previews\ Aug 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

NBA Live 10 - 360 - Preview 2

Right up there with the Madden NFL franchise, EA Sports' NBA Live franchise has been one of the publisher's most popular sports properties for nearly two decades now. The series has certainly had its ups and downs and faced lofty competition from 2K Sports and their NBA franchise, but it looks like NBA Live is looking to meet them head on with their upcoming title in the series, NBA Live 10.

NBA Live 10 features a new direction for the series, focusing on player movement and a sense of fluidity that wasn't present in previous iterations of the franchise. The way the players move across the court is a lot more natural and realistic in this year's game, and they'll have several new moves that hedge on their speed and momentum, which is a great touch. GameZone was recently given some hands on time with a demo build of the game, and we were able to see just what the new NBA Live title has in store for basketball fans.

The demo presented an exhibition match between the Orlando Magic and LA Lakers, inspired by this year's NBA Finals showdown between the two teams at the Staples Center. The demo was big on presentation, showcasing each team's starting five before throwing you into the game amidst the cheers of the fans.

The on-court action definitely had a different feel to it from previous years. The players moved a bit more deliberately than before, and much less floaty. Simply running at the basket and trying to close in enough for a good shot is no longer a viable option, as that’s a good way to get the ball stolen. Instead, you have to be a lot more strategic with your offense, and a passing game is definitely key. However, should you get an opening where you can fast break through your opponents, the game’s animation system will do a great job of reflecting this and letting you pull off some great looking dunks. Additionally, defense requires you to pay attention to the ball and your players at all times, otherwise you'll get stuffed by your opponent pretty easily.

While our time with the demo was brief (the game only lasted two 3-minute quarters) it did show a lot of promise for the game, as well as the focus on realism and more deliberate and strategic gameplay. Look for NBA Live 10 to launch this October.

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