NBA Live 2004 (PS2,XBox,GC,PC) Preview
Well, I've had the game for almost a week now and been able to play a few games here and there. The game still has the NBA Live game play feel from last year, but is definitely improved and more customizable. The freestyle feature seems to be unchanged from NBA Live 2003, there might be a few moves here and there that got past me. I really love the new jump stop button. It just makes the game flow like a real televised NBA game. With the jump stop button, it is a bit easier to get by the defender, however, after press the jump stop button, I usually pressed the dunk/lay-up button which automatically tries to force in a dunk or a lay-up. I think EA made up for the lower difficulty in getting past defenders by not making every lay-up and dunk attempt automatic. I've gotten numerous dunks and lay-ups rejected simply by just trying to force one with 2 or 3 defenders around.
As far as how the team plays in the game, the fast break teams definitely push the ball up the court a lot more than teams that don't. However, if your team doesn't get back on D, the opposing team will push the ball up no matter what their style of game is in reality. While NBA Live 2004 does a lot of things right, one of the most annoying things so far is that the CPU double teams almost any post player, no matter how good they are. For instance, in one game, I was posting up with Ratliff from the Hawks, and he was constantly double team. There might be some settings to play around with to fix that.
A few other positives is that the game actually enforce the relatively end of the quarter rule when a basket goes in. In addition, when the ball gets to the floor, players will dive for the ball and sometimes stay there while trying to find a teammate to pass the ball to. The sliders are great. I didn't like the default game speed, so I set it down to around 35, which slows it down a little so it doesn't feel like a run-and-gun game. There are other settings that you can mess around with. I captured a few screens of the sliders to the right.
The graphics and cut scenes are really amazing. I've only experienced a few dynasty cut scenes, but they look really nice. These are good extras but shouldn't be considered as the main reason for buying the game. The scenes mean nothing if its no fun to play the actual game. I was blown away by the commentary initially, but as with any sports games, after a while, you are reminded that its only a videogame. Most of the off-ball animations are great. Players are battling for post impressions, trying to avoid screens among other things.
There is a new feature that allows you to purchase NBA items, such as one of a few Jordans from the NBA store. Items also include headbands, socks, jerseys and a few others. I haven't really had a chance to check this out yet, although it isn't something that appeals to me too much.
That wraps it up for now, I'll be posting movies and more screen shots prior to the game's release. (Release is either Oct. 7 or Oct. 13) Expect NBA Live 2004 to be a great game, especially when you add in the online aspect. One thing for sure, NBA Live 2004 will definitely bring the NBA atmosphere and excitement to living rooms around the world. (Note: 29 new screens are available)
-- James Chheng 10/4/2003
Step up your game with NBA LIVE 2004. With expanded EA SPORTS™ Freestyle Control, authentic gameplay, and stunning graphics, NBA LIVE 2004 delivers the definitive basketball experience. Whether running the point with one-button Quick Plays, spinning free in the lane for a vicious dunk, or locking down on "D", LIVE puts players in total control. With a dramatically enhanced Dynasty mode, the ability to take the court at all 29 NBA arenas, and all-new commentary from Marv Albert and Mike Fratello, NBA LIVE 2004 is all about authenticity.
- Play the Point: Run team-specific offensive and defensives sets for every NBA team. Be the point guard on the floor and own the flow of the game.
- Offball Play: Switch to and control any player on the floor so you can own the court.
- Enhanced EA SPORTS™ Freestyle Control: Express your game is the ultimate authentic basketball gaming experience.
- Build a Powerhouse Dynasty: Recruit the top free agents and import your top college players in a revamped Dynasty Mode. Run your franchise your way and build the perennial NBA champion.
- New All-Star Announcer Team: Marv Albert teams up with on-air partner Mike Fratello to provide the most authentic play-by-play available.
- Battle Inside: New animations, new AI logic, and enhanced focus on rebounding battles make playing "D" a way of life.
- Championship Graphics: Completely revamped player models and details as fine as the mesh holes in your team's jerseys.