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NBA Live 08 Review

Review by Matt Congdon
Score: 2 out of 5

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The first EA Sports game that I played was Madden 64. I was horrified. I explicitly asked for NFL QB Club 98 for Christmas, but I was stuck with madden (what does my mom know about football or games). In my eyes this game sucked hard. How can you make a game without an NFL license or endorsements? When wanting to play as the Patriots I was stuck with some team named “Foxboro”, not to mention that the graphics sucked and so did the game play. I would describe it the pinnacle of boring. I promised this would be the last EA Sports game I would buy.
Later in life, I got a PS2 and decided to give EA Sports another chance on a different console. I was thrilled at Madden 2001,. The game kicked ass, and it kept getting better as the years passed. EA Sports produced a string of brilliant games and that kept getting bigger and better. I thought this was the kind of company that was out for the players not the dollars. Their hockey and basketball games all were a lot of fun to play and somehow the developers improved them from year to year.
Of course, EA Sports let me down. They suck again, They have started a long down spiral, passing mediocre a year or two ago and they are now about as bad as I can imagine [[I’m trying to avoid obscenity. Sucks is ok, but I draw the line at shit. MDS]]. NBA LIVE 08 illustrates this point. This game is crap. EA Sports just threw money and a deadline at a development team. It is inexplicable to me how a company can mess up basketball so badly after having good editions for last generation consoles. The game looks alright on an HDTV, but on an SDTV looks very distorted and odd. It seems like there are a lot of fisheye type replay angles. There are so many flaws that, the decent game they might have had for PS2 is now damaged goods.

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First off, in the old Xbox 360 editions you were able to shoot around while the game loads. Now you are able to shoot around in a pitch black arena (how exciting!) until you pick a game type. Once you pick a game type and start loading it, it doesn’t allow for you to shoot around anymore. It kicks you to a super lame trivia question game. Not only do I not know who was the 4th pick in 1974 draft but I don’t really care. Trivia like this is way harder then the average basketball fan can handle. The points are useless in this game, nothing comes out of getting questions right, it doesn’t save it anywhere. Also it isn’t too rare to see a couple questions repeated in single game load screen. And loading takes way to damn long, in season mode I wasn’t not sure whether my console just froze, time stopped, or my house was hit by lightning and the electricity cut out. It literally takes 3-4 minutes to load a game in season mode. How is that even possible?
As far as the game play is concerned, it’s buggy, very buggy. There were a few instances where I could see my opponents’ feet out of bounds while dribbling yet there was never an out of bounds call. Also when dunking or shooting lay ups down low in the paint, your players act like retards. Half the time they throw it into the back of the backboard and the opponent gets it right away due to the out of bounds call. This is very common and easily the most frustrating thing. Imagine being down low, getting the ball and wanting your player to make an easy layup to the left. In reality, no pro b-ball player would go right and throw it out of bounds, yet this happens all the time in NBA Live. This is really inexcusable; not only does this break up the action big time, but if you really care about your game you may be tempted to throw down your controller.
The game’s penalty calling sucks too. For kicks I like to try an east vs. west game with 12 min quarters. There were 6 charging penalties in the first quarter, and after one quarter I was leading somehow by a ridiculous lead of 29-8. The way to win is easy. Give it to guy inside, wiggle right joystick hit x. Wash, rinse, repeat, then yawn,,,,repeat. This was when playing on the second highest difficulty level. I can’t imagine a lower level.

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I do not want to even get started on the ally-oop button. If you can use this successfully you have my utmost praise. Half the time they throw it behind the backboard on the dunk. You would think they would create the system a little smarter, maybe to know you don’t wish to oop it to the guy standing at half court, but it happens. I like to pull up layer icons to pass more effectively on transition. However this was much more difficult then it rightfully should have been due to default controller schematics. You must hold the RB button to bring up passing icons and tapping it ally-oops the ball. There’s a fine line between a tap and a hold. Couldn’t the developers have given this a little thought and come up with a better control system that would have eliminated stupid mistakes? I average about 6-7 half court oops to no one in particular in a game.
The graphics on this game are good. They are not quite as good as NBA 2k8’s and the facial models look pretty damn terrible. When dunking everything happens in fast motion and it seems like you might miss them if you bat an eye. Everything NBA LIVE 08’s graphics are surpassed in just about every way by NBA 2k8. The only thing I prefer about Live are the menus. They are super quick, extremely easy to navigate and pretty much how every game’s menus should be. 2k8’s are a disaster (but more on that next review) As far as sound, lives commentary is pretty good it makes sense and has a decent flow to it. Sure some dumb comments will be repeated, but hey this is the new EA sports.
As you can see, this game pretty much sucked. There is really no point to buying this game and I hope you don’t. The one part I did happen to like was the 3pt shootout. This is pretty fun and works pretty well. Every shooter is different and you have to master one to get good, or pick Jason Terry and hit 30 on the second time through. The 3pt contest really doesn’t add much to the game but is amusing once in a while.
Gilbert Arenas supposedly carries around 2 copies of the game to show how proud he is of himself for making the cover of this game. I agree it’s probably a great feeling to be on the cover of anything and for that reason he is right to be proud. If I were him though, I might carry around the game boxes but never the games just in that rare case someone might want to play. It would be pretty embarrassing to not even like your own game.

Gilbert0004.jpgIs he throwing away his copy of NBA Live 08?

My only solution is a complete EA Sports boycott. There games have been sucking for a while now (It’s true. Madden has gone downhill and the hockey game, which used to be the best hockey game, is virtually unplayable. – Matt S.), yet common gamers and moms looking for a decent birthday gift (it’s the thought that counts) have been supporting them for too long. Don’t even get me started about their online play - it’s a complete joke. The lag is unbearable and their pc games take forever to make connections. Come on people stop feeding the corporate giant known as EA, maybe soon they will make a game that sells for the only legit reason, ITS GOOD!

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