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NBA LIVE 19 pleasantly surprises; helps revitalize basketball game franchise


IMPROVED GAMEPLAY


NBA Live has been on the upswing for several installments and NBA Live 19 might be the title that help closes the gap on the NBA 2k franchise. With enhanced gameplay physics and more fluid motion, NBA Live 19 reaches unprecedented heights. The rigid and unrealistic gameplay of year's past makes way for a more responsive realistic player movement where jab step, triple threat, pump fake and drop step are all easily executable moves. The title put an added focus on one-on-one play where taking control of the defender becomes more lifelike than ever as you are forced to guard on-ball or off-ball and take away back door cuts as well as anticipating the offensive player's next move. Overall the much overdue overhaul of the gameplay gives a much higher replay value for users and crisper overall experience for players.

THE STREET MODE

In NBA Live 19, you can now venture beyond Rucker Park and Venice Beach to take the blacktop across the globe. Drawing inspiration from the NBA Globalizing its game, the EA's newest basketball installation allows players to travel to all corners of the Earth to play in a bevy of landscapes and environments.



While the WNBA will always pale in comparison to the NBA's popularity, the ability to play as some of the top female stars on the planet opens up a whole new level of excitement for fans of both leagues. Now users will have the ability to play as and recognize WNBA players and WNBA die-hards have another reason to buy the game and play with their favorite team or as their favorite player.


TURN DOWN THE DIFFICULTY
Growing up playing the NBA LIVE franchise, I was accustomed to playing in superstar mode with regularity and no issues whatsoever. You can throw that mindset out the window for this rendition, since winning in superstar mode is equivalent to try to block Joel Embid's hook shot. It ain't going to happen! The developers sided far too much in the favor of AI, as trying to stop an mediocre offense in this advanced gameplay mode is like pulling teeth. If you want a challenge, be sure to up the level of difficulty to the highest setting, but don't come back crying when you've been forewarned!

Limited Jersey selection

With the way the NBA markets its game and devises seemingly a dozen different throwback, alternative and ethnic centric jersey, I was surprised to see a basic home, away and signature jersey selection from the play now screen. The developers should incorporate more style and customizable options from the main menu for added entertainment value if nothing else.

The One

This mode has never been a personal favorite of mine, but users now have the ability to unlock a new featured called "Icon Abilities" that can be motified as you progress throughout the game mode. The presentation and overall ability to customize skills has been retooled to add a more in-depth dimension to this popular mode.

Verdict

Overall I was happy with my gameplay experience and feel that EA is finally turning the corner to give NBA 2K a run for its money. While the gameplay improvements have been noted, I believe it's important for the franchise to tweak the shooting meter as it's cartoonish layout is more reminscent of an arcade game than a simulation mode. With some minor tweaks to the shooting physics and dialing back the superstar AI, NBA Live can continue on its upward trend of recapturing a sizeable portion of the NBA gaming market.

Mario Tennis Aces destined to take Nintendo Switch's online community by storm




For most Nintendo Fans, the release of Mario Tennis Aces can't come soon enough. Less than three weeks away from the highly anticipated June 22nd rollout date, screenshots and rumored features have been leaked by Nintendo to various media outlets.


The most promising potential for the tennis title is the online capabilites allowing up to four players compete in doubles matches in addition to local play. Online tournaments appear to be the most groundbreaking and promising mode added to the franchise for the Nintendo Switch as there have only a handful of games that have fully utlized online play. Assuming Mario Tennis Aces takes a page out of Mario Kart, this looks to be a major step in the right direction as social play and tournaments take on a whole new life of its own.



Currently, there is a demo available for the Switch that allows users to choose up to playable five characters to get a flavor for the new gameplay mechanics and graphics engine. It appears as though the adorable Mario-led sports game straying away from the arcade classic and transitioning to a fast-paced, competitive sports arena with a depth of customizable options including building your energy meter to wear out opponents and seize momentum. For the time being, the short tutorial and demo are the only experience users can enjoy, but the release of Mario Aces appears destined to catch the Nintendo Online community by storm.





God of War for PS4 achieves rarified air



Kratos might be showing signs of slowing down, but the God of War is at its strongest and most complete in the PS4 installment that hit consoles in April. The perfect balance of gripping storylines along with fast and furious button mashing gameplay make this iteration the ultimate experience for newcomers to the franchise and hardcore fans alike.

Santa Monica Studio pays impeccable attention to detail in world building as well as character models. The PS4 graphics engine is fully utilized as gamers are immersed into the Norse Mythological world where Kratos' second wife passes away while he is responsible for raising and teaching survival skills to his son Atreus.



The tale is a heartwarming story of a father and son battling through evil and violent forces in Ancient MidGuard. The bond between father and son grows with each passing challenge. The duo help each other in unexpected ways as their journey represents the passing of the torch from Kratos to his young son Atreus.


God of War for PS4 has reached unprecedented heights by selling over 5 million copies within the first month of its release and sets the stage for the revival of a franchise that many had left for dead.

 
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