Enjoyability is hard work, but at least it looks pretty.
BA Live 15 isn’t a game that immediately grabs my attention, and my attitude towards sports game of all nature has always been “If I wanted to play sports I’d go outside and do so”, and because of this my initial lack of interest in the game has further been strengthened during my time with the NBA Live 15.
As my experience with such games has always been at the bare minimum, the amount of time I’ve ever put in to a sports game has always been something of a social nature, such as being around friends and those more casual in the way of playing video games. However with that being said a game is still a game, and when approaching a game I’m not quite a familiar with, I expect a certain level of “Noob” friendly tutorials available to me so that I may progress with the game should my interest begin to rise.
While NBA Live 15 does meet this to some extent it doesn’t provide anything of valuable use in terms of gameplay, that will actually benefit the player once going in to a proper match. During the installation process of the game being written to the hard drive, the player is instructed on how to play the game and what actions to take in a certain given situation.
"The best description I could ever possibly hope to give for NBA Live should someone inquire about it, would have to be "FIFA with hands"."
While this is somewhat handy and does a half-baked job in laying out the basic formula, the lack of explanation as to where else these actions could be applied elsewhere on the court isn’t spoken off, and the game treats the player as a returning veteran just wishing to brush up on their basic skills. If it wasn’t clear enough already I know nothing of what Basketball entails.
My attitude towards this game was to pick the tallest and blackest team and hope for the best. “Ball, Net, Go” was my own mundane way of hoping to land a win and needless to say the failure was inevitable. As the amount of skill and training required not to mention background knowledge of the rules and positions that the players must attend too, as they succeed in different areas in relation to their skill clearly meant I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
NBA Live 15 isn’t very intuitive and the friendly nature of this game rookie difficulty aside, is clearly non-existent. After spending a fair amount of time with the game something peculiar stood out to me. The best description I could ever possibly hope to give for NBA Live should someone inquire about it, would have to be “FIFA with hands”. That’s it. And while the two series of games are vastly different from one an other I would argue that the learning curve for FIFA or any other game that involves a ball, hands, and feet, that one must direct to a net, is actually a lot more friendlier.
"NBA Live 15 uses the exact same formula as EA's other sports titles with the only variable of change being the sport in which the game is dealing with. Browsing the game's main menu player's will see a variety of modes to take part in divided amongst the offline and online categories."
When dealing with a game that emphasizes realism and authenticity, it’s important to provide a frame work of rules, understandings, and intuitive learning mechanisms that newcomers can grasp the hold off. NBA Live 15 fails in just about every area of these and the player’s own learning with the game is by all means in it’s own name sake. “Own Learning Time”.
This isn’t helped all too much that the game throws the player directly in to a match upon the finalization of the tutorial disc-based installation neither. Something within the game that managed to grab my interest was the structure of the game in regards to the replay value that it provides to players, and the way that it varies across different game modes and how they differ from one an other.
NBA Live 15 uses the exact same formula as EA’s other sports titles with the only variable of change being the sport in which the game is dealing with. Browsing the game’s main menu player’s will see a variety of modes to take part in divided amongst the offline and online categories. The Rising Star mode is where the heart of player progression in relation to player immersion takes place, as this is where players will begin their career as a NBA star.
I suspect this is where the vast of majority of players will spend their time as it’s essentially the only thing in relation to sports and a video game in which everything the player does exists within the realm of fantasy. As well as things that aren’t at all possible in the real world unless the person who happens to be playing is actually an NBA professional.
"Live Season Mode plays out as an imitation of past real life events that NBA stars have experienced. This mode is clearly in cater of fan service and does an excellent job of accomplishing that."
Within this mode players will be able to create their own unique character, of which they can customize their appearance, skills, and character attributes. And while I’m not at all familiar with what mid-range shot, clutch, point guard, or shot-off-dribble stands for, I did grasp the basics of how the character would play and behave on the court.
Whether or not this was reflected authentically once I got in to a match however is an entirely a different story, as the majority of the time I didn’t quite feel in control of my character. Maybe it had something to do with the difficulty settings, rules, and assists that the options provide for the player. Sad to say I don’t actually know and I still stand by my earlier statement on the game, in that this is a game for veterans.
Further gameplay sessions did increase my understanding of the game however and I did become more familiar with how the game plays. Some of which plays well and other times just fail all logic. Live Season Mode plays out as an imitation of past real life events that NBA stars have experienced. This mode is clearly in cater of fan service and does an excellent job of accomplishing that.
"Dynasty Mode has the player trading, building, observing stats and ratings, and making table-based decisions in developing a team. Also within this mode players are able to take on player contracts, develop specific players, and monitor scores and player injuries, to make decisions in reference to player potential for the long term of the team."
By making use of features, requirements, and criteria that the player must meet in order to replicate the real life event that took place on the court. Players should be pleased to see the effort and research that’s gone in to this mode due to the features and different objectives within gameplay that players are challenged to accomplish.
While the rest of the game modes available to take part in are just variations of different seasons, play-offs, round knockouts, and tip-offs, all of which distinguish themselves for both offline and online play. The only real mode that stands out as being rather unique as well as entirely different is the Dynasty Mode. Taking the player away from the actual court to some extent and incorporating a coach-based management system.
Dynasty Mode has the player trading, building, observing stats and ratings, and making table-based decisions in developing a team. Also within this mode players are able to take on player contracts, develop specific players, and monitor scores and player injuries, to make decisions in reference to player potential for the long term of the team.
While there’s certainly a social aspect to this mode amongst the fans, my playtime within this mode was fairly short lived. It’s easy to see the appeal and why players will take to it and there’s certainly a fair amount of depth that such a mode entails.
"While character proportions appear somewhat daft in certain areas there's definitely a high level of polish being given to the character's textures and animations."
Taking myself back to the court in an attempt to get better through an actual hands-on the ball experience, one thing that always kept my attention and kept my hopes for interest in the game was the graphics. NBA Live 15 is without a doubt a spectacular looking game in every aspect of which it delivers to the player.
Detailed and immersive crowds that behave and respond to what takes plays during the match, reflective courts and an impressive lighting system, convincing commentary and TV style camera effects that replicate watching an actual live game, are just a small handful of where NBA Live stands out and proves to be an entertaining and realistic game.
While character proportions appear somewhat daft in certain areas there’s definitely a high level of polish being given to the character’s textures and animations. Facial expressions and character reactions that move and change with every situation are highly convincing in how real-life basketball players behave on the court.
"My take on NBA Live is that with enough patience, time, and training with the game, due to what it fails at delivering to newcomers, there's actually something here to find enjoyable."
Along with a clothing system that makes impressive use of physics, and skin that simulates character sweat as the match continues to play out, NBA Live is certainly a stunning game and it’s hard to see any flaws in relation to it’s presentation. NBA Live 15 is a game of much enjoyability but that enjoyability comes at a price.
My take on NBA Live is that with enough patience, time, and training with the game, due to what it fails at delivering to newcomers, there’s actually something here to find enjoyable. For those not particularly interested in Basketball games would still like to test their hand at such a game however I wouldn’t recommend NBA Live 15 as a good starting point.
The game caters to fans while failing to bring in a new audience and this damages the game’s enjoyability for those who attempt to grind it out for the long run. In short, don’t touch the game unless you know what you’re getting in to and you’re willing to put in the time, training, and understanding that the gameplay mechanics will have you making use of.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
Great visuals, immersive crowds, detailed animations, and excellent use of commentary.
Not very intuitive and not a good starting point for newcomers.
NBA Live 15 does a lot of things well but simultaneously it does a lot of things wrong. Gameplay can be enjoyable but it's really down to the player as the game doesn't do well to explain itself.