NBA LIVE 10
Slowly but getting there...
Posted 3 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
NBA Live 09 came as a disappointment for me. It was hard to accept seeing the game going backwards instead of taking steps forward. I for one know that basketball games are one of the toughest sports games to develop because of the complexity of the sport. But that doesn’t excuse it. One year later, NBA Live 10 arrives and while it still has a few annoyances, I’m pleased to see that EA Canada seems to have finally taken a serious step into the realm of a more realistic experience.
For the first time since its arrival on next generation consoles, the NBA Live franchise brings cohesiveness to the overall gameplay mechanics by finally putting more attention to the defensive side of the game, which has always been the weakest point in the series. The fact that NBA LIVE 10 doesn’t pack a lot of new features has certainly forced the development team to find what was really going on instead of hiding everything with an array of new and unnecessary additions. Instead, most of the gameplay mechanics from last year are back but they got tweaked.
One of my main concerns with LIVE 09 was the Quick strike ball handling control; it seemed to work almost every time, no matter who the player was and when or where it was done on the floor, especifically on the offensive zone. This year, the A.I is much more smarter as is able to recognize who are the good ball handlers and which players are more likely to crack the defense with ease. If you managed to score after doing a triple threat move followed by a baseline drive, chances that the same move against the same A.I defender will succeed are slim. I mean, it remains feasible but you will have to work harder in order to make it work on a regular basis.
So what do yo do when you can’t drive the lane? Pass the ball. Again, that was almost too easy to do last year. You could pass the ball from one side of the offensive zone to the other with no chances of having your ball progression stopped. This year, A.I players defending the passing corridor have become more aware of their surroundings, forcing you to think twice before executing a rotation pass from one corner to the other.
A.I defenders may have gotten smarter but your teammates have as well, which means that no matter the strategy you use, it will have interesting results. With the Dynamic Quick Play button, the closest player to you will execute a cut to the basket so he can position himself for the easy pass and score. You can still call your player for a pass using the direct-pass receiver control but in a situation where you need to score quickly, the Dynamic Quick Play will become handy. Just so you know, the useful Pick and Roll system from last year was also brought back to LIVE 10. In other words, NBA LIVE 10 brings a way more efficient passing game.
Personally, I really enjoyed the post play mechanics of LIVE 09 so seeing it being simplified this year has very little effect on me. Knowing a few friends that played LIVE 09, I was aware of the complaints about how the modifiers were too hard to pull off as making a decent and successful post move became a hassle rather than a solution in the paint. Going with a simple combination of movements of the left and right analog stick will sure make a few players happy but honestly, I do not see a huge difference. Speaking of simplifying things, the shooting system now requires a single button press but you can still modify your shot by holding the right trigger and moving the left analog stick. That also will make a few players happy but then again, most of us got used to the old mechanic. All these little changes are good for the franchise. Sadly, it doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Driving to the lane against a group of two or three defenders remains possible, players can start a dunk from as far as the top of the key and players seem to have difficulties staying in between the limits of the court at times.
NBA LIVE 09 saw the introduction of a Be A Pro mode which was limited to one game only. To my surprise, Be A Pro is no where to be found this year. I think the complexity of developing such a mode for basketball made EA Canada put it on a shelf for another year or maybe forever. Instead, NBA LIVE 10 features an interesting new mode called Adidas Live Run which allows to ten players to connect via PSN or XBL and play five-on-five games against each other. Live Run keeps track of your team record and you can search other teams to go up against. Online Leagues are already available in NBA LIVE 10 but this new mode gives you the opportunity to actually play the Be A Pro mode otherwise. I can certainly see this mode expand into something great in the future. Instead of having a broken and unsatisfying Be A Pro mode, we got this and many ballers will dig it.
While Dynamic DNA returns, LIVE 10 introduces Dynamic Season. This new option grants you the power to determine the destinies of your favorite teams and players throughout the 09-10 NBA season. Of course the NBA season hasn’t started yet but it will be interesting to see how it will work. An all-new Playoff mode, where you can set your own match-ups with any team, has also been added while other modes such as FIBA Championship, Dynasty, Season and NBA Academy aremaking a comeback.
Graphics & Sounds
Visually, the game looks better than last year’s game all around. Improved lighting, no texture ripping, player models were also improved although the sweat engine still makes the players look like plastic. Crowd animations remain the weakest point but EA Canada went for a more dynamic action-reaction crowd engine. Depending of what is happening through out the game, the crowd will react by waving towels for example. Even though player animations were improved, collision bugs are still present at times but less frequent than last year.
As for sounds, the experience remains satisfying. Environmental sounds, in-game chatter and the broadcast presentation feel, remains one of the game’s key elements. However, I was stunned to see the play-by-play commentary not getting a serious update aside of naming the new NBA players. Steve Kerr and Marv Albert do a good job but they tend to repeat themselves a lot. I still think they remain the best commentary duo in a sport game but new recorded lines are greatly needed.
For the first time in a while, the NBA Live franchise seems to get away from their high-flying-over-the-top-superstar-bling-bling reputation and get closer to a certain degree of realism and authenticity. However, it is still lacking as hardcore basketball players won’t find satisfaction just yet in what is offered. I must say that NBA LIVE is getting closer though. Let’s just hope it will continue to improve.
Basketball gamers know what they want and it seems like the step back taken by EA Canada last year is making sense this year. Improving on last year’s new features, refining the gameplay mechanics, not adding anything major and removing what wasn’t necessary, it resumes what NBA Live 10 is. Fans of the franchise will certainly love this year’s game and basketball gamers in general will spend a few quality hours with it.
+ Shooting and Post Play simplified
+ Online play is smooth, no lag
+ Adidas LIVE Run is an interesting feature
+ Improved player models and overall visuals...
- Getting through two or three players still feasible
- Weird gameplay glitches
- Commentary gets old extremely quickly
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Release Date : 2009/10/06
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : EA Sports
Developer : EA Canada
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10