NBA Live 2003
Finally the NBA Live experience we were all expecting?
Are you ready for powerful dunks, fade-away threes and half court buzzer beaters? If you are, then EA Sports is back with NBA Live 2003 and with close inspection it seems that after two years of poor PS2 titles, they finally got it right.
When I hear that NBA training camps are starting up on TV I get the biggest smile on my face because I know that in a very short time the new NBA games are just around the corner. I admit I was never a huge basketball fan, although I did play in high school and tend to shoot some hoops from time to time with friends just down my street, but I have always liked playing NBA games on a console. No other NBA game makes me smile like NBA Live does though. I have no explanation for it though and after two years of awful titles I still had that same smile across my face. Maybe cause of the rumors I heard surrounding the game or maybe cause I just don't get out much. Either way, I jumped at the chance to pick up the game the second I saw the truck drive by my window with the morning's shipment.
Once again the main features of game play are back in this newest version. 1 on 1, playoffs, season, exhibition. Anyway you decided to play the game, expect a tone of offensive ability. Dunks, ally oops, and 3 pointers make the scoring go threw the roof depending on how long the quarters are.
During game play the controller is setup for 4 basic offensive and 4 defensive plays based on the 4 main buttons off the controller. Each is very simple to follow and each corresponds to NBA style play. Let me just say though that calling these plays is never needed as NBA Live tends to have an excess of end to end action. This is not a bad thing though, as it injects a game that at its core is a simulation with an "arcade" feel. A great combination. So even though you can seem to do some unbelievable catch behind the back dunks, you can still pump fake, drive left and pull up for a easy 2 point jumper. My main complaint about the game is the unreal 80% shooting that seems to show up in every game. 4 minute quarters and the score is still 110-105. NBA games are 3 times longer then that and most games don't get over 100 points.
The newest and most exciting aspect of NBA Live 2003 is the Freestyle Control. It gives the player that controls the ball an arsenal of offensive weapons. Not just 3 or 4 moves either but 2 or 4 variations of a few different moves. Cross-Overs, Spins, and Post Ups just to name a few. This feature alone makes NBA Live 2003 beat out the competition. The best part is that when done right you can even throw in a few combo variations and find a clear path to the net for an easy fan frenzy dunk. The greatest part about this feature is that Marv Albert took time out of one of his days to do voice overs in order to teach you the basic controls - and who doesn't love Marv Albert.