It’s been a long-time coming, but the wait for NBA LIVE is nearly over! Now, before you hit the hardwood, we’ve got all the details on how to play the game, all the different modes and features and more. Read on for your full guide to all things NBA LIVE 14.
First thing’s first, you need to know how to play the game. These controls should give you a basic understanding of offense and defense, but what if you want to take it a bit deeper? We got you covered! Here’s a more in-depth look at post play, the pick and roll and more.
Sitting at the core of NBA LIVE 14 is bounceTek, a revolutionary new physics-based dribbling system that allows for complete, organic control and authentic responsiveness. In previous basketball games the ball has been essentially attached to a player’s hand at all times, but with bounceTek the ball can be released to physics on every dribble. The old dribble systems led to impossible moves with the ball warping or not actually bouncing on the court.
The Rhythm of the Dribble
There are three levels of dribble moves that can be pulled off by players in NBA LIVE 14, all of which can be chained together in order to create space or cross-up defenders.
1. Level one moves are performed by flicking or holding the right thumbstick in various directions, which results in an appropriate action to that side such as a crossover, hesitation or behind the back.
2. Level two moves build off these simple actions and add a bit of momentum and movement in order to lure a defender off his spot.
3. Level three Signature moves are the biggest, most ankle-breaking maneuvers, the ones that leave opponents in the lurch, wondering what just happened. More than 50 players in NBA LIVE 14 have six different signature moves that all vary in timing and length, so getting a feel for each player’s moves is a key component of a successful offense, as well as the ability to break out the signature moves once the ball is in hand.
The key to all three levels is that players are able to chain dribble moves together in order to effectively shake defenders. However, chaining takes proper timing, as you want to initiate the next move in the sequence just as your player is finishing his previous one. Jumping from one move to the next too quickly or too slowly is ineffective and unlikely to fool the defense; however, masterfully chaining moves with proper timing will create the openings needed to make a move for the basket or pull up for an uncontested jumper.
Timing and Player Differentiation
Players in NBA LIVE 14 carry the same dribbling moves and styles as their real-world counterparts, so timing will vary from player to player. Some guards, such as cover athlete Kyrie Irving, have quick, aggressive moves that only the fastest defenders can match. Other players like Steve Nash rely on a more controlled, flowing style that may cause an opposing player to relax just long enough for Nash to make a move and get past the opponent before he can recover. Learning how to replicate the dribble rhythms and timing of your favorite NBA players will be what sets the best NBA LIVE 14 players apart from the crowd.
In the Post
The big men patrolling the paint have their own arsenal of moves on both sides of the ball, and you’ll want to utilize your full repertoire in order to maximize your success. On offense your bigs can take it to the defense with backdowns, power backdowns, up and unders, drop steps, pro hops, spins and leans.
It’s also critical to know your personnel and understand what they’re best at in the paint. While Kobe Bryant isn’t afraid to bang bodies on the low block, you’ll find more success getting a defender off-balance then knocking down a fadeaway shot. Conversely, Dwight Howard is pure power in the paint, and it’s best to get him close to the basket to go for the drive, dunk or hook. Post play is much deeper than simply backing a defender down and then spinning in for the basket.
On the defensive side of the ball you’re given a full suite of moves to counter the offense. Defenders can push back when an offensive player is trying to back them down, and slide from side-to-side to block moves. Furthermore, if an offensive player is using his lower body to lean into you and try and gain leverage, you can “pull the chair,” causing the offensive player to lose his balance and, most likely, the ball. Sometimes you’ll also feel rumbles on one side of the controller or the other, which serve as a “tell” to let you know which way the offensive player is likely to go. Higher-rated defenders will cause the controller to rumble more forcefully, giving you a clear indication of what the offensive player is likely to do. Use this extra edge to plan your countermoves and effectively shut down the opposition.
- R3 = Enter Backdown/Face-Up (when in Backdown)
- RT/R2 = Hard Bump
- RT/R2 + Left Stick = Hard Backdown
Additional Controls in Backdown
- X/Square = Hook Shot
- Left Stick Left or Right + X/Square = Fadeaway
- Left Stick Right + Y/Triangle = Drop Step
- Left Stick Left + Y/Triangle = Pro Hop
Pick and Roll
The pick and roll (and its many variants) is one of the hardest plays to defend in basketball, which also makes it one of the most popular. In NBA LIVE 14, you can call this powerful play with the press of a button.How long you hold it will determine what your screener will do next. Pressing LT/L2 on offense calls for a pick, and releasing the trigger before the screener is set causes him to show screen but slip out. Holding the button until you take the screen and then releasing it results in a standard pick and roll, while continuing to hold the button calls up a pick and pop.
When calling for a pick, the game chooses a teammate by default to set the screen based on your position on the court, but you can also call on specific players to set screens. So for instance, when playing as the Mavericks, it’s possible to summon Dirk Nowitzki for a pick and pop even if he’s on the other side of the floor.
With so many dribble packages and signature moves, it’s easy to assume the offense will be unstoppable. This isn’t the case though, as the defense is more than capable of keeping up with ball-handlers. Defenders take realistic cutoff angles to deny offensive players a lane to the basket, and realistic physics and foot-planting mean that defenders must be aware of angles and depth since they can’t cut on a dime.
AI defenders will play the ball-carrier differently depending on his talents. For instance, most defenders don’t respect Rajon Rondo’s jumper, so they’re likely to play loose defense in order to deny him the opportunity to get to the basket. Conversely, they’ll stay tight on Steph Curry for fear of giving him room to hoist up a three, so he’ll almost always need to create space off the dribble in order to get an open look.
User-controlled defenders will have to know when to play tight and when to back off, but there are plenty of tools to help you harass the offense. Sliding to one side or another, contesting a shot or taking a charge are all mapped to the right thumbstick, and a simple flick executes each command. You can also hold the LT/L2 button to slow down your movements in order to take better angles and stay in front of the ball.
Coach Styles and Playcalling
NBA LIVE 14 introduces authentic offensive and defensive playbooks for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, while also making it easy for players to call plays with a few simple taps of the d-pad. Every coach’s offensive and defensive scheme is available, and the playing style of each team is a direct reflection of their coach. For instance, when playing against the Tom Thibodeau-led Bulls you’ll notice they try and force every pick and roll to the baseline. If Thibodeau packs up and moves to another team, he’ll take his playbook with him, and the Bulls will change their style to fit into the scheme of their new coach.
This doesn’t mean that users are locked into playing a certain way, as you are free to change coach styles and alter your gameplan. Everything from ball pressure to how double-teams are triggered can all be changed to fit your favored playing style. Sometimes even the best plan falls apart though, so NBA LIVE 14 also allows for in-game alterations to be made against individual players, providing a previously unseen level of strategic depth.
While on offense, tapping the d-pad allows you to easily call a post play, cut, Iso or Screen, all centered around the ball-handler. If you’d like to create off-ball then you need simply double-tap the pad and press the button of the corresponding player who you wish to activate. Those looking for full control can hold down LB/L1 and then use the d-pad to call a play unique to each team. This deepest level provide five screen plays, five Iso plays and five post plays to choose from.
On the other side of the ball a quick tap of the pad calls a 2-3 zone, a 3-2 zone, press or man-to-man defense. Double tapping results in calling the coach’s default defensive scheme, pack the paint, pressure the shooter or focus on and double-team the opposing squad’s best player.
Additional Offensive Moves and Controls
Gathers (Y/Triangle button)
- Tap = Pro Hop
- Tap + hold back on control stick = Step Back
- Double-tap + flick control stick = Euro Step
- Double-tap + spin control stick = Spin Gather
Passing (A/X Button)
- Tap = Regular Pass
- Double-tap = Bounce Pass
- Hold button = Power Pass (Hold longer to pass to more distant teammate)
- LB + Tap = Alley-Oop
- Tap B/Circle = Lob pass
Shots, Layups & Dunks (X/Square)
- Release shoot button at apex of shot for best results (More than 300 signature shots)
- Hold shoot (when driving) = Layup
- RT/R2 + shoot (when driving) = Dunk
- LB/L1 + shoot (when moving) = Floater
NBA LIVE 14 will be available worldwide on November 22nd for Xbox One, and November 29th for PS4.