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XBox Reviews: NBA Live 2005


NBA Live 2005 screenshots


The Final Say!


NBA Live 2005
 Review Date: November 2004
Review Score:
Distributed By: EA

The award winning NBA Live series finally returns on the XBox gaming console and once again promises gamers another thrilling basketball experience! Although NBA Live 2005 uses the same gaming engine from 2004 that is based on the 10-man freestyle engine that uses real motion capture technology to yield authentic court action, it also features all the authentic teams and players of the NBA franchise and to make things even better, this current incarnation of NBA features a variety of freestyle modes that really takes console basketballing to the next evolutionary stage.

The most noticeable difference (as just mentioned) is the new freestyle modes that basically lets players do a variety of actions when they are in the air that include user-controlled tip-ins, putbacks and adjustable mid-air lay-ups and dunks. For instance, if your opponent misses a shot, you can steal the attack and throw the ball back into the centre or the new tip-in move that allows smaller players to snipe the ball from taller players. The Freestyle air mode also allows your players to perform a variety of manoeuvres in the air to help slam dunk that ball.

Some of the biggest additions in the game include the new All-Star Weekend that allows gamers to play up to four events that include the Rookie Challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest, the Three-Point Contest and the All-Star Game. To keep with the realism of the NBA franchise, the Rookie Challenge and the NBA All-Star Game are played at a faster pace than the regular games which means more plays and less fouls that really takes it out of you because you have to be on your feet (or hands) at all times. The Three-Point Challenge  is also quite entertaining and each player also has their own signature shooting style that really increases the playability and enjoyment of this mini-game and it should also be noted that it's a an extremely fun multiplayer gamer. With that said, NBA Live 2005 features up to four players for some thrilling basketball action.

NBA Live 2005 also features all the regular gaming modes from the previous game for that quick fix of basketball or for the complete season of NBA. Although the majority of the game is quite "perfect", there are a few problems that include the lack of substitution notifications and also a limited replay timer that unfortunately causes you to miss some great replays because of the timing issue. Fortunately these small problems do not hamper the gameplay of this title and this is as close as you can get without actually being 6'5" and playing in the NBA.

Graphically, NBA Live 2005 is a visual treat on the XBox and once again features the real faces of many of the stars of NBA such as Shaq or Oliver Miller. All the character models are quite detailed and feature a rather high polygon count that help with the realism of the game and match that with some amazing texture details and it's almost as if you are watching a real basketball match on television. 

As per usual, the stadiums have been accurately modelled on their real-world counterparts with various "EA" propaganda advertised in all the stadiums. It should also be noted that this game features some beautiful reflective surfaces and of course some extremely nice lighting effects from the lights that grace these huge basketball stadiums.

The audio commentary of NBA Live 2005 features the talents of Marv Albert and Mike Fratello (you must be fans of NBA or have cable television) to really appreciate these two voices. The commentary is rather fluid and dynamic and although it sometimes becomes repetitive, it really helps immerse the gamer into the world of NBA. As per usual, the game contains all the sounds of American basketball, such as the screams of fans, the sounds of balls hitting the wooden court and of course players running around. There is also a traditional "pumping" EA music soundtrack that also helps get gamers into the spirit of the NBA.

In conclusion, NBA Live 2005 is an awesome game that brings a few new additions to this highly popular franchise. If you have never played a basketball game before than I would highly recommend NBA Live 2005 to you and if you own the previous games, than there is enough in this game to purchase it because once again EA have gone to extremes in bringing the best NBA has to offer on the XBox gaming console. It's as close to playing basketball without really being there!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2004 www.impulsegamer.com