NBA Live 14 Review
Revival of EA's NBA series
The NBA Live series has had quite the tumultuous path over the last multiple years. After years of existence, the NBA Live series just seemed to disappear back in 2010 with the delay and eventual cancellation of NBA Elite 11, only a few weeks before the scheduled release. NBA Elite was supposed to be the next evolution of EA Sports’ NBA Live series to compete with 2K Sports’ NBA titles. However, since that cancellation, the series has been pretty much dead in the water outside of a mobile release, with another cancellation occuring in 2012 for NBA Live 13. That all changed with the announcement that the NBA Live franchise was being revived with NBA Live 14 on both of the next generation consoles at the Xbox One announcement event.
When you first turn on NBA Live 14, one of the first things you will notice is what appears to be a trend with EA Sports games lately, a constantly changing home screen. Like Madden NFL 25, the home screen showcases your most recent game modes played, as well as other popular game modes on that particular day, especially with the inclusion of Live Season. Scrolling over to the Play menu will let you choose from six different options, which each provide a different experience, so you can stay quite busy with this title.
Of course there is Tip Off, the game’s version of offline head to head for when you want to play against the computer or your friends locally. Similarly, there is also Online Head to Head for when you feel the need to play against some real competition online. From my experience playing online, the servers were very smooth and I found myself with no lag whatsoever. However, the biggest issue with online is the actually finding an opponent. There is always the Quick Match option, but I often had trouble getting matched up with anyone. There is the option of looking in the lobbies, but in all my time playing the game, I’ve yet to see a single person in any of the various lobbies.
While there haven’t been a lot of players online, there are a couple pretty neat options to choose from besides the basics. There is Best-of-Seven mode where you and a friend can compete to see who can win the most out of seven matchups. There is also Head to Head Seasons where you can level up by playing online against others, and can eventually level up to higher leagues based on how you do through every 10 games.
NBA Live’s Rising Star mode allows you to create a player and take them through their career, including playing in a high school all-star game and getting drafted by a team. Rising Star had a ton of potential, but sadly it was mostly squandered. Starting at the very beginning, NBA Live 14 has one of the worst character creation modes I’ve seen in modern sports game. Character creation in a sports game, especially an NBA game where there are not a lot of players, should be very detailed. However, making your character is a total joke as you have 20 head designs to choose from, and that is it. This was such an utter disappointment, especially considering EA Sports has utilized Game Face so well in games like Madden and FIFA.
After creating your character in Rising Star mode, you get to watch your character grow with a decent character progression system. You will earn RSP, the games equivalent of EXP, which you can use to upgrade a variety of different stats. However, the problem is that your character is very low leveled and is instantly made a starter. Games like NCAA Football have you start on the bench and gradually move to a starter as you level up, but it is hard to compete at times at such a low level, especially if you are on a lesser team that doesn’t help you at all.