NBA Live 14
Top Critic Average
NBA Live 14 delivers an unambitious, sporadically exciting basketball simulation held back by its slavish adherence to replicating the televised game.
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 2014 marks EA's return to the basketball sim, but there's little reason to play it when NBA 2K14 exists.
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.
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 pretty lousy basketball game.
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.
If you want a next-gen basketball game, buy NBA 2K14 instead.
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.
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.