NBA Live 06 Review

Developer: EA Sports Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: November 16, 2005 Also On: None

EA Sports’ NBA Live 06 was unimpressive and felt dated on the current generation consoles. They decided to go for another shot with Live 06 on the Xbox 360, and I’m disappointed when I say that there’s still a lot to desire with this version of the game.

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When you read this, you’re reading it correctly: there are two gameplay modes in NBA Live 06. Two. There’s Play Now, where you play an exhibition-style game with an NBA team against any other NBA team. Then there’s Season, where you play through a season with an NBA team. After a season, you’re finished with the game. There’s no Dynasty mode, so you can’t even continue after a single season. Needless to say, this game is so lacking in features that it’s difficult to care much for it. There aren’t even Freestyle moves that were bragged about in the current-generation versions. There is absolutely nothing creative about this game, spare the interactive main menu.

At least the gameplay on-court isn’t bad. The controls are tight on the Xbox 360 version, which is a problem I had with the current-gen editions. There’s a good balance between three-pointers, mid-range shots, and lay-ups and/or dunks. There aren’t any stupid fouls or questionable shots. I only have two gameplay-related gripes. The first is that the free throw system is far too difficult to get a feel for. In order to shoot a good shot, you have to slowly drag the right thumbstick down, then slowly move it up. If there is much movement inbetween the up/down motion, you’ll almost always brick the shot. The second problem is the camera. I’m pretty disgusted with the camera, actually. It’s no matter which camera configuration you choose, almost every one of them is too far away from the court. I can’t count the number of fast breaks I had to slow down in order to let the camera catch up to the action. Also, there were many times where I was under the basket, fighting other players for a rebound, only to lose the battle because I couldn’t see what was going on.

This camera problem goes alongside some of the graphic issues that I have. NBA Live 06 is a beautiful game, no dobut. The courts look great and the player models are fantastic. There is a ton of detail, from player faces to crowd animation. The only problem is that everything nice starts to look ugly when animation frames start dropping and the frame rate drops to a disgusting level. Not only that, but some of the animations are still very unrealistic–I’ve seen players go for layups when they were at least a dozen feet away from the basket. I’ve seen players run one way, magically turn around on a dime, and complete a windmill dunk. I’d have thought that in a basketball game where the visuals were obviously such a large focus that maybe the animation would have been a little smoother and realistic.

Overall, NBA Live 06 still isn’t on par with other basketball games. The gameplay still needs a few touches, there obviously needs to be more to do in the game, the glitchy animations and stuttery frame rate both need to be fixed, and I hope I never see such bad camera angles again. Even with these gripes, if you liked NBA Live on other consoles, I’d recommend that you rent Live 06 for the Xbox 360 to see the beginning of the next generation for this franchise.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 1
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 5.8
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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