Lacking in the presentation department and possessing inferior controls, the demo of “NBA Live 10” is still a solid round-ball simulation, but has some work ahead of it before it can hold the court with the 2K series.
Overall, the demo, which is currently available on the 360 marketplace, gave us enough of a glimpse of the title to see how it measures up with the competition.
Right now, it’s somewhere in between Spud Webb and Jason “White Chocolate” Williams.
For fans of the game that aren’t familiar with those names, let’s just put it this way: The game needs some work.
In spite of boasting solid player models and excellent animations, the presentation leaves something to be desired. Unlike the NBA 2K series, the excitement of watching a professional basketball game isn’t there. While taking free throws, the crowd sounds the same way as they would normally. With jumps in volume during steals, blocks and field goals, the game’s aesthetics are decent, but pale in comparison to the experience in older 2K games.
Is this a reason to stay away from the game? Absolutely not, but it definitely is a distraction for hardcore basketball fans that want everything to be as close to the real thing as possible.
That notion of realism comes into play a lot when you dissect the control scheme of Live 10. While the new dribbling and sizing up controls are effective, they take away from the fun by forcing you to press way too many buttons to eliminate defenders and score baskets. Unlike the NHL series that features a brilliant and intuitive control scheme, the Live series still feels like it’s stuck in last generation.
As far as gameplay is concerned, once you master the controls, the game is more like chess than anything else and lacks the fast-paced nature that is professional basketball. The transition game in Live 10 also needs work, as the AI [which on one occasion, dribbled out-of-bounds with no one around] usually fails to pick up your drift and run along with you when you want to speed things up.
Things are even worse when you try and set up the offense. Even when using the new dribbling controls, it’s incredibly difficult to get the space needed to take high percentage shots and as a result, you’ll either have to rely way to much on pick and rolls and big men in the paint. After getting the ball stolen from you every time you try and cross a defender over, you’ll want to break their ankles with your controller. Again, mastering the controls looks to be pivotal in this year’s version of Live and must if you want to enjoy it.
On defense, one bad move with a defender and the offense will quickly take advantage and drain buckets. As a matter of fact, even when guarding a player, all it takes is small amounts of space for the opposition to be able to sink their shots. This becomes frustrating especially when players are hitting shots left and your right in front of them.
All these problems considered, Live 10 will benefit a lot from some bells and whistles in the presentation department and even more from some tweaking in the gameplay and AI.
As of right now, it’s pretty, but doesn’t have the substance and depth of the competition.
With a release date in early October, there may be time to remedy some of the game’s ailments, but with so many it looks like the 2K series will be king for another season.