NBA Live 10 Review
Basketball may not get the reception it deserves in the UK, but that doesn’t mean that games based on the sport don’t warrant a bit of love and attention from UK gamers. Sure, they can be overshadowed in terms of sales and plaudits, but EA’s latest NBA Live 2010 certainly shows games based on basketball can still provide as much fun as mammoth franchises like FIFA and Madden.
NBA Live 2010 is packed full of enough modes to please any basketball nut; after working on these titles for a number of years, EA certainly know how to please the fans. The core addition in this year’s model is the option to join up with an online community and receive updated statistics throughout the season. This has been included in EA’s more recent batch of sports titles, and is a positive step forward for this franchise too.
The ‘Dynamic season’ allows the current NBA season to play out according to results in both real-world and online matches, culminating with a unique play-off scenario at the end of the basketball year. Using ‘Dynamic DNA’, players on the virtual court progress in line with their human counterparts, meaning the game sticks much closer to real-life than ever before.
Regular modes such as the campaign style ‘Dynasty Mode’ are included and allow players to choose a team and guide them through a season, picking the team and staff members, arranging training sessions and trading players. This is likely to be the first stop for the enthusiast as offers the most in-depth experience, but it is still accessible to casual players, despite the stat-heavy, number-crunching management involved. There is also a fantasy team mode for those that prefer to get straight into a game, mixing rosters and providing ample ways to customise a match, as well as a play-off mode which allows for custom tournaments to be created. Online components include single and team variations, with leagues and fantasy teams, and leaderboards, which extend the lifespan and increase the challenge of the game.
The controls are kept fairly simple, with face buttons controlling blocks, passes and shots, while style variations can be applied using the analogue sticks and trigger buttons. There are plenty of options to tweak things like rules, fouls and player abilities, and controls can be similarly adjusted to suit the players’ individual tastes. Tactics can be changed instantly during matches, and the AI seems to be able to cope well with switching from defensive to offensive play on the fly.
The graphics are impressive, at least for the players and courts. All of the professional players look spectacularly true to life, with extremely realistic-looking movement and design. The stadiums themselves are certainly bright, colourful and highly detailed, it’s just a shame the same attention wasn’t given to the crowds, which are dull and lifeless in comparison.
The presentation is rounded off by impressive in-game billboards, screens and TV style openings, which are designed to make the game feel as if it really is ‘live’. The commentary is just about engaging and varied enough not to feel too repetitive or annoying. The music played over menu screens or during breaks adds to the feeling of realism.
All-in-all, NBA Live 2010 is a fun, easy-to-play game, with plenty of options. The whole ‘live broadcast’ presentation makes it easily accessible and inviting to newcomers, while retaining a high level of familiarity for basketball enthusiasts. For those with even the slightest interest in the sport, this latest addition to the NBA Live series comes highly recommended.