This year I decided to immediately go from NBA Live 16 to NBA 2K16 and get deep into the gameplay aspect as far what we can look forward to this year. After playing NBA Live 15 and reviewing the game as well, I genuinely mentioned it as being a step in the right direction. Anyone that touched NBA Live 14 would’ve considered it night and day in gameplay, graphics and mechanics. However it didn’t push quite enough to create its own level of boldness.
So now we are all wondering the same thing, should I buy NBA Live? I won’t answer that question right away, let’s break down the experience.
I played a full game as the Rockets took on the Spurs in Houston, a bittersweet rivalry in the NBA. Graphics were the first noticeable piece, and I was excited and a bit disappointed at the same time. Some players looked very realistic while others looked like they could’ve been faces in the crowd. In all seriousness, James Harden looked like he was running in the hot sun all day and wanted a tall glass of water. He was darker and didn’t look close enough to his real image.
This wasn’t the case for everyone however as some players did have great visual comparisons that looked amazing. But same as NBA Live 15, there weren’t enough animations to make the overall presentation seem fluid. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve played Live 14 or 15, but at times players had this default look to them where they were emotionless; no facial expressions. In honesty you see it in some of the Live 16 trailers as well.
To complement the new visual enhancements though EA has added new camera angles, bringing you a bit closer to the court. Personally the cutscenes when time outs were called had the most realistic feel and look better than any other Live in the series, or NBA 2K for that matter.
The experience on the court was much better as you could feel the new mechanics as your player have the ability to control their dribble, controls teased more for NBA Elite, the year Live disappeared. But still focusing on a big comeback, Live has proven they have the ability to deliver better dribble mechanics year over year, a step better than NBA 2K.
The problem with the ball handling was shot selection. At times I found myself shooting and missing almost everything with extremely high accuracy as far as trajectory. And bad seemed to gone to worse at the free throw line to where I managed to make one shot easily only for the second to bounce off the rim. I understand one player can’t make them all, but we’re talking Tony Parker at a consistent high percentile.
Another thing to briefly touch on is another year of these NBA Jam Tournament Edition slam dunks you can perform. I love as anyone else the ability to perform a high quality, rim-rattling dunk. But when I can perform dunks like an NBA player leaping over a high school student “every time,” something’s wrong.
Defense was sluggish as well as I never really needed to post up on my opponent. After the first half, losing by a few points, I attempted to become more aggressive. I started reaching for the ball, and reaching, and reaching and reaching. As many times as I was able to snatch the ball without a single foul called leads me to believe there’s more last minute work to be done. I was excited to take the lead back, but it was a true lack of authenticity, which was also quite noticeable in NBA Live 15.
PRO-AM will officially release on September 15th with the ability to apply your face into the game. Yes EA Sports have announced that you’re in the game with the all-new Game Face HD app on mobile devices. Though pushed back just a bit, we can only hope this bold move of providing a demo will win gamers back.