PS3 Review: NBA Live 09

Can this year’s NBA Live provide a slam-dunk in gameplay?

NBA Live 09 is back with the best playing basketball game in the category that rewrites the book on authenticity and makes good on the promise of 24/7 connectivity – but is still accessible enough for new users to get in on the ground floor.

New features like ‘Pick and Roll Control,’ ‘Defensive Lockdown Control,’ ‘Signature Playcalling’ and ‘Quickstrike Ankle-Breakers’ will make the Live experience fun, long-lasting and satisfying. For those in need of some extra coaching, NBA Live 09 takes you to training camp with the NBA Academy that gives you a chance to hone your skills.

NBA Live 09 has rewritten the rules and fundamentally shifted the way you look at sports simulation games. NBA Live DNA emulates – with absolute precision – an NBA player in every sense of the word and it does so dynamically.

Live 365 takes the statistical data of NBA Live DNA and brings it to life. NBA Live 09 is now constantly evolving and authentically reflects what you see on the court in your virtual experience. Just like the real NBA game, players get injured, free agents sign late, great players go cold and no-names breakthrough. If you’re a sports fan, this is a dream come true – NBA Live 09 is made fresh daily.

  • NBA Academy: Get the most out of your game and hone your skills when you jump into game with an all-new practice facility.
  • Quickstrike AnkleBreakers: Force your defender to step up and guess what you’ll do next. Trigger the turbo button and use the right analog stick for bold, responsive ball-handling moves to fake out your defender and create scoring opportunities.
  • Lockdown Control: A new risk reward system to lock in your check on defense. Get in tight on a strong shooting guard to take away his shot, or play back to keep a quick point guard from blowing by you.
  • Pick and Roll Control: This new two-man game mechanic lets you control both the ball handler and the screener, as you set screens and run two-man plays, with on court instructions popping up to guide you through each play.
  • Signature Playcalling: Introducing an accessible in game playcalling system that pushes on-court visualisation to guide you through the play. Linked to Live 365, this feature will suggest authentic plays for NBA’s stars to run on the court.
  • Extend your Game with EA Sports World: Create your own highlight reel then upload the video to EA Sports World to prove your passion to the world.

    The 2K series of NBA has been much better than EA’s over the years, so can 09 break the trend? Unfortunately not, although I have yet to review this year’s NBA 2K9, NBA Live 09 is a real disappointment for fans and non-fans alike. This year’s game follows FIFA 09’s realism by updating stats often; the problem is that you need a code on the manual for it to work. Unfortunately I didn’t get a manual with my review copy, so I was unable to tell if it made a significant difference or not.

    I could lie and say that I love Basketball games, unfortunately that wouldn’t benefit me or you by reading this. Over the years of playing and reviewing them, I’ve seen very little changes to the gameplay and NBA Live 09 sadly still feels clunky, awkward and lacks any real innovation that is much needed. I only got the PS3 version to play, so I can’t do a 360/PS3 comparison, but the game does look quite good visually, perhaps the game’s only redeeming feature.

    NBA Live 09 proves that visuals don’t mean anything if the gameplay is rubbish, and unfortunately that is the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure fans will enjoy it…although I’m guessing not as much as 2K’s offering. Out of all the game has to offer with its many modes, there’s nothing that really stands out from the crowd. Sure, the online play is perhaps the best the series has had so far, having 10 users play 5v5 is pretty good and the only fun that I recall having through playing the game.

    I found the controls to be very unresponsive and awkward. Trying to take the ball from the other team has always proved a problem for me, maybe I’m doing something wrong but I always end up fouling them, no matter what I do. Maybe some innovation on that part might have made it much better for me and maybe given it a lead over 2K9, but its pointless speculating now.

    The Verdict

    Another year and the NBA Live series seem to be the weaker of the 2. It has nothing that yells out great gameplay and instead is full of similar modes and awkward controls. One for the fans maybe, but I’m not sure how much when compared to 2K9.