E3 2018: NBA Live 19 Preview
Last year, EA Sports NBA Live franchise made some significant strides. Sure, they barely put a dent into 2K’s NBA juggernaut, but they made some gains improving both gameplay and presentation. There is no question they certainly have a way to go as 2K is out to a commanding lead both in terms of sales numbers and time spent refining their game. However, if NBA Live can maintain the momentum they established with NBA Live 18, it won’t be long before we start to see 2K fans jump ship.
At EA Play in Hollywood this past week, I managed to get some hands-on time with NBA Live 19 and one thing is for certain, the devs behind the scenes remain committed to pushing the franchise forward. Within seconds of my demo, I was immediately impressed with how detailed the player animations were and the presentation seemed better than ever. It felt like a true AAA EA Sports game. In the past, I felt like NBA Live was EA’s bastard step-child but this isn’t the case anymore, not by a long shot.
A Visual Stunner
After jumping on an Xbox One version, I selected a game between the Cavs and the Warriors, because of course. As I just mentioned, the most glaring improvement is the game’s appearance. More specifically, the stadiums looked terrific and the player animations were more life-like than ever before. The developers have done a nice job pushing the graphics as far as they can, within the limitations of the hardware, and it shows.
Likewise, player movements are fluid. Which makes for an NBA experience that looks and feels more natural. Players seem more responsive, which contributes to a better sense of realism. Not to mention players like LeBron James, and Stephen Curry move like they should. Granted, I am not convinced it’s on par with what 2K has been able to accomplish but make no question, momentum is on EA’s side.
Much of the progress this time around can be chalked up to ‘Real Player Motion’ where even players without the ball react and respond better. There are also a ton of moves at your disposal. For a noob like me, I stuck with the basics but for those experienced NBA ballers there is a lot to offer here. Things like jabs steps and pump fakes was something I accomplished with ease, which hasn’t always been the case for me when it comes to NBA Live.
I never felt intimidated with NBA Live 19. It was easy to pick up and play. And most importantly have fun. I felt in control and there was this sense of freedom while the ball was in my hands.
It was also the little things I noticed that made the experience seem more interactive this time around. Like the way a player will save the ball and fall into the cameramen. You’ll also see players talking trash. It’s all makes for an NBA experience that looks and feels closer to the real thing. It’s a good thing EA Sports is staying the course with NBA Live because this year basketball fans are going to want to take notice of NBA Live 19.
NBA Live 19 will be released on PS4 and Xbox One on September 7, with a free demo coming on August 24th.