For the past few years, NBA Live disappeared while NBA 2K ruled the basketball video game world. But this year’s NBA Live made a comeback with NBA Live 14. However the question remains: Was it the comeback gamers hoped for and expected? Can Live actually rival the gaming juggernaut that is NBA 2K14? Here we take a look at which game comes out on top when compared side by side.
Right away, you can see the biggest difference between the two games: the graphics. NBA 2K went to great lengths to capture the movement of nearly every NBA player with profound accuracy. It offers an unprecedented amount of authenticity that will eclipse any basketball video game that preceded it.
EA, Live’s production company, claims they spent only a small portion of the amount of time on motion captures that 2K did. The graphics certainly live up to standards, but they do not compare to the realism of 2K.
Each game has partnered up with a different statistics company to get quick updates on the stats of every player in the league. NBA Live dishes out the new statistics on players one hour after the last game they’ve played in real life has finished. NBA 2K gets the information in real-time. That’s about the only real difference in date between these two games, so 2K gets the win for its speed.
One complaint during the past few years about NBA 2K has been that too many events happen that aren’t going to happen in the physical world (like Vince Carter leaping from the foul line over 3 players for a dunk), and that’s where NBA Live puts its focus. Players have realistic momentum, so they can’t go from sprinting one direction to immediately leaping in the opposite direction. Although critics note that many players nonetheless can execute an unrealistic amount of dribble moves.
NBA 2K has much of the same physics, but the creative dribbling controls make the game more realistic in terms of feel. The right analog stick, which seems to change purpose in every game, now serves as a dribble move and shot stick depending on how much you push it. A slight jab makes a dribble move, while a full push begins a shot. Both games offer interesting physics, so your choice may come down to a matter of personal preference which game serves you better in this aspect.
GM (General Manager) Mode
Both games add the new addition of a game mode where you act as the general manager of a team. It’s similar to the Association mode in earlier 2K games, but with a bit more options and more consequences. Do well and you’ll get rewarded, but do poorly and you could be fired. It’s hard to find much difference between the two games in this area, however.
NBA Live has Sports Hoopsnet as its online network. It has the regular head-to-head option, but with unusual features. You can play in season or tournament mode with ladder rankings. EA has attempted to have Sports Hoopsnet act as an all-in-one online option. One particularly cool part of Live’s new online network includes Ultimate Team mode, in which you can unlock special cards that let you pick any players you want to build the “Ultimate” team. So yes, you can have Lebron, KD, Chris Paul, Kevin Love and Dwight Howard as your starting line-up.
NBA 2K, on the other hand, offers separate head-to-head and tournament modes, and a My Team mode. The online gameplay, though, arguably surpasses that of NBA Live. Even Live’s executive producer Sean O’Brien apologized for the lack of quality on the gameplay.
Whatever you choose, just make sure you have a decent connection, since both games have experienced connectivity issues. Make sure you have a fast internet speed, such as that from http://www.verizoninternet.com, to prevent any connectivity issues on your end.
Live’s version of career mode got the title Rising Star. Just like 2K’s My Career mode, it starts on the path to the NBA Draft. Rising Star offers a much easier career mode option than 2K’s, but also a much more linear one, with less flexibility and control to your career. With 2K, you have more flexibility and realism, but with a price. The first season alone takes about 40 hours of gameplay to get through, since you can’t skip any games. As long as you don’t mind playing endless games, 2K wins the battle here.
So what can we say? It looks like NBA 2K14 clearly takes the cake.