Early Impressions of Next-Gen NBA 2K14, Madden NFL 25, and FIFA 14

Posted November 19th, 2013 at 5:15 pm


While more detailed write-ups will be done in the near future here are brief initial assessments of the three launch day sports games on the PS4 that will also be out for Xbox One this week.┬áRare is the occasion where several sports games are released on the same day so time with them has been split evenly thus far. It’ll take longer to craft a more complete review for each which they deserve to have.

NBA 2K14
In terms of being a true next-gen experience NBA 2K14 is flat out phenomenal. The graphics, presentation, and gameplay all reach exceptional levels. The rebooted modes are absolutely refreshing – even if MyGM means a loss of some features and MyCareer is a little silly. The fun I’ve had playing MyCareer while streaming it through the console has gone well beyond any expectations going in. This is the game to get…whether a fan of the NBA or not.

That statement of course is completely dependent on being able to reach the various modes. Server-related issues have caused trouble for many and prevented a significant number of consumers from accessing advertised features. Unreliable online has always been an issue for the series but this goes well beyond that to misrepresenting the product. Chalk it up to making VC an integral part of the series from top to bottom as it has now infected just about every aspect of the game. Many features including online are buried in the horrifically designed menus, online leagues are missing so many options it’s not really viable, and The Park rarely if ever works.

Madden NFL 25
Had this Madden been released in late August many may have been satisfied with it. The problem comes in having played a disappointing 360/PS3 game and then moving up to one here that isn’t dramatically different. The run game is more realistic, the pocket and pass rush look great operate much better, receivers actually try to get two feet in on the sidelines, and the smarter defense makes things much more challenging. The new hardware also means simming through weeks in Franchise is instantaneous. Madden has played spectacularly well online – both in terms of online performance and the general gameplay balance.

Presentation and “Living Worlds” remains a huge disappointment and the graphics don’t near the wow factor of the other sports titles. Some bizarre issues include CPU controlled players hurdling for no reason and defensive backs who suddenly stop in their tracks for a fraction of a second allowing a receiver to separate. There still isn’t a true battle in the air on jump balls and automatic challenges on turnovers and close touchdowns remain notably absent.

On the surface next-gen FIFA 14 doesn’t look a whole lot different from the 360/PS3 version. Yeah, there is the crowd which has far more impact than previously, but otherwise it might seem like a port with better graphics. It’s far from that though. The improvements made have significant influence on how well the game plays and how enjoyable it is.

There are two things that stood out prominently for me based on past frustrations with the series. AI controlled players are much more aggressive in going after the ball rather than how they would often just stand there and let an opponent intercept a pass or reach a ball in space first. The other is the ability to better hold on to possession. Instead of having a defender all over the ball-handler constantly, those defenders can be better maneuvered around and the opponent made to pay for being out of position or taking too many risks.

  • Good to know. Looking forward to trying 2k14 on PS4

    • turkey86

      I picked up it as my “free game” for the B2G1 free on Amazon thinking I would just resell it later, and I’ve spend most of my time playing that. Not really an NBA fan, but I’ve got to agree with Pasta, the game is just amazing.

  • Nick Smith

    I tried so hard to like NBA Live this time through but you are absolutely spot on here with all 3 games good write up!

    • Jason Lewon

      I want to try bot i’m leaning toward live but if 2k gets the servers fixed then i’ll get that but i’m going o try both demos for ps4

  • Bowinkle82

    early impressions of live?

  • JoeYardie

    Fifa the same game since fifa 12

    • B_Strings

      Nonsense! FIFA makes significant changes to the gameplay mechanics every year usually emphasizing somethings like possession, flow, contact, and control in very specific areas. The next gen versions in particular really clear up some legacy limitations like contesting for headers with multiple people (only two entities could participate up until now).

      However, if you don’t play the game on a yearly basis there’s no way to really know or care. That’s kind of the deal with all sports games so i’m not sure why people make these comments anymore. It’s not 1998.

    • BustyBuffet

      If you played a week of FIFA 14 on PS4 and then went back and played FIFA 12 on PS3, you’d notice huge differences.

  • Rob

    Pasta, I heard you cant do drafts in “Online League.” Is it true?

    • Agent916

      True. The online mode is for all intensive purposes broken. You are limited to ONLY playing an online LG with friends, literally. There are NO CPU games. Meaning if you only have two friends, the 3 of you will battle head-to-head for however many games you select in the beginning you wish to play.

      It’s the worst mode I’ve ever seen. I wish they would have omitted it altogether.

      • Rob

        I’m not surprised. 2K has shown that Myplayer is 100% priority over Online Leagues the past couple years. Thanks.

  • BANE

    I snagged NBA 2K14 for Xbo One today. Really looking forward to playing that Friday. Easily my most anticipated next gen launch title.

  • gotham7

    Even though NBA 2k14 is a great game they took things out from the 360 version that makes it harder to navigate rosters, menus, and also when you’re trying to create a strategy you can’t pick specific strategies on how to guard specific players which is frustrating. Did I mention the menus are horrible, and the ratings are just awful, they really don’t even bother updating player ratings anymore do they?

  • Jay (The Truth)

    Nice Job. Astute observations/impressions of all three games.

  • Agent916

    Despite some issues like terrible menus, no online leagues (far as I’m concerned), and no ability to make real in-game adjustments (annoying), this is the best basketball game I’ve ever played in my life.

    Every time I’ve turned the game on I’ve simply been amazed at what I see. It’s that good. I’m not sure that it’s not the best sports video game of all-time. Not sure how anyone could leave it out of the discussion, even at this point. It’s that good.

    • Greg

      I agree with you wholeheartedly, NBA 2K14 for the PS4 has to be in the discussion for the greatest sports game of all time. The game is simply AMAZING! Right now, I would give it the nod, at least until I see MLB The Show 14 on next gen. The Show is gonna have to come hard to top NBA 2K14.

  • Chad Norys

    Yea very impressed with both FIFA and NBA 2K.

    NBA 2K simply makes you feel good about buying a PS4. A little disappointing that there is no association mode, because MyGM is just too overwhelming and takes too long. Overall though it is a must buy at this time.

    Can’t wait for The Show, going to be the best sports game ever made to date!

  • RIck

    Loving 2k.. i cant put this game down for the life of me.. and i suck at it.. I’m 2-10 with the Lakers..lol.. aside from the control changes from last year this game is a slam dunk.. I’ll say this much .. its plays very true to life.. case in pint is my record in MYGm mode.. when i played with the heat i was 8 – 2 w/ the Lakers i’m 2-10, this shows that if you have a weak team you wont be bale to win much.. just like the real NBA..

  • Ryan Perry

    I hate that all save files for 2k14 myGM and other modes run through the 2k servers and not just off the system’s hard drive. I’m being forced to download a system update that’s estimated to take 4+ hours and since I can’t sign in to PSN/2k servers until that download is finished, I have no access to any of my save files and my PS4 is basically useless all night until this update finally finishes…. hopefully by the time I wake up tomorrow.

  • deepen915

    the fact that we are in next gen and Madden still doesn’t have gang tackles is horrible! The game looks like a sugarcoated last-gen game..

  • Dre

    2k14 will hold the crown for best sports game of next-gen for a while, the only game i see knocking it off is MLB The Show, but for now, 2k is hands down the best sports game right now.

  • ipaxton

    Honestly I was really looking forward to nba 2k14 but it absolutely pissed me off. I don’t care for MyPlayer that much I prefer to create a player and stick him on a team. Nope can’t do that anymore, no association mode anymore and they took out create a player and team. Instead we’re stuck with mygm where at the start you’re very limited as what you can do. Just changing the lineup requires you to purchase the option for 250 vc. Same with firing coaches. As the op said vc is all over the place. Even if you wanted to play as Jordan in blacktop you have to buy him with vc, it’s freaking ridiculous. Also there’s no playoff mode either, MyPlayer options are very limited (including lame story line). Oh yes the biggest grip I have is “the park” more like the place to park and watch because you won’t get into a game if you’re lucky. If you do you crash out half the time. So if you are on the fence about this game well all I got to say is save your money or buy it for ps3 or 360.