NBA Live 10 Review (PSP)
The NBA Live series has been around forever -- trust me on this, don't actually look it up. But when most people think of NBA Live, they think about the times they played it on consoles like the Sega Genesis or the PS2 or the Xbox 360. But today I will be reviewing the PSP version of NBA Live 10. It's a whole new battleground.
NBA Live 10 feels like basketball. The court spacing is handled well, and it feels like you have a lot of room to move around and make plays. The crossover mechanics also look and feel realistic.
In the post, I do sometimes get put into a post-up position when I don’t want to be in one, but it is easy to pass or dribble your way out of those situations.
Quick passing and pump fakes are unresponsive at times. That may have something to do with me using an older PSP, but plenty of people reading this will be using an older PSP as well. You can also use icon passing, which makes it easier to find your man.
Steals are extremely ridiculous on the default settings. And I’m not talking about Chris Paul pick-pocketing Zydrunas Ilgauskas either, it's the other way around. You can get so many more opportunities with the ball and win handily if you choose to abuse this tactic. It’s easy to say "just lay off the square button on defense" but you should not have to do that.
The AI also acts up at times. For example, the Heat had a 14-2 lead on me when I was using the Knicks, and right after I scored my second bucket of the game to cut the lead to 10, the Heat called a timeout to cool me down. I know Erik Spoelstra is the youngest head coach in the NBA, but nobody would ever do that.
The ball itself also has some interesting quirks. Rebounds sometimes bounce too high off the rim, loose balls bounce weird and passes become tipped or errant for no reason. These instances do not hinder the gameplay to an extreme degree, but they are still an issue.
Basically, NBA Live 10 is a fun game. Better ball physics, turning down steals and keeping the AI in check could make the 2011 edition a serious handheld must-buy.
NBA Live 10's appearance on the PSP is a mixed bag in every sense of the word.
I’m not sure what it is about these PSP basketball games (I have also reviewed NBA 10), but the presentation here is spectacular. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr are a bit slow when they are commentating on the game, but it could be way worse. The game even features Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith in the booth during the All-Star Weekend modes.
But the loading times are a problem. Coming back from standby mode, navigating menus and starting a game take longer than it should. It also takes too long for the game to load pictures during overlays and team selection.
I must also mention that many of the pictures are outdated or nonexistent. Rashard Lewis wears a Sonics uniform and Nate Robinson does not even have a picture. I’ll also use this space here to say how in the world did the Knicks get an 89 overall rating? I love the team and all but that’s at least 15 points too high. (Ed. note - 15! More like 40)
The graphics look good -- the players and arenas are recognizable enough. There are some anti-aliasing issues, but it’s a handheld, so it's understandable. The lighting is also very good. It’s easy to follow the action from the default broadcast cam.
This is where trying to cram console features into a handheld hurts the game. NBA Live 10 has many of the console features, though, they are poorly executed.
Be a Pro mode has a lot of potential but does not deliver. For example, I made a point to be a terrible teammate to see what the results would be. I asked for the ball every time, I shot the ball early and often was extremely aggressive on defense. I fouled out early in the third quarter. The Knicks ended up winning, but it was how they played me that was the problem. Not only did my coach not take me out when I was playing like a jerk and in serious foul trouble, I also got the player of the game award. The mode does not have the polish of something like MLB 09’s Road to the Show on the PSP. I also never felt like I was making my way up the ranks and earning my keep.
The franchise mode is relatively complex, and it would actually be a fun distraction if there were not constant loading times between menus. The loading times hurt every single thing outside of gameplay, which includes looking through options or The Crown.
The Crown is an achievement system that gives you points for doing things like grabbing a certain amount of rebounds or defeating a specific team. It’s an added perk for Achievement whores and Trophy fiends. The game also features a FIBA World Championship mode and all the national teams are available for exhibition games. All-Star Weekend is also fully represented -- The 3-point shootout is entertaining
NBA Live 10 is a fun game of basketball. However, it tries to deliver a console experience to the handheld and ultimately disappoints in that regard. But if you are just interested in playing five-on-five hoops, then Live may hit the spot.
On the Court: Solid gameplay, minus a few oddities.
Graphics: Players and arenas look good, though, a bit jagged.
Sound: Commentary is average, but soundtrack is solid.
Entertainment Value: The gameplay is fun, everything else is subpar.
Online: Only Ad-Hoc, so forget about online multiplayer.
Score: 6.5 (Decent)