NBA Live 10 Review
Can Superman save the Live series?
Dwight Howard just came up short last year and was picked as the cover athlete for NBA Live 10. Kobe Bryant stepped up big time and was picked to represent NBA 2K10. That could be the story not just for the players, but for the respective games as well. The NBA Live series is back with another game hoping to finally deliver on all the promise and potential shown in the last few entries. Each and every Live released in the last few years have had one thing in common: Potential. Nearly everything about the games needed polishing and work to do. That might have kept the critics silent for a while, but it’s about time the series started to deliver. Is 2010 the year for NBA Live? Read on.
The one main theme going for every EA Sports game this year is the stellar presentation. From Madden to FIFA and now Live, EA Sports is certainly working hard on making their games feel and look like a live TV presentation. The presentation is probably the biggest improvement in NBA Live 10. Home court advantage was never really captured in video games before, but in Live 10 it’s all about defending your home court. Try reliving game 6 from last year’s finals and you will know exactly what we are talking about. With every Howard dunk, the fans just went crazy. Chanting defence towards the end of the game, the crowd started getting quieter with every jumper by Kobe. The atmosphere is simply fantastic towards the end of the games and those rare buzzer beating shots could get you a bit too emotional.
The presentation will impress you so much that you might be left surprised at the end of the first quarter in your first game. All you will get is a screen with the stats, with no commentary about what’s going on. After all the pre game drama, the lack of any analysis between quarters is very disappointing.
Moving on to the players on the court, our reaction was a bit mixed. Animations wise the game does a great job. I can tell which player is taking the shot without looking at the player himself at times. On the Lakers team alone, each player has a different shooting style. Kobe’s shot is as smooth as real life, Gasol takes his time with every shot and Artest is just crazy. Moving on from all the good stuff, we have the player’s models. Sure, Kobe does look like Kobe and Howard does look like Howard. But the player’s bodies are just way off. On what planet are NBA players so skinny? I understand that the game comes with some zoom options, but do I really need to zoom to see how big Shaq is? This has been an issue with the NBA Live series for years now and it’s seriously about time they remodelled the players on the court.
The gameplay itself might actually be the weakest link in this game. We won’t lie, the gameplay certainly has improved, but it’s still some way off compared to NBA 2K10 or even NBA 2K9. The animation, while great, is a problem when trying to dribble past a player. Your character will keep trying to get by using the exact same animation until you or the defender get bored. Also new to the gameplay in NBA Live 10 is the turnovers. Try dribbling with Chris Paul himself and you will still lose the ball a ton of times. You no longer can just try to slide by the defenders and slam it home; you will risk losing the ball each and every time that way. We could also tell that the game is slightly harder this year. On harder difficulties the AI will push hard, throwing the ball into the post each and every time down the court.
The DNA is back this year as well. The stats are way more detailed this year and offer a more realistic perspective about the team overall and players specifically. A simple example regarding how real this feature is, I decided to play as the Bull Vs the Bucks after watching the preseason game live last night. Noah was playing great defence towards the end of the game but taking ill advised shots all over the place. After starting the game in Live, Noah pulled back trying to hit a mid range jumper before trying a set of shots way out of his shooting range. That really grabbed our attention. Kobe will take over in the 4thQ in nearly every game we played against the Lakers in Live 10. The Orlando Magic will chuck away 3 pointers every time down the floor too. This is as real as it gets.
As a compliment to the DNA feature comes the Dynamic Season. Here you will be able to play your team’s fixture on the day they are played in real life. Your stats and results will be recorded shaping up the season based on your playing style. If you fail to complete a game by time, the real life scores and stats will be uploaded into your season instead. A fantastic addition to say the least and we will surely be looking forward to every big matchup during the season. Only problem here is that you have no control over team management issues. You have no control over trades and so on, making this mode one big set of 82 exhibition games. If you miss the 08-09 you can rewind any game from last season and play using rosters from those specific games.
NBA Live 10 comes with a very familiar team online mode found in NHL 10. You can play with up to 9 other players online in a game. How much fun you have though is based on a few different factors. First you need the rest of the team to actually play as a team. Having 5 players running up the court trying to score every single time is not exactly team work. The other problem is the lag. 10 connections in one game might be a little bit too much considering the fact that each player on the court can be from a different country at times.
Another impressive sound track for an EA Sports title comes as no surprise. The commentary system is certainly an improvement this year. The comments are made based on the player’s history and recent form as well. Let’s say Kobe scored 50 points last week against the Knicks, the comments in your game a week later might mention that and compare his current performance to that night in the garden.
If we were to judge the gameplay only, this game will certainly be getting a low to average score. But it seems that everything else is good and the series is just waiting for the gameplay to improve to finally become great. The presentation really comes up big covering some other problems in the game and the realistic DNA stats mean you will be playing the NBA itself every day for the rest of the season. Despite the improvement in the controls (You shot with one button now), the game controls can still be labelled sloppy. The player models and frustrating gameplay really bring this game down. Time is running out for the Live series now, and it’s about time the series delivered on all the promise and potential. NBA Live 11 maybe? We will wait and see.
|Slight improvements but still some work to be done.||
|Overall it is a graphical job well done, player’s models still needs work though.|
|The commentary is very good and the music, as always, is fantastic.||
|The daily updates surely add value to the overall package here.|
|The atmosphere in some of the close games towards the end is just amazing.||
|The game is a few gameplay tweaks away from becoming great.|