NBA Live 15 Review - Still a long way to go..
EA Sports are famous for their Cricket series, FIFA series all over the world. But, they also released a series of games for professional Basketball experience for a long time and discontinued after their NBA Live 10 didn’t live up to the expectations and then surfaced the NBA Live 14 last year which wasn’t ready for the prime time. But this time around they rebuilt the franchise from ground up and have delivered us the new game NBA Live 15.
After starting the game, you will be introduced to the new training tutorial called “Learn Live”. This tutorial mode covers the drills in five gameplay areas, you would want to complete this set of drills to make an easy transition to the NBA Live game if you have already played other basketball games. The mode will present you with Damian Lillard, the cover star of the game, to help you with the respective training which is really informative, detailed and helpful with his commentary.
The training starts out with the basic shooting mechanics and also to the shot quality meter. You’ll see your fatigue level, shot quality meter, and how well you are defended, all color coded in the shot quality meter which assists you in making a decision to shoot or pass. Timing your shot release is important in the game and this meter helps you with that too.
Dribbling, passing, scoring and the Post game are the other gameplay modes in the tutorial. It’s really better to learn the post moves if you want to play yourself as a big man in the game. Clicking R3 when in covered position will make your guy turn his back to the defender and start your post situation. Now, it’s upto you whether you want to bump and shoot or pull a spin move and drive to the hoop and perform a dunk or lay-up.
If you play as a Point guard in the game the offensive screen will be your effective tool. At the perimeter, press L2 and one of your guys will come over and create a screen for you. From here it’s your choice whether to use that screen to drive to the hoop or go for the alley-oop. But mostly, this tutorial just lays the ground work for you and its better to take these first hand. Once you complete this tutorial, you can start a scrimmage with a full squad or just practice around solo.
Graphics and Animations
EA have spent large amount of their time in scanning the player heads to make this game more realistic and lively to the fans. It is said EA will continue their scanning process as the season progresses. After finishing the tutorials, you get to play NBA Finals between Cleveland and Oklohoma Thunder, here you can see the improved graphics, improved animations, and improved player models. The player animations looks real life-like and it’s like watching a live NBA season match.
The game developers have also upgraded the arenas and the fans who like realistic in the game. The court looks like a fine polished hardwood floor and the bright lights reflects the action on the floor. The audience were created using different models to differentiate the duplicates who are spread out throughout the court and their animations has also changed.
Jordan Rising Star
To start your own career in the game, the Jordan Rising Star is the place. You have the option to choose from five different positions, which has its own play styles to fit your preferences. Each play type changes your overall skill sets, your ratings so you should choose wisely and pick the one which fits your own style. Customizing your player is followed starting from the heads of players, EA have not used their Face 2.0 software for this mode, and the players are left with twenty (20) default heads to choose from. The position you chose to play will determine the size of your player. You can choose different shoes for home and away games, as there are a whole set of Jordans to choose from. You can choose tattoos only for arm and shoulder this time around.
Once every detail is ready, you start the game with Jordan Take Flight Showcase, here the players can showcase thier skills in front of many teams, who are ready to pick you from the draft. You’ll be graded as the game progresses so its very important to concentrate on the shot selection, your defense and overall team play. Depending on your performance, you will be drafted either as a first rounder or maybe somehwere in the middle or last. Once selected by a team, you’ll have to earn more and more minutes per game as you progress and it’s tough at first, as the team will surely have a star player playing at your position.
The grading system used in the showcase will be used during the games and everytime your grade is reset to fifty at the start of each game. As the game progresses and depending on how you play the score increases or decreases. You’ll earn skill points based on how you performed in the last game and you can apply these points to areas that you need improvement.
More Game Modes
EA have offered you a chance to explore more about the other sides of this game. Like,
- Dynasty Mode: This offers you to be the general manager of the team of your choice. The choice is yours as you can choose a strong team that’s ready to compete or a lower rating reamwhich needs rebuilding. Scouting and draft choices are the best hope for rebuilding, while dealing with contracts of superstars are for a strong team, as these players are the key to continued success.
- NBA Live Ultimate Team: It is a card based fantasy style mode where you can collect different player cards of NBA and create the greatest team ever. There are challenges to complete to unlock more card packs or you can always purchase more packs either through credits earned in the game thorugh match-ups or via the PlayStation Store for 99 cents to acquire 100 points.
- Live Seasons: This mode helps you keep up to date with the real NBA by letting you replay recent key matches in the NBA Rewind and repeat the players highlight performances in the Big Moments. This is an interesting mode as it gives real time situations and lets you decide the outcome using your own skills.
Great Gameplay but not perfect
Overall gameplay looks great but doesn’t give a perfect finish. For instance the defense looks unbalanced as stealing can be pulled off successfully without any fouls. Sure it does reflects on the skill and rating, but the game should look realistic. Also, blocking the shots when you have a big man under the rim wasn’t too hard either against the CPU and both areas probably need to be tweaked with an update.
Transitioning between defense and offense is very quick in NBA and EA Sports have given that superbly but it seems the players are too fast in travelling to the end of the court. Double team doesn’t look good as the players move to fast across the court, and also the long passes are picked quite easily without an interference. EA will probably release some patches for these minor issues as they are listening to their community about these issues. EA have already accepted the fact that NBA Live 14 was not a good game at launch, but have addressed many of the issues and tweaks. The developer have paid close attention to the complaints and issues from the fans this time, as they have tweaked the game the best they could. It’s very obvious that rebuilding from the ground up was the best thing for this franchise, as it as a long way to go.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Overall, NBA Live 15 brings back the franchise back to the court successfully with authority and takes it to the next generation of gaming. The game isn’t perfect, but it is clearly ready to create a foundation for other games to develop in the coming years.