NBA Live [rating: 4/5]
EA Mobile have come out with some cracking titles for the iPhone recently, pushing the little handheld device to it’s gaming limits with both graphics and game play. Rock Band, Madden and Fifa 10 and the Need For Speed series are helping to make the iPhone/iPod touch a serious player in the handheld gaming device market.
EA’s next big title, big in name and in price, just like EA’s previous big sport titles NBA Live is impressive on all counts.
So what do you get for your 10 bucks? NBA is all about realism, all the licensed teams and players are there including unlockable legends, and as you would expect with this is displayed with quality and shine that you would see on any NBA court.
In game graphics look good and you can recognize the individual players easily but it’s in replay mode that the graphics really come to life and it makes scoring a spectacular basket all the more rewarding. The sound effects of the game and the quality of soundtrack is perfect to set just the right atmosphere. There is also in game commentary and although this is a little sparse it doesn’t detract from the overall feel of the game.
As is normal with any such game there are various options of game-play. For a quick game you can jump into Exhibition Mode and play a one-off game between and of the 30 NBA teams. For the basketball connoisseur though there is the Season Mode or Playoff Mode to choose from.
Both of these option over some intense game play and for this reviewer at least progress through the season mode or even via the more direct route of the Playoff mode was pretty difficult, however as my first true basketball sim the game was easy to pick up and the frantic game play was enjoyable to be part off.
The controls are simple, there’s a virtual D-pad on the left hand side of the screen and then two option for passing, shooting, defending and blocking on the right. What is innovative though is the fact that the virtual D-pad floats in the sense that the D-pad will move to wherever you touch on the left side of the screen. This makes things so much easier to control as in the heat of an attack you don’t have to worry about aligning your finger onto the D-pad, it just magically appears under your finger. I hope to see this appear in all of EA’s future titles where a virtual D-Pad is required.
Adding a little flair to your attacks is easy too and with a flick of of your finger you’ll be pulling off some flash moves and ultimately some impressive dunks. There is a nice balance of flair and practicality though as attempting to pull of trick moves and dunks does not always pay off.
In game options offer the more demanding player the opportunity to tweak their game-play with a variety of play sets that can be used for both offense and defense and there are statistics galore to to track your teams and individual players achievements.
With all that said there are a few issues with the game. The biggest one is the fact that there is no multi-player option and in a sports title that is a major disappointment. The help files are also a little wordy meaning the best way to learn the game is hands on, although the initial pre-game tutorial does get you a long way into the game.
Overall NBA Live will satisfy any basketball gamers needs and while it’s not quite a buzzer beating, game winning shot from half court it’s certainly a slam dunk of an app.
- The floating D-pad control
- Easy controls even for a beginner
- Looks and sounds great
The Not So Good
- No multi-player mode
- Sparse in-game commentary
- Help pages are very wordy
Reviewed By: Craig Willis