Release Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: EA Sports
Platform: [Reviewed: PlayStation 4], Xbox One
Rated: E for Everyone
I am still in awe and proud to say to all the basketball fans out there, NBA Live is back! It’s been 3 long years to where EA Sports snatched the title out of the lineup. Specifically, it was during the introduction of the control sticks and the EA team deciding to change up the name from “Live” to “Elite.” It never hit shelves, in fact, the franchise went dark. But with this year’s triumphant return, does it have enough spirit to once again shine and catch up with its competition?
I must say, just seeing and being able to hold a copy of NBA Live is surreal!
NBA Live 14 strangely has a more arcade-feel to it rather than authentic, making it a long awaited and anticipated, yet questionable return. In addition to the initial comeback, gameplay feels outdated. Live 14’s biggest highlight has been the bounceTek which actually works pretty smoothly, but could too much attention have been focused in that one area?
The on court experience felt unbalanced on both ends. On offense Live 14 felt more like NBA Live 10’s mechanics when performing spins and jump shots. In comparison to 2K14, players were able to perform signature shots and dribble techniques. In Live however, the shooting system feels more generic and with limited moves directly from the star rookies highlighted in NBA Moments.
Graphically speaking, the NBA players looks very realistic. Take a look at the Miami Heat for example, players like Bosh and Lebron have their uniqueness and facial details. But what you’ll also notice is the lack of emotion from every player throughout gameplay. No matter if it’s a free throw, an open look causing for a quick celebration or a slam dunk, players don’t show much emotion (other than casual arms flaring).
Rising Star mode in NBA Live is a hit and miss this year. Even at the create a player screen, though advertised as “define your appearance,” your limited on the creation of how you’d prefer your customized player to look. Based on the head you choose, which there is 20 to choose from, you only get three hairstyles to select from. There’s more than 3 hairstyles, but they’re restricted to certain heads only.
Also in create a player, you don’t get the option of personalizing your players skills. Instead your once again limited, choosing from one of five NBA Rookies . After creating your player it’s off to the Rookie Draft game where everything matters and your level of performance determines your draft number.
NBA’s memorable moments also deserves acknowledgement in perspective to the rookies in the NBA. Relive the final buzzer beaters, full game challenges and even Kyrie’s triple 3-Pointer’s in under 2 minutes. Complete them to earn skill points, allowing you to prepare your Ultimate team cards for success.
Commentary is provided by Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen and Jalen Rose. It was awesome to hear play by play called by called until a bit of the dialogue became monotonous and repetitive. The crowd volume and interactions also went in and out persistently.
Lastly, I was surprised to not see any type of NBA Blacktops or All-Star Mini-games in Live 14. The street courts are what particularly defined NBA Live in its early years.
NBA Live 14 probably won’t win many people over this year, but it’s definitely a great start in the right direction to reclaiming dominance. The overall experience felt clunky and arcade-ish in an unfavorable way.
Replay Value: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3/5