It’s no surprise why the NBA 2K franchise of 2K Sports has a stranglehold on basketball video games. Aside from the realism of the gameplay and the excellent graphics, the series has allowed sports gamers to think out of the box and go beyond what they could usually do when playing a game based o the current NBA season. For instance, previous versions had included game modes where gamers can play out Michael Jordan’s biggest career moments, some of the NBA’s greatest teams dating back to the ‘60s, and most recently, the chance to pick any NBA player in My Player mode and go throughout the course of a season or a career, may it be a big star like LeBron James or any random benchwarmer.
Speaking of James, he is, as most know by now, the cover athlete of NBA 2K14, and with that established, a lot of the game’s features will be focused on the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player. One of these features, according to 2K Sports, is LeBron: Path to Greatness, where users can take control of James and guide his career up to the time he retires. As players go along, James will improve in some areas and deteriorate in others, especially as he ages, but the really interesting elements of this feature are the two choices gamers have for LeBron’s career path. The first would be the conventional one – James remains with the Miami Heat as he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh push forward in hopes of being mentioned in the same breath as the 1960s Boston Celtics or the 1990s Chicago Bulls. The second would have James joining the New York Knicks in 2014 as a free agent, and trying his best to bring a title back to the Big Apple with other big-name free agents.
In an exclusive hands-on test, Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Freeman was able to test the game for himself, and as it turns out, LeBron: Path to Greatness is quite similar to previous legends modes, where players only take control of their team during certain points of the game, or on certain games. It also shares some affinity with the usual NBA 2K franchise mode, which involves gamers picking their favorite team and playing through multiple future seasons. Said Freeman in reference to the general feel of the Path to Greatness feature, “The gamer only has so much control and must play to a script, taking specific scenarios and getting rated on a five-star system based on their performance.”
Freeman also observed that the conventional Heat Dynasty option is actually one that offers more chances to see a “bizarre” future for the NBA, despite being predictable at the start. Some of the situations he encountered included Deron Williams and Chris Bosh, currently with the Brooklyn Nets and Heat respectively in real life, playing for the Dallas Mavericks as they step up as LeBron and the Heat’s latest rivals. But there may also be a chance of controversy for the second career path. Said Freeman, “2K Sports representatives repeatedly ensured me that James only signed off on the concept for this feature, with 2K Sports coming up with every scenario from their own imaginations.”
NBA 2K14 is due for release on October 1 in North America for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC (Windows) platforms. PS4 and Xbox One versions will be out as launch day titles for the respective next-gen consoles on November 15 and 22.