Game Name:NBA Live 2010
Platforms:Xbox 360
Publisher(s):Electronic Arts
Developer(s):EA Canada
Genre(s):Sports
Release Date:10/6/2009
ESRB Rating:E for Everyone
Price:$59.99
Demo:Add to Download Queue

Let’s face it, NBA Live has lost its luster big time. Over the past few years, 2k has taken over as the premier, basketball video game. During the 90’s, EA dominated the sports video game market with hits like Jordan vs. Bird, Bulls vs. Blazers, and yes its very first Live game (NBA Live 95). NBA Live 2010 has just come back from rehab, but it will ever get back to its all star caliber of play?

Game play: NBA Live has always been a “pick up and play” video game. The game play is similar to an arcade style, where teams are scoring at a blistering pace (see 2005 Phoenix Suns). Live seems to have kept the run and gun pace intact for the gamers. Granted it’s fun to put up the points, but where’s the strategy?

Play calling options are available to the user but it seems like there are too many plays to choose from, similar to 2k10. Iso’s, 2-3 defense, and double teams are just a few of many options a gamer can choose to challenge the opposition. The game’s artificial intelligence picks apart every mistake you make. If you gamble with a steal, the cpu will blow right by you and drive to the hoop; 9 times out of 10 will they will score the ball.

Defensively, you really need to man up. Leave your man wide open, the cpu will capitalize with a wide open 3 point dagger. The cpu also plays excellent defense. They seem to always play the passing lanes causing turnover after turnover making it difficult for the user to throw the outlet pass to ignite the fast break.

Turnovers are quite frequent in this game. I blocked a Lebron James shot with Chris uhon (he has no “D”). If you use the spin move, in all likelihood, you will lose the ball. Players seem to step out of bounds very easily. Don’t be surprised to have 20 turnovers by half time.

With more emphasis on defense and passing, Live hits the nail on the head as far as combining an “arcade” style tempo mixed with a touch of strategic game play.

Features. You can’t create your own player. There are no Old School Teams so you can’t play the legends. But you can play FIBA teams (who cares about FIBA teams). Adidas live run, pickup game with 10 people. Player DNA shows the tendencies of a player. No Allstar weekend (dunk contest/3pt.) Real life updates go to game.

Realism: The graphic artists at EA seemed to have done a so/so job on detail. Arena/Crowd wise was done beautifully. Each arena is a genuine replication of the real deal. Only flaw, EA decided to rename MSG (The Mecca of Basketball) to “New York Arena”. How is that possible? Crowd participation is good as the gamer really feeds off the cheers and boos of the fans.

Minus points for player detail. Players look extra shiny and they all have bad teeth. Some players don’t resemble their real life profiles. I didn’t know Kobe was Asian?!

Marv Albert and Steve Kerr are the official NBA Live announcers for 2010. Listen to them as they try to help the gamer through certain situations. You’re team is on the other end of a 10-0 run? Steve Kerr practically BEGS you to call a time out. Annoying at times, but the right thing to do.

Realism from a graphic perspective, EA could’ve used more practice.

Features: Noticeably absent from NBA Live 2010 are a few options that some gamers might have overlooked in the past. The Dunk Contest, 3point shootout, and Create a Player are no longer part of the game. In it’s place Dynamic DNA, Adidas Live Run, and Dynamic Season are subbed in. Dynamic DNA will show a players true tendencies (i.e. Shaq has a high tendency to post, Ray Allen tends to shoot etc etc). This helps the gamer by maybe defending the perimeter a little bit better when Ray Allen is floating around or sending the double team when Shaq has his back to the basket.

Adidas Live Run essentially is a pick up game of 5 on 5. Online play could let the gamer find 9 other players go at each other Gear of War style. Beware, your teammates my never pass you the ball. Everybody loves to shoot, especially if it’s a pickup game.

Dynamic Season mirrors what is going on in the real life NBA. Your franchise player is in a funk? Guess what, the video game counterpart will slump too. How’s that for a touch of realism?

Overall, NBA Live took baby steps towards regaining its respectability back in the sports market.

Kram’s Rating: 3.5 out 5

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