Gamers Guide: NBA Live 09 Review

I stopped playing the NBA Live series exclusively in 2000 and I’ve had no reason to start again…until now.  Recently, I downloaded the demo for NBA Live 09 for the PS3 console and I was very surprised to see what the digitally inclined hombres of EA Sports were up to in developing the new NBA Live series.  

After finally renting this beast of a game, I am convinced that this is the biggest upgrade made by a basketball series ever after just one year.

Graphics + Gameplay
This is one of the best looking sports games I’ve played for the PS3 console to date.  The players faces are nearly perfectly composed, and the coaches look real! Zen Master really looks like Zen Master,  and the arenas look amazingly realistic with great attention to detail.  The offensive players move and adjust to the defensive seamlessly and look life like trying to get around the defenders for a shot.  The defensive players however, aren’t as dynamic and a lot of the time don’t stand a chance on defense.  The defenders over play everything whether it be a steal or block attempt, and it’s tough to recover. 

The players also jump and dribble kinda unnaturally and looks kinda weird.  Not throw this game away weird but it’s notable. Although the dribbling looks weird it does not effect your players abilities, but the jumping makes it hard to anticipate rebounding and blocking shots. 

The new features include new Pick & Roll Control, Lockdown Defense, Signature Playcalling, and Quick Strike Ankle Breakers. Gives you a lot of options as an offensive player and will give you 6 ways from Sunday to get your “serve on”.

The crowd reacts well to the scores and action and the momentum is captured by your players to get you as close to the game as possible.   The announcing of Marv Albert and Steve Kerr is good, but a Marv Albert and Mike Fratello combo would send the gameplay over the top. My only real big complaints is that the players aren’t as similar in real life characteristics as they could be in the game and that the defense in the game could also be a tad smarter.  

 

Menus
For those that have played FIFA 08, the menus are exactly the same in look and feel and are stunning.  The menu buttons work on a roll over method so that you can see exactly where you want to go before you finalize your decision and are very intuitive.  You get the option you want without the back and forth. 

 

Soundtrack
EA kinda missed the mark on the soundtrack but its okay.  With the size of the overhaul they have made to this series, I’m sure it will be better in the future. The NBA Live 09 soundtrack features music from: 

  • Braille – The IV
  • Ladytron – Ghosts (Blestenation Remix)
  • Enur – Calabria 2007
  • Wax Tailor – Hope & Sorrow
  • Hot Chip – Out at the Pictures
  • Chasm Feat. Diafrix – Let the Beat Go
  • Flipsyde Feat. Akon – Champion

 

Upgrades + Extras
With the sizable upgrades and extras that EA has made to the NBA Live franchise, the upgrades and extras are the center peace to the new direction EA Sports is heading.

  • Dynamic DNA

Evaluates player DNA that breaks down how a player scores, team DNA that rates how the players on the floor play as a unit and tendencies that refer to the percentage a player drives left, right or shoots from each spot on the floor. Awesome!

  • NBA LIVE 365

Made fresh daily all season long. Everyday the Dynamic DNA data is uploaded and adjusts the player ratings depending on how he is playing in real life. Hot in real life, hot in the game. Cold in real life, cold in the game.  

  • Live Rewind

You can replay previous games with the updated statistical data that recreates identical conditions including injuries, hot/cold streaks, tendencies and player DNA the next day.

  • FIBA teams

There are now 24 FIBA teams compared to NBA Live 08, which only had 8. You can compete in an international tournament using authentic FIBA rosters and teams.

  • Loading Screens

Just like FiFA 08 you can use a player to shoot around with as you wait for the loading of the game to complete.   This feature is genius because you are never really waiting this way.

 

Overall
This game is awesome and is a buy! EA has officially reset the NBA LIVE franchise for the better! The amount of live DNA features and game modes this game offers it’s just to much to rent and bring back.  This is a giant leap towards the top of the basketball gaming food chain. If you download the demo you will be hooked!