So the NBA Live 18 demo has officially hit the courts and fans are taking it straight to the rim. IRB Gamer has taken time as well to play the demo that was very much awaited and are ready to deliver our general feedback.
What Did I Download
First, what’s packaged in this NBA Live Demo? You start off creating your player, hopefully with your face scanned through the NBA Live Companion App to personalize this experience. It’s quite impressive how EA Sports manages to have the right software to create a near perfect scan of you. In a well-lit area and preferably a newer model mobile device, you’ll literally be “In The Game.”
Upon choosing your position and preferred measurements the demo then kicks off with a few segments of First Take with Stephen A. Smith as they discuss the rise and fall of the “Hype Brothers.” All the while it’s actually you and your friend who looking to make a comeback after injuring yourself and sidelining your future. With your fellow Hype Brethren, Nick Howard, and Agent you do what’s necessary in the 7-part teaser story.
Upon completion you unlock Live Events and Live Run Pick Ups. In additional to street ball you can earn limited time gear and more through Community Showdown’s. There other ways of earning Reward Crates, mostly earning enough reward points and hitting certain levels to enable different tiers.
The two key ways to increase your player overall average is by earning enough XP to level up and gaining traits that will benefit you regardless of when you player in the League or the Streets. Again, this all caps after reaching level 20 overall and/or hitting 83 averages in each primary skill.
The Streets v. The League
The Streets was pretty fun, when managing to join game sessions. I found easier to play challenges than access Live Run Pick Ups as only two players could enlist, never four which was thee minimum amount required to play. Expect to play with a few ball hogs as everyone thinks they’re Michael Jordan or Steph Curry.
After each game you receive a breakdown of your in-game score (grade), traits and challenges, Play of the Game and top players on each team stats.
It’s also safe to mention that the entire Story Demo was based more around The League though only allowing streetball.
As for The League the only game available is the NBA Finals: Warriors v Cavilers. With four quarters and plenty of time to adjust to gameplay, you can’t help but gradually enjoy taking NBA Live for a spin once again.
Good and Bad
Graphics are nice for the fact it’s NBA Live. If we compared everything to NBA 2K, we’d debate it all until we’re blue in the face. To be honest Live 18 is not as crisp as the early screenshots when the game is in full affect, but for sure a step up from NBA Live 16. E3 spoke of all sport titles utilizing the Frostbite Engine found in games like Battlefield 1 and FIFA 17. It’s a small let down, but it doesn’t ruin the overall experience. In fact I loved the court details and surroundings, something that EA Sports have always done a great job with.
There’s a new shot meter in NBA Live 18, one that’s quite simple to catch on to and drain buckets from absolutely anywhere. It’s important however to achieve landing on the green meter; almost doesn’t count, especially if contested. In The Streets it was definitely a welcoming challenge to nail shots after learning to perfectly time shots.
One huge issue in my opinion is the huge lack of animations, most noticeable in Play Now (The League). It looked as if every player penetrated to the rim with ALMOST the exact same layup from under the goal and dunked in the same fashion. I’m hoping only so much was teased for the sake of this being the demo. If not, the arcade feel that Live has always been known for is rendering its head.
Steals and Fouls were also questionable in Play Now. Gratefully, you can steal the ball nearly as much as you could spam in NBA Live 13. However, the transitions are not as fluid. So many times I managed to get a steal but for a brief moment thought the ball was going out of bounds. To my surprise I got the steal and missed a fast break opportunity.
When playing defense I noticed every foul I committed ended with me nearly hugging the player on offense. Specifically if I was reaching in for a steal, causing the foul, I shouldn’t get a quick cutscene of me hugging over the player. That’s not what happened.
Overall, For Now
Don’t get me wrong, this was simply the good and the bad of NBA Live 18 based on the demo and there’s a lot of promise here. Without comparing it to NBA 2K but diving somewhat deep into the demo, Live is worth it this year. Considering the depth, the addition of the WNBA and much more including the 33% saving when you preorder, missing out on Live would be a crime.
Be sure to check back for our full NBA Live 18 is the coming weeks.