reviews\ Oct 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

NBA Live 10 - PS3 - Review

In the past, if there was any one thing that EASports NBA title needed to fix, one thing immediately apparent when the game first launched, it would have been the pacing of the gameplay. The players looked like they were running with leaden weights on their feet, or in mud.

EASports recognized that, scrapped previous code and started to build NBA Live 10 from scratch. What has been rendered up is a fluid game that is delightful in pacing, features spectacular finishes a la the NBA style of play and gets the franchise to a place where successive titles will have a foundation worth building on.

The game is missing some of the modes from previous iterations, such as the Be A Pro mode, which really was not all that compelling a component. This is a game that is, in many ways, barebones, but it is seemingly apparent that what EASports was looking to do was to rebuild the game, bring as much authentication to it as possible and then use it as the foundation for titles to come. If that was truly the intent – they succeeded.

The player skins look like their real-life NBA counterparts – for the most part, the arenas look great and bear the signature settings of the actual arenas, the presentation is very much broadcast quality, and there is even a sponsor that brings you key moments – like Dunk of the Night, brought to you by Sprite (the soda pop).

Like other EASports titles, NBA Live 10 immerses itself totally in the Dynamic DNA model, allowing players to update rosters with stats reflecting who’s got the hot shooting hand, who is injured, trades and such. Central to that is the new Dynamic Season mode that allows players to log in on a daily basis, update the roster and then play the games that were actually played that day, effectively allowing those players to alter the course of their favorite NBA team – for better or worse.

Another new mode is the Playoffs, in which the atmosphere of playoff NBA action is ramped up above that normally associated with the regular season. There is a tangible intensity to the atmosphere that creates a bit more of an adrenalin rush within the context of the game.

Online takes the game to new levels with the adidasLIVE Run, which allows players to become part of a team and each season is a month long. You can build a dream team for your fantasy squad and then go head-to-head against other players.

As you launch the game you are presented with a gym, replete with coaches that will allow you to unlock training sessions and learn the intricacies of some of the game elements. You can learn about the Quickstrike 2.0 Anklebreaker moves that take a hesitation move and then allows you to explode past a would-be defender. You can run the quick break from either an offensive or defensive perspective.

The controls for the game have been broken down and simplified. This is very much a game that you can pick up and play immediately. Shooting controls do have modifiers, such as holding the R2 trigger and hitting the square shooting button to attack the rim. Or hit R2, move the left thumbstick right or left to execute a hop move or spinning lay-up.

The alley-oop pass has been relegated to the triangle button, keeping players from having to do multiple keystrokes on controller antics to execute a seemingly simple play.

The commentary team of Marv Albert and Steve Kerr do a solid job, and the musical score that bridges games is decent.

NBA Live 10 is not as robust in terms of game modes, but it is a solid title that focuses on the game itself and not a lot of superfluous ideas that are not fully fleshed out. NBA fans should find the new NBA Live 10 a refreshing step up in terms of gameplay; this is about the game and in that regard NBA 10 does the job.

Review Scoring Details for NBA Live 10

Gameplay: 8.7
Simplified control elements, streamlined interface, Dynamic DNA add-ins – NBA Live 10 may not have a host of options when it comes to game modes, but what it does have is well realized.  

Graphics: 8.7
The animations are very good and some of the NBA players mirror their real-world counterparts in convincing fashion. There is a generic quality to some of the lesser known players, though and collision paths can seem a bit off at times.

Sound: 8.5
Nothing too new or innovative here, but solid commentary that – for the most part – is in step with the action, and a decent musical score to bridge from menu screens to games.  

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 8.2
Back to basics with this title? Maybe, but while the game is not huge in game modes, this is a title that feels rebuilt from the ground up and the results are solid.

Multiplayer: 8.5
Every time the online selection was chosen there were always games to be found, sporting a decent range of skills, from the newer players to hardcore gaming machines that could crush you and run up the score. The connections were strong and very little lag was experienced.

Overall: 8.5
NBA Live 10 took a step back, and then reinvented itself. The result is not a particularly robust selection of game modes, but what is here has been done well. The core and focus of the game is the NBA games and season, and in that regard, the dev team did a good job and served up an entertaining game that shows why those playing at the NBA level are there. Some of the finishes are amazing to watch.



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