Hands-on with NBA 2K14 on PS4

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The dedicated team behind the next-gen edition of NBA 2K14 has an eye for detail. And not just a normal, everyday eye; they have hundreds of eyes, hell-bent on making this the best basketball experience in video game history.

Their passion just about bled onto the floor of a crowded San Francisco bar earlier this week as they presented NBA 2K14 running on PS4. It was easy to see, from the first trailer to the final multiplayer tease, that NBA 2K14 is visually arresting, and damn fun to play.

As the footage of NBA 2K14 looped over the massive bar displays, the team were insistent that the PS4 version was not a simple port job. It was built from the ground up for next-gen tech, and they made their point by announcing the brand new engine powering the action: Ecomotion.

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The art assets in NBA 2K14 have been built from scratch — not a single legacy piece of art remains from the current-gen version. As the team said at the demonstration, making this look like a real, next-gen basketball game came down to “thousands of little things, and the interconnectedness of those thousands of little things.” Zoom in close enough to a phone sitting on the media desk of the arena, and you can see an oily thumbprint on its display. That’s how meticulous these graphics go.

Of course, even a great-looking game is only average without great play — as the team itself reiterated throughout the afternoon. Tremendous manpower and resources went into refining the raw play of NBA 2K14, with special focus on the physics of player and ball movement.Players plant their feet and shuffle across the court like their real-world counterparts. And the ball itself spins off player’s fingers with startling accuracy.

This translates directly into controlling these next-gen basketball stars, as playing NBA 2K14 feels both immediate and natural. As players fly down the court, flicking the right stick will cause them to dribble in different directions, opening up huge strategic value in how they maneuver through and around the opposing team. With more accurate physics and player-to-player interaction, the tactics of basketball really shine through.

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To enhance the human element of the game, the devs have employed their new Emotion+ system, which classifies the players into different personality groups. Now during play, some explode when in the spotlight, while others crack under the pressure. Teams can come together at the last minute to pull through, even when the odds (and the raw statistics behind them) are stacked against them.

Even as a gamer with virtually zero knowledge of basketball, NBA 2K14 is a complete blast. I can only imagine what devoted basketball fans will feel when they get their hands on a DualShock 4, and experience one of the most detailed sports games coming to next-gen.

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