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.

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