Like a lot of stateside-centric sporting titles out there, basketball can be a tough sell to European audiences who'd rather pick up a pad and kick a digital pig's bladder in the likes of FIFA or PES, but if you're an avid b-ball fan, then NBA 2K14 is probably the most refined entry in the series to date.
However - and it's a big however - if you're not a fan of hardwood superstar LeBron James then there might not be much here for you sink your teeth into. Developer Visual Concepts has thrust James front and centre for this latest instalment, slipping you in the rather expensive sneakers of The King as you try to trump the career of many an NBA god in the game's Path To Greatness mode. Here you have options on the road to success: stick it out in Miami or traverse the more interesting route wherein LeBron hits the courts of New York before eventually returning home to Cleveland for the championship.
These particular career spanning scenarios are conjured with aplomb, weaving in storylines and contextual commentary as you battle through the ranks of sporting superstar, but like we said, if LeBron isn't for you, then it's quite possible the package will miss its mark, because outside of this and some excellent on-court tweaks such as the re-jigged right analogue stuck, which now handles dribbling and shooting, there isn't much else on offer. Sure, My Team is back, alongside Association Mode and My Career, but they've been largely left untouched in a bid to keep the spotlight on the troubled sports star.
While NBA 2K 14 may sound it a missed opportunity the game still pops with personality, enough of which is present and accounted for to recommend a purchase to the diehards and a rental to the somewhat curious.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson