What are your impressions of NBA Live 15 ahead of release?
Steve Noah: NBA Live 15 still has some odd passing animations and quite a few bad animations in general, but it is a lot better than last year, especially on the atmosphere and graphics side of the house. The ESPN broadcast camera angle is perfect, make sure you try it out.
No sliders, and the absence of player edits, will eventually kill this game for me. It feels sluggish and needs to be sped up just a little bit. I do enjoy the net physics, spacing seems to be a little better and the controls. I feel more in control of my player, with almost no sliding whatsoever. But man, the shoes, though, they are to die for. The detail is scary good.
The fast break is fun, but I'm seeing too many people get dunked on in traffic. One thing that really bothers me is that for some reason, fast players like John Wall and Dame Lillard slow down to a snail pace when they are ahead of the pack and defenders catch up and sometimes pass them to get into position. That shouldn’t happen with the fastest players in the game, with or without the ball.
Getting adjusted to the quick release points on jumpers will take some time to get used to. Some of the blocked shot animations I saw were very well done. I had a few nicely timed blocks with Westbrook that opened my eyes as I camped out in instant replay mode watching it over and over again. AI player movement is stagnant, many times players are just standing around waiting for something to happen on default settings, so make sure you set player movement to auto. It helps.
There really aren't too many post moves and it feels a little odd having to press the stick in to get into post position. It's great to finally see the AI help on defense, but it seems the AI is a little brain dead in the paint, making it too easy to get inside and score.
Late game AI isn’t up to snuff. LeBron held the ball without a dribble and hoisted a turn around 2-pointer at the buzzer when down three. On another occasion, I was down three with 10 seconds left and the AI passed it inside the paint and the player just sat there until a three-second call was made. I ended up having a chance to tie things up with a 3 at the buzzer, but missed. Having a decent game only to have the AI completely whiff on late game situations is a disaster.
While the rebounding animations are a lot better, we need a box out button, so we can battle for position. I'm seeing too many on the ball steals, even bench players are swiping from Kyrie Irving. I'll have to bump up the foul sliders and test it out.
I had a nice dunk with Westbrook early on, but for some odd reason, after going into replay mode and coming back out of it, the bucket didn’t count. That was strange. A few people have mentioned to me that they have been fouled on a 2-point shot and were given three free throws, but I haven't seen that myself.
If this game had a create-a-player mode that you could take online with your friends and challenge others, I'd really be happy.
Robert Kollars: With the lack of media for the game, it was starting to feel like NBA Live 14 all over again. Luckily though, this isn't the case. While I wouldn't claim NBA Live 15 is on the same level as the "other game," it's still a decent size jump from last year's debacle.
Some of the biggest improvements you will notice right away is in the graphics and animations department. NBA Live 14 suffered horribly from the lack of contextual animations, and the flow of the game suffered because of it. In Live 15, the amount of newer animations is noticeably better from the minute you fire the game up. That's not to say Live 15 is perfect in that department, because it's not. Users will still notice a lack of proper animations in the paint, and and some of the ones that are there are just flat out - well, wonky looking.
In the graphics department, users will notice a nice upgrade in player faces, and the arenas are second to none. Each team's arena feels like a living, breathing structure, and they each have a uniqueness that is welcomed and helps differentiate the clubs. In regards to the actual player models, the players with scanned faces look very good to great. Sadly though, it makes the ones who didn't get scanned look like they were drawn with a crayon (OK that may be an exaggeration - but still). The physical models look to be an upgrade also, although I struggle that some of the point guards in the league have 24-inch pythons for arms, unless of course they have been saying their prayers, and taking their vitamins.
The game play in Live 15 is an overall improvement, but still has areas that need to be cleaned up and corrected. I liken this to another EA title in MVP 04. The predecessor to MVP 05 showed the community what it's capable of, but it's not quite there yet. If EA really does bolster the team that will be working on NBA Live 16, it could be a very good year in 2015 for hoops fans.