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Sovartus NBA Live 10 Review 
Posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:41 PM.
Well Gamers, another year of basketball gaming is upon us and this year will be tougher than ever for people to decide which game to go with. In this installment I will be taking a good look at NBA Live 10. I will be reserving the comparisons of Live 10 and 2K10 until a later post like I did last year. So letís get to it.

Iím gonna break this thing way down so buckle your seat belts and open your mind. Many of you know that I have recently moved from the 2K series to the Live series but that will not bias my opinion of the game. I told Mike Wang I would give it to him straight so Mike, Marcus, and Mr. Santos, put on your thick skin.

Letís start by talking about an overall impression of the game. Live 10 is a huge improvement over Live 09. I liked 09 but there were tons of things that I didnít like and was basing my opinion off of the good things and the idea that the series had a lot of possibilities going into the future. To the people who are picking up Live to see what it is about and wondering why people are defecting in hordes from 2K, DO NOT try to play this game like 2K. You will hate Live if you do that. If you want to get the real feel of NBA Live, you will want to pick it up and go back to infant status by learning how to play the game all over again like you have never played a basketball game before. Only then will you learn how deep this game truly is. Ok, enough preface, letís jump into it.

When you turn on the game, presentation is the first thing that you see. Gamers these days want something to blow them away and I canít say that I was. I am not big on presentation anyway so I probably wonít go too deep into this area. Most of this is based on my opinions so donít shoot me because I am entitled to my opinion. I absolutely love the little intro they did with D. Howard and the monologue from Mos Def. Then there is the hangar. I can see the direction the developers were headed with the whole hangar idea. Seems like you were going for that ďelite baller coming to play pick-up games and giving you a chance to get a feel for themĒ scenario. Nice idea, bad timing. You were more on point in Live 09 with the whole Academy concept. I know, itís in Dynasty Mode right? Well, for people who are trying the game for the first time after playing 2K for the last 5 to 10 years, they donít really know what the heck they are doing. Having some tutorials and practice areas would have been good because you guys really gave people a lot to digest in one development cycle. I believe that people need some serious help with the controls and learning to play the game before they jump in head first.

I have heard some people say good things about the graphics and other bash them pretty bad. Here is what I say. I can see where the developers are going with it and Iím not biased one way or another. It looks like they were going for real life skin textures and more of a life-like feel. I think it looks good but not the best graphical representation that I have seen when you zoom in close. I love the way it all blends together with the overall stadium feel when zoomed out and playing the game. The player models are great and the stadiums look awesome. Players still move a little stiff and there is a serious lack to some of the transitions between the action. Players still have a tendency to move robotic sometimes. It would be nice to see the players run differently. Every player, no matter how big or tall they are, seem to have the same running style.
The sound is incredible! I have been producing music for 11 years and I can honestly say Iím picky when it comes to the sound and it is all mixed together very well. Crowd reactions are relevant to the action on the floor which has been done very poorly in most games up to this point. Having the ability to set the atmosphere is a very nice touch. You can set it to Season, Playoffs, and Finals. Each of the settings really makes the game feel authentic. It was cool to see that during a season game in Miami where there were a lot of empty seats and the chants werenít as powerful. If you are a person that likes all the shoes, tattoos, and stuff, there is more than you could care to scroll through. That stuff doesnít really matter to me so Iím sorry if I didnít dig deep enough for you.

Overall I give the presentation a B. It is deserving of next generation gaming and is headed in the right direction.

Now letís get to the good part, game play. Now remember, Iím not comparing this game to 2K so get that out of your mind. One of the biggest issues of basketball video games is arcade style gaming, AKA cheese. I can honestly make a very bold statement at this point. I have been playing this game since Wednesday and I have yet to see someone cheese it. I called in some cheese superstars and they had to regroup and play real ball. That impressed me. Rockchisler & I played a few games online and pushed it to see where the game would bend and it didnít. I was left with the feeling that the game is going to reward intelligent basketball gamers. I was impressed with 09ís collision detection and the AIís intelligence to cut off lane drives but this yearís is even better. If you donít come up with a strategy to get into the lane, you probably wonít make it. Gone are the days of just wiggling your way to the rack and dunking on anyone in the way. If you force your way to the paint you can expect it to happen like it would in real life. You will either get your ball stripped or you will bump into someone with the possibility of losing your balance or simply hitting a wall. If you try to put the ball on the floor with people who canít really dribble, expect the realistic result. I love this! If you drive into Shaq, expect to either land on the deck or change something mid-air because Shaq isnít going to move. Gone are the days of warping through people because you activated an animation. Players have physics and you have to take that into account. I will say that if you score in the paint, you will have worked your butt off to get it.

I like that Live makes the player movement separate from ball movement. One thing that really drove me up the wall about other games was when I would try to do a move, and it didnít come out, my player would run backcourt or out of bounds. Arrggghh!!! The institution of foot planting and the dribble stick makes it a non-issue. The amount of control that has been given to the user is unmatched by any game Iíve played up to this date. All I can say is wow. Iím sure we have all seen Czarís Battleground so you know what Iím talking about with control. Well they have extended this control by tightening up the ability to dribble quickly and precisely. Allen Iversonís cross over is insanely fast. Ask Rockchisler, itís a problem. Gilbert Arenas was an issue for my Grizzlies as well because the guy is really quick. That leads me to my next thing, player differences. You can really tell that Chris Paul is way faster that Paul Pierce. I had real trouble guarding Gilbert Arenas and that is the way it should be. It wasnít because some animation sucked me in or Rock could wiggle the stick back and forth to throw me off, it was simply that dude is lightning quick and can shoot lights out. The shooting mechanics are second to none. I love how you can control every aspect of scoring because it comes in handy when you try to score in high traffic areas. You really have to take momentum and balance into consideration as well, so remember that if you are picking the game up for the first time. There is a tutorial on shooting that Mike Wang made so make sure you watch it.

The AI in the game is stellar. I was playing a game with one of my brothers and he was complaining about the way players were out of position. ďThis game is Stupid!Ē he hollered when someone doubled or shifted to provide help D. I then went into the instant replay to show him what had happened. Paul Pierce was playing halfway like he does in real life because thatís the way the Celtics play defense. As soon as Rondo (who my brother was controlling) got beat, Pierce stepped up to provide the help. This left Joe Johnson wide open in the corner for 3. My response for my brother was, ďHe was saving your butt and you need to learn better on-the-ball defense.Ē Pierce still recovered but it was a second too late. The AI is very strong as the defenders are always looking to help but the help always seems to make sense. There was a time where Tony Allen was a little confused during transition but figured it out quickly as to where his man was on defense. We paused the game, and sure enough, Allenís off ball awareness was only a 63. The AI gets no gripes from me so far. Off-ball movement on offense is intelligent as well. This is cool for the people who have a tendency to play off-ball defense because now the CPU players are moving and they have to keep up with them. This makes it hard for them to cheat on D. I played quite a few games over the last few days and watched a bunch, too. This is the first time I have witnessed a game that really felt like it was truly realistic. You can just play your game and it will be sim because the game makes you play sim. You donít have to make the game play sim. So cheesers beware. I will not go into the DNA thing from Synergy. There is nothing on the market that compares to this. No one will ever be more sim than Live as long as they have this resource. Wow, they are piping the real NBA right into the game-play. If you donít know about this relationship EA has, stop reading and look it up. This part of Live is bananas and makes the game that good. Really, itís that good.

Overall I give the game play an A-. There are some things that still need to be fixed. Shot blocking is somewhat still out of control. I would like to see the ability to contest shots consistently and have more control on defense. I would also like to see more focus on the post game. While I think it is limitless right now the way it is, I would like to see more player specific variations of the basic post moves. The ďsideline, double-team, push-you-out-of-bounds glitchĒ isnít expected to be fixed with the enormous patch they are working on to improve the game. Another issue that I didnít like at all was on-the-fly adjustments. Iím happy they added the ability to make adjustments and it works ten times better than last year, but I hate the way they cut off when the action changes. You could be in the middle of making a bunch of changes and if you donít get done before the action changes and press the B button, you lose it allÖ That sucks.

Here is the part that Iím not really impressed with. Online. Playing online games is really fun. I didnít notice much lag and it is a lot more responsive than most of the other games out there. The developers teased me with saying I would be able to see the personís directional arrow online. Mike wasnít aware that you couldnít so Iím assuming he will have that fixed. This would make it a little easier to play defense and give users the ability to lock people up without the ďlock downĒ feature. Right now there is a problem with fatigue but Iím sure that will be fixed before release.

So, I was able to run a few games in the Addidas Live Run feature. It was coolÖ. I guess. You get to put together a squad and run some games in the theme of the hangar. Up to 10 people can run a pick up game with whatever superstar they want. This is cool because no one is stuck with the runt on the team and everyone has a really good player to run with. There are no created players or anything like that so no, itís not like the ďMy PlayerĒ mode 2K is doing. Not attractive to me.

So, they have the ďDynamic Season ModeĒ which allows you to follow your favorite team along in the season and play each game against that gameís DNA to see if you can do better or match what the team is doing. Pretty cool mode but nothing earth shattering to me. Itís all offline stuff. No playing your friends or anything like that. Yeah, you can upload your progress to a leader board and track who is the best. This mode is weak on competition.

So, the league structure is the same as last year. HUH? This is where Live lost me.
No NBA format, no conferences, no web access, no nothing. WowÖ. I was shocked and hurt. This is the part of the game that made me realize that someone is completely out of touch with basketball culture. This is what we got: The ability to draft, play each team a certain number of times, stat tracking and thatís it. Live 10 has very generic leagues and that is no longer going to get it. We are spoiled by the competitor and will accept nothing less at this point. Here is the advice: ďLess features and gimmicks, and more real-life basketball stuff!Ē Ya dig? I will give the competitors this much, hoopers dream of making it to the NBA one day. People donít really care as much about following along with their favorite team like they would in football, baseball, or hockey. Leagues, online play, RPG modes, and so forth are the future of basketball gaming, not fanfare. Ok, Iím done ranting. Good thing is, they are listening and they have a list of things to improve the league structure for Live 11.

Overall, online play gets a D+. I can see what the developers were trying to do and Iím not mad at them for their vision. This really needs an overhaul guys, for real.

This is an initial review of the game. Iíve read the IGN review and I believe there are some people who are FSS players and BSS players. I donít know if the guy who wrote the IGN review really knows basketball like that. I think he would be considered a casual gamer that can play basketball games or an FSS player. If you are wondering about FSS and BSS players, read my blog.

I will be comparing the two games next week so until then, give Live a try. I havenít played the final version of 2K10 yet but so far, Live 10 is the best basketball game I have ever played, and I have played every basketball video game ever made. .
Comments
# 1 Sovartus @ Oct 4
TreyIM2 @ Oct 4 (1 Hour Ago)
Bruh, I like your review, overall, and I don't know if you read my blog about IGN's lackluster review but yea, u get the idea that the dude is NOT a true sports gamer, just like many of these game reviewers around the net. I spoke to that, already.
Now, I haven't played the retail version yet but I know what u meant about lack of control on D based on the demo...but I learned that's not really what's happening there. It's about learning the angles, the player you're using to guard with, the player your up against, and your help. Once I realized that in the demo, I got wood (no homo). Yea, I was a 2Ker, for the majority of the last 10yrs but I rocked on a few Lives since then. The lock down D on 2K spoils a person, and, I think so did Live's before. I rocked hard on Live 08 but only played the Live 09 demo. It seemed the same for those two years. Live 10's D is different as it makes you actually play D, at least in the demo. I don't expect that to go away in the retail version so I know I will still love it.

The post game is something I did notice that has changed. I liked 08's more than 09 because they modified it a bit but I can't go too hard on speaking on 09's since I only played the demo last year. Live 10's post game is actually lacking compared to both of those from what I noticed in the demo. It's been simplified; possibly to implement some of the other offensive controls and such.

The online stuff, I don't care about. I don't really play online, much, in any game but maybe, just maybe, since there seems to be no cheese factor, and the cheese is apart of why I don't online game, I may have to get into the online, this year.
I have "officially retired" from NBA2K although I have yet to play the demo but, I have to be honest about my own Favre factor, since I too am a Libra. Indecision is one of the things we, unfortunately, do best, but I am NOT getting 2K on Tues. That's for sure. I will see how I feel down the line after playing the demo on Thurs.
 
# 2 superstarshad @ Oct 4
Awesome review bro! I haven't purchased a basketball game since bulls vs blazers, but I download the demo's from 2k and EA yearly. In the past I preferred live over 2k, but since 2k hooked me in with the draft combine purchase I'm seriously considering purchasing 2k. Its funny how a lot of 2k fans are opting to hold off on 2k10, or not purchase the title all together. What a catch 22! People complain about EA's sports monopoly, but their not going to support the competition with the same blind faith they give madden year in an out. Their's an excellent book that came out a couple of years back called, the tipping point. From a buisness standpoint, this is an excellent opportunity for EA to gain ground on 2k. They should've released the game one week before 2k, with a 19.99 price tag.
 
# 3 iLLosophy @ Oct 4
Great review man. You have definitely made my choice much more difficult to make....
 
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