded by the extra power of the PS4 and Xbox One, there's hope to be found. Call of Duty: Ghosts runs so much better on next-gen consoles; Battlefield 4 can finally boast the same player count on rigid systems as it can on PC; and then there's NBA 2K14.
Put simply, it might be the best sports game I've ever played.
With that in mind, here's the first of a couple of playthrough videos I constructed. This one looks at some of the improvements on the court, and the changes made to the in-game engine.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed) - Coming to PS4/Xbox One in November
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
You have to hand it to Visual Concepts and 2K Sports. No sports series comes close to the consistent quality of the NBA 2K franchise. Last year's effort, though it wasn't exactly a huge step up from its predecessor, led me to fall head over heels in love with a sport and embrace the irresistible personality and depth of NBA 2K with open arms. How could this year's instalment possibly top that?
Well, it starts with the control system. Once again, Visual Concepts have overhauled their input system in the pursuit of intuitive perfection. But for anyone who spent a fair amount of time in NBA 2K13, this new system will prove a source of frustration until you realise that you'd better learn it from scratch. The right stick -- the Pro Stick -- has no need of the left trigger modifier when it comes to shooting this time around. Isomotion and post move trickery-- the crossovers, Dream Shakes, hesitations, spins -- these are conducted via little taps and precise movements, with shooting a matter of pushing and holding the stick towards the direction you desire. Should habit force you to nudge the left trigger and then flick the stick, you'll now perform a range of showy passes. Or, more likely, hurl the ball into Row Z.
It takes some getting used to, but it's customisable so can just use the stick for nifty fakes and dazzling ankle-breakers if you'd prefer to use buttons for shooting and passing. There's some crossover, too, so you'll be able to switch between control inputs on the fly and pull off Steve Nash-esque no-look passes to your heart's content, whilst still having the solidity of shooting via a face button. On top of that, there's streamlining elsewhere: now you just have to nudge the left bumper to call a play, rather than abandoning control for a split-second to fiddle with the D-pad.Click here to read more...
The latest NBA 2K14 trailer is all about signature skills and smooth moves, explaining how this year's basketball heavyweight plans to add even more versatility and personality to the experience. If you know what 'pick and roll' means (or indeed, know anything about basketball), you should probably give this a watch.Click here to read more...
Hip-hop, flashing lights, and absurdly tall men leaping about and smashing their balls through suspended hoops. It's basketball time again, folks, and 2K Sports have just released a new trailer for NBA 2K14.
You can find it after the jump, along with our interview with 2K Sports' Chris Snyder from Gamescom.Click here to read more...
After NBA 2K13 led me to fall head over heels in love with the sport of basketball last year, I was intrigued to see what 2K Sports and Visual Concepts are planning for this year's instalment. After getting hands-on with the game -- read our NBA 2K14 preview here -- I had a chat with Chris Snyder, the senior director of marketing at 2K Sports, to get his take on things.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested) | PS4 | Xbox One
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
When you have a sports game franchise so comprehensive in its quality that it beats the competition into hiatus for several consecutive years, how do you go about avoiding complacency? It's a question that NBA 2K13, as good as it was (and it was very good), slightly sidestepped. After all, if it ain't broke...
But NBA 2K14 is looking to deal precisely with that question. At first glance, it's clear that certain things have changed. The production team made a very big deal out of touting their new compression systems, systems that have allowed the developers to add an extra 3,000 animations onto the existing framework in the game. The results are instantly recognisable. There's a smooth fluidity to the on court action that makes player movements seem more natural and versatile than ever before. Those in-between animations mean that the player has more direct control -- instead of having to wait half a second for an animation to finish, intervention to react to the opposition is a very real prospect. Games can be won and lost in single moments, heightening the dramatic ebb and flow of a match, and making every single player decision a vital consideration.
The full mapping of all ball controls to the right stick takes advantage of the extra animations, making it easier to move from one action to the next, triggering fakes, dummies, and skill moves more naturally. The balletic build up to a shot or layup by someone like Wade, Parker, Kobe, or Wall, for example, can be more readily manipulated. The right stick feels like an extension of their hands, the controls intuitive, with spins and crossovers simple to pull off. But there's a need for precision too; wild use of the stick will surely lead to fumbles and turnovers when facing a defence of any real skill. The right stick makes sense when playing big too, making dummy movements and eventual fadeaways and hook shots easy to perform.Click here to read more...
I'm really not sure how it's taken this long to get the world's best basketball player onto the cover of the world's best basketball game series, but the time has come. King James will grace the front cover of NBA 2K14.Click here to read more...
We all have comfort games, right? These are the titles that prove to be a staple in the disc drive month after month, sometimes year after year. I have lots of games, hundreds even, it comes with the territory. And these games range from little indie curios on Steam and XBLA to 100-hour RPGs that I can sink into for weeks and lose myself utterly. Shooters, racers, fighting games, score attack hack'n'slash titles, platformers, puzzlers, and pretty much every Guitar Hero title out there. I have a decade of FIFA and PES filling up pages on my bulging disc case.
And I say this not to brag, for I've finished precious few out of those that I've not reviewed in the past few years, but rather to illuminate the scale of choice when it comes to picking out a game for those hours when relaxation and down-time are all I want to think about. We're talking about in between the highlights of the release schedule, the game that I always come back to, whatever my mood, whatever the time of day.
In the past such a role has been filled by the likes of Halo and Battlefield (Vietnam) and Forza and FIFA and PES (depends who's better that year) and City of Heroes and Perfect Dark and The Elder Scrolls and I could go on.
Then, this year, I started playing NBA 2K13. And it changed my life.Click here to read more...
If it's been a while since you played a basketball game, this is a great time to come back as 2K's series has been going from strength to strength over recent years. So much so that EA keep cancelling their own NBA titles. The Wii U version is selling for a fiver cheaper than the other consoles and Zavvi are selling it for more than half as much as their competitors. Now that's a steal.
Thanks to urbansaint1609 at HotUkDeals.
While not a huge departure from the previous game, NBA 2K13 is an excellent place to start for anyone looking for a change from footy games. A decent career mode is well matched with the fantastic on-court gameplay and even the commentary does a great job. Zavvi are beating the competition by about £5 at the moment, making this particularly tempting. You won't find a better basketball game out there, mainly because EA keep cancelling theirs at the last minute.
Thanks to Gregsizzle at HotUkDeals.
Developers: Visual Concepts
Publishers: 2K Sports
The NBA 2K series has been so good over the last few years, that they've actually managed to dismantle their opposition. 2K Sports' franchise has been so utterly capable that EA Sports have refused to muster the anything more than the faintest of whiffs of competition. NBA Elite disappeared into the ether, presumably because it would have cost too much, the risk would have been too great, to even consider taking on possibly the most comprehensive sports series in gaming. NBA Live '13's return was pulled due to "disappointing" development.
But a lack of competition can breed a bit of complacency, and while this might well be the best basketball game around - possibly even the best sports game, full stop - it rests heavily on the laurels earned with past glories.
There are some changes, though. Basketball is a deceptively technical game, particularly if you want to provide a true simulation of the game. 2K Sports' efforts in the past have usually come with a PES-like bible of button combinations to etch into your memory. This time around, however, Visual Concepts have taken a leaf out of EA's book and mapped a host of dribbling and playmaking functions to the right stick. Deft sweeps and nudges of the right stick, particularly when used in conjunction with motion instructions of the left stick will paint a tapestry of spins, fakes, crossovers, and fadeaways.Click here to read more...