- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Thompson
his year when it comes to video game basketball, it would seem that Electronic Arts has definitely brought its game. And while this title doesn’t look to be the popular pick among the majority of critics when compared to 2K Sports’ “NBA 2K9,” after having played both games, this is the one with which I had the most fun. In essence, the game looks smoother, has nicer controls, and has a set of features that outshine its competitor’s, even though on the surface, 2K’s game looks like it has some of the same stuff going on. Yet this isn’t really the case.
The biggest comparison lies within EA’s “Dynamic DNA” feature. Now players have the ability to constantly have their team’s real-life counterparts’ “DNA” downloaded into their games and play just like they would on the courts. Stats, injuries, etc. are tracked daily and updated as such. This means that players can literally play a game that they saw the night before with all the team members’ real-life stats up to date and factoring in to their own games as well. It’s an impressive fixture to say the least. Now, 2K Sports’ game has a similar feature that seemingly provides up-to-the-minute updates as well, but from the time I spent with both games, it didn’t seem as deep as the Dynamic DNA feature here.
Also new this year is “NBA Live 365.” This sort of works in conjunction with the Dynamic DNA in that it also updates daily with roster changes, hot and cold streaks, trades, etc., that also have an overall impact on your game. Again, 2K countered with “The Association 2.0” in its own game, but it’s not in the least bit as accessible or as easily navigated as this is. For all the griping usually aimed at EA, they have at least turned in a near flawless presentation with the big new features in their game this year.
On the court, the game is just as good. Both novices and the seasoned vets will enjoy a variety of signature plays that can be called on the fly, and automatically change and adjust to which players are currently on the court. Dynamic DNA also will make suggestions on which plays to make, that can be acted upon or ignored outright. What’s more, players can take full control in their two-man game for even more point scoring. Like the play calling, players can arrange another teammate to set a screen and then decide how to ultimately play it out. It can take a few attempts with both of these features to figure out what works best, but once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second nature.
Topping off this year’s game is the “NBA Live Academy” where players can play mini-game skill challenges, or just do some general practicing with your team. And for once, it feels like practicing really does make a difference when it comes game time. Then there’s also the FIBA World Championship mode where players can play international-rules basketball and court layouts, and take one of 24 national teams to championship glory. All in all, this game is packed with really nice features that are easy to understand and implement within your own game.
The online experience is pretty much what you’ve come to expect lately. Play with friends and try to one-up each other, or go against a complete stranger for the wild card experience and see who comes out on top. Online control and game play is just as smooth as the solo experience, which is always a good thing. As a bonus, gamers can also import their own custom soundtracks into the game for a completely personalized experience. With all these great features packed into this year’s game, “NBA Live 09” is my choice for your video game basketball experience of the year. As with 2K’s game, rent it before you commit, or try both. It really is the best way to come to your own conclusion, depending on what you’re looking for in your own game.