NBA LIVE 15 was Originally scheduled to release October 7th 2015 alongside its “Arch Rival” but was delayed after community feedback following a showing at Gamescom the development team took an extra three weeks to “Polish” the game. Eventually releasing October 28th 2015 which was opening day of the Actual 2014-2015 NBA Season. Some Fans were rightfully skeptical of the final product while other long time NBA LIVE fans were eager to hit the hardwood.
Within hours the internet was flooded with reviews and scores of the game for eager fans to read and make up their minds if this years installment is worth a buy. Far too often these days games can be far from a finished product when they ship and usually a day 1 patch can’t fix most issues. In some cases it can take weeks or even months before the game becomes what developers and consumers hoped for. The SGO Team decided it would be a good time to revisit some of these titles and review them well into their life cycle and see if they hold up the test of time and still prove to be worth a buy.
We continue our Midterm Review series with an NBA LIVE 15 Review. In hopes of more accurately portraying the ins and out of the game in much more in-depth fashion than the average review, which is considerably time limited. Having months to breakdown the game and fully understand it’s systems and mechanics while the average reviewer may only have had a fews days to give a general overview.
Much like its cover athlete Damian Lillard NBA LIVE 15 is seen as a bit of an underdog at this point in the Basketball Gaming community, but be sure to keep an open mind as we take a look at each aspect of the game.
NBA LIVE 15 has 6 core game modes each delivers a unique and fun gameplay experience.
TIP OFF – Quick Match local multiplayer (1-4 Players) or single player VS the CPU, Fully customizable NBA head to head games and playable daily Match-ups from the real NBA season.
ULTIMATE TEAM – Build your own Fantasy team of current NBA players and Past Legends, play fantasy challenges vs CPU teams submitted by the community weekly as well as over 120 Fantasy challenges VS the CPU each with their own Themed Description, Entry Requirements and Rewards upon completion. Also Online Head to Head VS other users or play against any regular NBA team at any time. this mode is very similar to the popular Ultimate Team modes From Madden NFL Football and FIFA rewarding users with coins that can be spent on virtual card packs containing Players, Coaches, Arenas, Jerseys, Logos and more. This mode also includes an “Auction System” where users can buy and sell items.
RISING STAR – Create a player and Begin your NBA Career as a Prospect in the Jordan Showcase, after playing a game to showcase your talents you’ll be drafted by NBA team and start your journey as an NBA Rising Star. You can play or simulate games to earn skill points (SP) to upgrade your players Offensive and Defensive attributes. All stats are tracked and your players Appearance, Accessories , Shoes and Play Style is fully customizable.
HEAD 2 HEAD (H2H) – Compete against other users online Quick Matches any NBA Teams. Also “Head 2 Head” Seasons is a seed based Quick Match mode VS online users, Win a certain amount of games to advance to a higher “League” (1-10) starting at League One the Max League Level is Ten each level requiring more wins to advance. Head 2 Head Also features “Best of Seven” where users can play friends in a Seven game playoff series with fully tracked stats and All-Time records. This mode features leaderboards (although they do not work correctly as of March 5th 2015) and “Tournament” mode which simulates a playoff like tournament but doesn’t seem to be populated with enough users to ever play.
DYNASTY – Start a Career as an NBA General Manager in this fully featured Franchise Association mode complete with a optional fantasy draft and general manager duties (Trades,Player Contracts, Free Agent signings. Also Coaching Tasks like player development, Rotation etc. I found this mode to be rewarding and entertaining as it does a good job of making the user feel like you’re not wasting time grinding away. Simulating games is also an option, letting users sim to precise points in the game and surprisingly fun due to the ability to “Jump In” and take over the game at any moment. I found taking over close games late in the 4th quarter especially fun.
LIVE SEASON – Play along with the real NBA Season, Re-live or Rewrite the biggest moments of the current NBA season or play along with any teams actual real life season schedule.
GRAPHICS and PRESENTATION
LIVE 15’s graphics have vastly improved from the last installment of the series (NBA LIVE 14). The players for the most part all look like their real life counterparts, as sweat and facial expressions are more realistic than ever. The player textures look very realistic and the court reflections show off a great lighting system, both of which make like look amazing. Presentation is something EA is really good at and with NBA LIVE 15 it definitely shows. As an NBA and Gaming fan it’s hard not to fall in love with the menus and overall presentation at first sight. LIVE 15 also does a great job of keeping menus quick and seamless, showcasing great content and easy navigation.
The Gameplay of NBA LIVE 15 isn’t perfect but then again games rarely are, but that being said the gameplay is pretty great. It definitely has more of an “Arcade” than “Simulation” feel, but that is a good thing since its main rival (NBA2k) boasts simulation gameplay that is far from perfect and can be unrealistic at times. The gameplay of NBA LIVE 15 is actually refreshing and fun. The mechanics make for consistent and reliable gameplay, although the shooting took some getting used to, after a few games I was able to make defenses pay for leaving me open. This is something that should go without saying in a basketball video game but it’s nice to rely on open shots going in at a fairly realistic amount unlike NBA2k where open shots seem to miss at a much higher rate sadly. Overall I think NBA LIVE 15 does a better job with shooting than NBA2K15. Defense feels ok for the most part as steals and blocks are realistic, no clipping occurs when attempting blocks or steals (like NBA2k) or excessive reaching foul calls. Defending the basket from Dunks and Layups seems to be too difficult due to offensive players seeming overpowered at times when attacking the lane in an attempt to score. The controls are easy to learn and fun to use even featuring a Button for the “Euro-Step” move, which adds a level of strategy when attacking the basket. If you’re new to NBA LIVE 15 definitely give it time and practice; remember its a unique style basketball game best compared to the previous version.
NBA LIVE 15 is fun and even addicting at certain times, the positive aspects for the most part overshadow much of the negative points of the game. LIVE 15 will provide hours of fun to open minded users.
LIVE 15 has a ton of replay-ability between it’s various modes mentioned above. Users have tons of content and gameplay that should last them the entire year. EA has done a great job of delivering new content and updates at a fairly quick and timely manner reflecting the current affairs of the real life NBA Season.
If you’re a Basketball gaming fan NBA LIVE 15 is a must have. Not only because of the great presentation but because overall the game is moving in a great direction with steady improvement. At this rate it definitely has a chance to return to it’s former glory. With NBA2K Dominating the NBA gaming scene for the past few years NBA LIVE 15 is a refreshing and unique hoops gaming experience that any true Basketball Gamer can appreciate. Remember it’s not NBA2k and that should be a good thing, having the benefit of choice and variety in gaming is something should all appreciate. In closing I highly recommend NBA LIVE 15 to anyone that plays Basketball Video games.
FINAL SCORE: 7.2 out of 10
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The original score was adjusted to reflect the SGO’s move to a 20 point grading scale. – Editorial Team