NBA Live 10 - PS3 - Preview 2

There have been a variety of knocks thrown in the direction of EA Sports NBA franchise over the years, from the pacing of the game to the way the controls are handled, and even to the blandness of the environments. A couple months back, at an event in the Vancouver, B.C., Canada area studios, EA stated that the NBA franchise had undergone a metamorphosis – that it had basically been reinvented from the ground up.

Well, as the cliché so aptly states, the proof is in the pudding.

This week GameZone received a very limited play disk of the upcoming NBA title for the PS3 – limited in that most of the menu features were disabled, only two teams were available to play with (Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando) and the game length was one half of the basketball game.

While on the surface that seems rather superficial, what was revealed in that brief foray into the newest edition of the franchise was rather substantial. The game has changed … a lot.

There is a new vibe and the pacing of the game is wonderful. Fast breaks actually feel like fast breaks, not slightly improved jaunts through knee-high mud, and the athleticism of the NBA players is on full display, from pick and rolls, to Dwight Howard’s short hooks when the defense collapses on him and all you see are arms and elbows trying to fend off the shot.

Dynamic DNA will be a factor in who has the hot hand, and whether players can go with long-range bombardment or if they have to pound it inside. Hey, and unlike the NBA Finals, when Kobe Bryant couldn’t buy a free throw, the Lakers' star was dropping the charity shots at his usual 85% rate. (Note to self: No cheap fouls on Bryant, he will pick you to death at the charity stripe.)

But there were a lot of other things apparent. The actual task of shooting has been relegated to one hot-button, the square, but how you position your body will determine the type of shot you take. For example, left thumbstick forward (for player movement) and run into the hoop, hitting the square button, will give you a lay-up. Perform the same action and hold down R2 at the same time and that lay-up becomes a dunk attempt.

The left analog stick will have other applications when it comes to the shot; if you move it in any direction while in the act of a jump shot, you go for glass and the bank shot.

All of the controls have been boiled down and seem much simpler and more intuitive – which, of course, puts the onus squarely on the gameplay and pacing. In that regard, NBA Live 10 was shining. This was truly a delightful one-half of a basketball game to play.

The audio commentary was spot-on with the action and the visuals were wonderful. It looked like the television view of the Staples Center and while some players were a little obscure, others were immediately identifiable.

NBA Live 10 is slated for release in early October and it seems a safe bet that GameZone will have a more in-depth preview disk before then, but from this early glance, it appears that NBA Live 10 is a more vibrant, more intuitive and much more entertaining release for the franchise. This looks to be on track to take EA Sports’ NBA franchise a giant leap forward and give NBA fans a whole lot to be excited about.

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