NBA Live 19 Review
The NBA Live series has come a long way since its foray into the current generation, and NBA Live 19 is no different in its improvements. Much like fans of NBA Live 19 cover athlete, Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, fans of the series have been trusting the process and with good cause. Each year, the NBA Live games have continued to improve, but while NBA Live 19 is a solid title, it has yet to overcome the opposition. Put simply, NBA Live 19 provides a fun experience, but not the most realistic of simulations.
Where sports games live or die is their gameplay, and NBA Live 19 has solid gameplay elements. While the game is not as technically sound as their competitors, NBA Live 19’s gameplay was extremely smooth and fluid. Essentially, the title did not feel as mechanical as others, and the gameplay flowed very well. The controls were also quite intuitive but playing on-ball defense still gives me some issues. Playing on both sides of the ball came relatively naturally, and the game was easy to pick up and play. There were a couple minor issues I had during the gameplay, such as not being able to call a timeout when I had the ball (and enough timeouts), but these were few and far between.
Besides the typical “Play Now” option, NBA Live 19’s primary modes of play include Franchise, Ultimate Team, and The One. Undoubtedly, The One is NBA Live 19’s featured game mode, where players can create their own players to rise to legendary status in The League and/or The Streets. In The League, players advance through their careers starting with getting drafting, signing contracts, and playing for the championship. In The Streets, you will play various tournaments around the world with different sets of rules, such as dunks being worth 5 points. The One mode also features Court Battles in which players must protect their own courts while going out to beat other courts in a conquest-like mode. This allows players to set their own rosters, rules, and create their own courts.
The Streets is my personal favorite mode in the game, with players being able to customize their Home and Away attire, and players can opt to play through this mode as either a male or female character. I also quite enjoyed the various rule sets and the ability to play in a 3-on-3 game. In addition to this, being able to set my own squad to suit my own player or my playstyle was another fun aspect. While The Streets and The One as a whole were positive experiences in NBA Live 19, the Franchise mode was a bit lacking in terms of depth and user experience.
Graphically, NBA Live 19 is up to far. The various NBA players whether they be household names like James Harden or even lesser known players all look authentic, with some exceptions. In addition, the NBA courts and the various street courts look great both in cinematics as well as during gameplay. Likewise, the soundtrack of the game is well done, but it does fade into the background at times as well. While the game looks good, moving between menus can be a bit cumbersome and feels sluggish at times. Overall, the presentation of NBA Live 19 is on point, and the various camera angles, especially the cell phone camera angles in The One, are engaging.
NBA Live 19 is the continuation of EA Sports’ road to redemption for the franchise and is largely a successful venture. While Kevin Garnett is not expected to hug NBA Live 19 and say “Y’all look so different”, it definitely feels like the NBA franchise is on the verge of getting that hug. With an overall smooth gameplay and a fresh The One mode, NBA Live 19 does enough to distinguish itself from competitors, but it does not rise above as the best simulation basketball game of the year. For those who much prefer a casual playing experience, NBA Live 19 has got you covered.
**PS4 review code provided by the publisher**
- The One
- Smooth gameplay
- Great presentation
- Mediocre franchise mode
- Not technically sound gameplay
- Minor gameplay issues