Top Critic Average
NBA Live '14's dribbling mechanics (bounceTek) is done well, but the rest of the game needs some work. Bad A.I., dragging controls and subpar next generation looks really don't do much for a series trying to make a comeback.
The problem is justifying an NBA Live 14 purchase when NBA 2K14 is on store shelves. As a newbie, I had fun with NBA 2k14, but I didn't have nearly as much fun with NBA Live 14. I felt like it assumed I knew more about basketball and basketball video games than I actually did. It just dropped me into the deep end and asked me to figure it all out, and all I could really do was button mash and hope for the best. It's a good foundation for a franchise that could prosper in the future--after all, I've been saying that sports games should use live updating stats via the Internet for years now--but at this very moment, it just pales in comparison to its competition.
It's good that NBA Live exists--competition is desperately needed in sports games--but NBA Live 14 needs some serious work to gain equality with its NBA 2K rival. Hopefully EA Sports will back up its talk by supporting the game in the near and long term.
It gets some parts (such as Big Moments) right while other parts don't appear to be fully baked. I can't help but wonder if it would have been better for the series to have skipped the launch season in favour of a a game truly worth of the next-gen tag next year.
While I haven't had the chance to play the final release for NBA 2K14 on the PS4, I did review NBA 2K13 for the PS3 and would strongly suggest, if you are in the market for a great NBA game and haven't bought a PS4 yet, forgo NBA Live 14 and just pick up NBA 2k13 used somewhere. NBA 2K14 released for the PS3 already, and our staff review lets you know it's really just a season refresher without much for new bells and whistles. Stay tuned for our PS4 NBA 2K14 review as that version should feed your need for a slam dunk for the next gen.
[I]t's difficult to recommend now, and, given the wait between releases in the Live franchise, you're left knowing that NBA Live 14 should stay on the bench. Sorry kid – maybe next year.
NBA Live 14 isn't awful. Faint praise, to be sure, but with the way the internet has erupted the past few weeks, one would think that this is the Fighter Within of sports games.
Based on user and critic reception so far, I highly doubt that we will see NBA Live return next year unless EA Tiburon is truly committed to merely compete with their rivals at 2K Sports. If they can't, I think it's more profitable for them to revive one of their more critically acclaimed franchises like NBA Street and NBA Ballers.
If anything, NBA Live 14 helps prove that the NBA 2K series will be the reigning king of video game basketball simulations for years to come. Some decent game mechanics are ruined by very poor AI that has little to no idea of what to do most of the time. The audio is poorly put together, and the visuals are decent for the middle of the current generation, not at the beginning of a new one. The ESPN license feels largely wasted in the bare-bones presentation. A few modes are too tedious to be fun. There are some good ideas and modes here, but with so many issues plaguing it and few players online in the first few weeks, the whole effort seems pointless. With any luck, the plan for EA is to learn from this and deliver a worthy product next year. Unless you need every game on your chosen platform, just pick up NBA 2K14 for your hoops fix this year, and don't look back.
That's about all we've got, though. NBA Live is a colossal disappointment in more ways then one; the technical aspects are well below average, the physics and animations are some of the worst we've seen this year, the AI is mentally deficient, and worst of all, nothing about this feels real. There are a few positives to which to cling, if you're a die-hard basketball fanatic.
The visuals are a mess and the atmosphere is flat and generates no excitement. The game modes are generally the standard affair but the gameplay makes them un-enjoyable. Perhaps the only remotely redeeming feature of the game is the net, but let's face it: you don't buy a basketball game because of the net physics, do you? NBA Live 14 is a bad game that is not worthy of your time and money – if you really want a basketball game on the Xbox One or PS4, there is a much, much better alternative.
NBA Live 14 is a hot mess. There is simply no other way to describe it. I wanted to derive some enjoyment from the game, hell I was a fan of NBA Inside Drive back in the days of the original Xbox, but this is simply broken on so many levels.
At some point EA Sports had to release a basketball game. That is exactly what they did. It's not the best, and it can barely be considered good. In fact, it's not good. NBA Live 14 producer Sean O'Brien posted an apology of sorts only four days after the games release where he promises a lot of changes to this year's game, from animation and graphic upgrades to helping players more easily understand the gameplay controls. In a world where NBA 2K14 exists, this game cannot be recommended until these promises are followed up on.
NBA Live 14 doesn't drop the ball entirely, as the aforementioned arcade mechanics can make for some tolerable head-to-head matches in multiplayer, where the artificial intelligence is less of an issue. However, unavoidable comparisons to the infinitely superior NBA 2K14 make this look like a bit of a mess. The gameplay's poor, the modes are predictable and shallow, and it's aesthetically extremely underwhelming. Don't even consider giving this a shot unless you find it very, very cheap.
NBA Live 14 muscles its way to the top of the list as the worst next-gen launch title. The competition has nothing on its significantly subpar visuals, paltry commentary and incredibly stiff gameplay.