Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
As many of you may already be aware, I’m Australian and do currently reside in the Land Down Under. There’s a lot of things I love about my country, but the later release dates for DVDs, video games and consoles isn’t one of them. I’m getting a PlayStation 4 on launch day along with NBA Live 14 and NBA 2K14, but for my fellow Aussies and I, launch day is November 29th. If you live in North America and are getting your hands on the PS4 today, the rest of us around the world are certainly envious right about now.
However, my two week wait until the PlayStation 4 and its launch titles arrive in Australia has handed me an obvious topic for this week’s Friday Five: five things I’m doing while waiting for the PS4, at least in terms of my gaming habits. What’s going to fill the void while I wait to indulge in some next generation gaming? Read on to find out.
1. Playing NBA 2K14 on PC
I’ll be posting my in-depth review of NBA 2K14 on PC very soon. I always like to spend a month or so with the game before posting my review, as I pride myself in going into the details that the gaming media often seems to skim over. Similarly, there are often elements of the game – both good and bad – that don’t always present themselves or really make an impact on the experience until you’ve been playing it for a few weeks.
There’s another reason that I’ve been holding back my review this year and that’s the fact that I haven’t actually been playing that much of NBA 2K14 on PC, which probably speaks volumes about my impressions of it so far. To offer a few thoughts ahead of my full review, I don’t think that NBA 2K14 PC is a bad game and there are noticeable improvements, but I also feel that the current gen engine is showing its age, annoyances from NBA 2K13 have returned and I was hoping for some more fixes and enhancements in Association and MyCAREER.
I haven’t been hooked in by the PC version of NBA 2K14 as I was with NBA 2K13 and perhaps that’s for the best, given that I’ll be picking up the game on PlayStation 4 as soon as I’m able. However, I will be playing it more often over the next couple of weeks, not only to put out a comprehensive review but also to give the game a chance and hopefully have some fun with it before the next gen version drops.
2. Finishing up a season in my NBA Live 06 PC Dynasty
Going back to such an old game may seem odd to a lot of you, especially when I’m obviously looking forward to playing the next gen basketball games, but I do have some unfinished business with NBA Live 06. I have a Dynasty game (and thread) that is closing in on a second straight championship with the Chicago Bulls, so a few more games and I can put a bow on it.
There’s another reason I’d like to go back and play a bit of NBA Live. With the series on an extended hiatus these past few years, I’ve naturally been playing a lot more of NBA 2K. Since NBA Live 14’s controls are similar to what we’ve experienced in the series in the past, albeit more layered and with a few new wrinkles, I’d like to get a feel for the NBA Live style again before I get my hands on the new game.
On top of all that, there’s the nostalgic value. While I certainly enjoy playing the latest and greatest games, I’m also a fan of retro gaming and find a lot of fun in pulling out an old favourite. NBA Live 06 on PC remains one of my favourite games in the series and one of my all-time favourite basketball games period, so I plan on bringing some closure to my Dynasty by finishing the season in style, savouring a trip down memory lane while at the same time preparing for the future.
3. Another playthrough of Fallout 3 & Fallout: New Vegas
Aside from NBA Live and NBA 2K, which series has taken up most of my gaming time in the past five years? If you answered “Fallout”, then you’ve been listening to the NLSC Podcast and we love you for it. Incidentally, if you haven’t gotten into the NLSC Podcast yet, I invite you to check it out here. Yes, there are Fallout references in the latest episode.
Somehow I missed getting into the original Fallout games all those years ago, but back in 2008 my cousin got me hooked on Bethesda’s continuation of the series, Fallout 3. I logged a lot of hours with it on Xbox 360, purchased all the downloadable content to expand the game and when I bought a new PC in 2009, I picked up the Game of the Year Edition to play it all over again on a different platform. I had the same enthusiasm for Fallout: New Vegas, first picking it up for PC and once again getting all the DLC as it came out, then picking up the Ultimate Edition for the 360 when it was on sale. Hey, I love playing the game and Gamerscores are serious business.
Needless to say, I’ve had multiple playthroughs of both games, tried out the different story branches and endings, and explored a great deal of the Capital and Mojave Wastelands. However, it seems that I’m always finding out about something new from The Vault, so I find myself going back and trying a slightly different path or checking out something that I’ve previously overlooked. As such, I have no doubt that both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas will be in my gaming rotation over the next couple of weeks. Oh, and if Bethesda would care to announce a Fallout 4 for PC and the next gen consoles sometime soon, I’d be more than OK with that.
4. Playing WWE 2K14 & GTA V on Xbox 360
I won’t be getting rid of my Xbox 360 and collection of games upon making the move to PlayStation 4, but I do anticipate putting it aside while I get into some next gen basketball gaming. Two recent purchases that I expect I’ll be playing in the meantime are WWE 2K14 and Grand Theft Auto V.
For some time now, I’ve been buying the latest WWE game every year, as I do with the NBA titles. This year is the first release under the 2K Sports banner following the closure of THQ and despite the turmoil of its former publisher’s collapse, WWE 2K14 has turned out to be a pretty good game. There are lingering issues from WWE ’13 and the series is in need of a next gen overhaul, but the retro content is a lot of fun, reminding me a lot of the fantastic work that went into NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12. I’ll be finishing up 30 Years of Wrestlemania and unlocking as much as I can before I put it aside for the PS4.
I haven’t progressed too far in GTA V yet, not due to a lack of enjoyment but rather a weird habit I have with the Grand Theft Auto series. I’ll pick up a new GTA game, get through a reasonable amount of the story and then put it aside for a while, especially if I happen to get stuck on a frustrating mission. I didn’t finish GTA III until several years after I picked it up on PlayStation 2, though I did actually finish its prequel, Liberty City Stories, within a few weeks of getting it. I don’t expect I’ll leave GTA V on the shelf for as long as I did GTA III though and even if I don’t finish the single player game within the next couple of weeks, I’m sure that I’ll make some progress in the story. On the other hand, seeing as how GTA Online has frozen on me every time I’ve tried playing it, I might just leave that alone. I know a lot of people have been enjoying it, though.
5. Working on a few projects
In addition to playing a few games, I’ll also be working on some projects related to basketball gaming. Yes, that includes patching and yes, that does mean spending some time doing some roster updates. I can’t set any release dates as yet so please don’t ask me about that or pester me to get them done, but I am indeed looking to make some more updates. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m also going open source with them, so that they can be continued on in my stead when I do decide to step away from those particular projects or if I can’t get a new release out as quickly as I’d like.
I’m also working on a few other projects related to basketball video games and the NLSC that I don’t want to talk about too much at the moment as they’re not quite ready, but I’ll be revealing them in time. The next gen games will ultimately be a part of that as well but for now, I’ll just be working on what I can get my hands on.
It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks waiting to play NBA Live 14 and NBA 2K14 next gen, but JaoSming will be putting out plenty of content in the meantime and I certainly invite everyone to discuss both games in the comments section and the Forum. As for me…well, I’ll just have to be patient and get my gaming fix another way for the next fourteen days.
That’s going to do it for this week. If you’re like me and have to wait a little longer to get your hands on the PlayStation 4, what are you playing in the meantime? If you are picking up the PS4 today, which games are you getting? Let me know in the comments below and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum; just don’t rub it in too much if you’re already enjoying some next gen gaming! Thanks for checking out this week’s column, please join me again next Friday for another Five.