NBA Live 2004

Games - NBA Live 2004 - Xbox review
NBA Live 2004 - XBOX review

EA's NBA title has been around for some time now. Over the years EA have tweaked and tweaked the game engine - through listening to feedback from the fans EA have managed to develop the ultimate and definitive Basketball title. NBA live 2003 met with great acclaim. Most gripes with NBA live 2003 were aimed at the speed of game play and uselessness of "off the ball players". I don't want to get too heavy on 2003 because it was awesome - but as soon as you play NBA Live 2004 you will see that any irritating bugs have been ironed out and lots of other fantastic extras have been added.

You now have complete control over the gaming environment. In the control panel you can alter (using a sliding scale) the varying sound levels as well as game speed, CPU involvement and lots, lots more.

Graphics-wise NBA Live 2004 is kicking some ass. The player models have been improved - movement is more fluid, player face look very much like their real-life counterparts. The players are all sporting the same brand of trainer as they do for real with Adidas, Nike & Reebok all present. Reflections on the court are looking amazingly real and the arenas have all undergone a major overall too.

You can now bust more moves than before. The most significant being the separation of the shoot button from the dunk button. You can now force your player to make a dunk even when you're back is facing basket. This opens up the game play nicely and gives a lot more option. Pro hop is also pretty cool - if you play this move on a drive your guy will try a jump stop. This move can make that little bit of space between you and the defender that can make the difference. Using the right trigger button you can now also control an "off the ball" player which is obviously advantages. Blocked shots on NBA 2003 always rebounded out of play - this "bug" has also been ironed out & now there is a chance of grabbing a rebound and making the basket. So overall the game play is more realistic & due to the new moves your options are opened up on attack. Defense in the NBA's has been a bit ragged but using NBA Live 2004's better AI you find the CPU will help you cover your bases more effectively.

The sound in NBA Live 2004 is pure quality. Banging Hip Hop provides the musical flavor & most of your favorite artists are in tow droppin' da phat beats! Although the hip hop track listing is wicked the main attractions are the new announcers, Marv Albert, on play by play, and his broadcasting partner Mike Fratello filling the gaps. Albert uses all his signature phrases (some are quite rude) & player nicknames while Fratello dishes up the stats. The commentary is now ten times better than before and seems to follow the action perfectly. The best bit about the sound in NBA Live 2004 is the on court noise, players calling out for the ball, adding their own commentary and

Games - NBA Live 2004 - Xbox review
Games - NBA Live 2004 - Xbox review
Games - NBA Live 2004 - Xbox review

comments plus trainers squeaking all intensify the mood. The crowd sound and arena ambience are also great.

Overall NBA Live 2004 is the latest tweak on a classic game. What I must stress though - is that the pre-mentioned tweaking has taken EA's NBA game to another level.

If you are a fan of the series you are going to love Live 2004. If you are new to Basketball games - prepare to be amazed.

9 out of 10

View NBA Live 2004 Screenshots