The Sports Courier Gaming’s Fred Richani reviews EA Sports’ NBA Live 19 featuring the return of The One story mode!
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Watch our NBA Live 19 Review here or scroll down to read the written version!
NBA Live returns after an impressive 2018 campaign that featured more user friendly gameplay, The One story, franchise mode, Ultimate Team, and the addition of the WNBA. I’m happy to report all that is back and more in NBA Live 19.
First things first — the gameplay. What I love about NBA Live is how easy it is to just pick up and play no matter your experience level. Of course, you might want to adjust your difficulty level and hone your skills in the tutorials section.. The gameplay is smooth, not overly complicated, and features less robotic animations than Live 18. You have the option of displaying offensive and defensive tips on screen and can get realtime feedback on whether your shot is hot or not with the shot-meter. Green is great. Yellow ranges from poor to good luck to “OK, you’re an All-Star and can hit anything.”
Just be careful when you make a steal as it is the same button for shooting. Then again, has anyone never launched an accidental half court shot in a basketball video game? Asking for a friend.
The cornerstone of the new age NBA Live is The One story mode, which allows you to create your own baller from scratch as they rise up the ranks in a series of challenges on and off the basketball court. If you’ve played the demo, your progress will carry over to the full game. This year, you have the option to create a female character. Unlike EA Sports’ Madden 19, NBA Live offers significantly more customization options including a super easy to use NBA Live companion app that lets you scan your face for character creation. Just make sure you have decent lighting wherever you scan.
The One’s presentation is pretty cool, complete with emails, text messages, cutscenes from ESPN and Complex personalities hyping you up, and even a video message from cover athlete Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers!
Here’s the simple yet helpful hack EA provides that 2K is only now doing — you can skip most cutscenes! Silliness aside, I get some serious NBA Street vibes playing the One on The Streets, as you go court to court against the best while building hype, upgrading your character in skills and swag, and creating some memorable highlights along the way.
Once you complete The Rise, you can take aim at The League, going through the Draft Combine and NBA Draft itself, where I was somehow lucky enough to land on the LA Lakers with LeBron. I promise you guys, I didn’t pay off Adam Silver. (I don’t have that kind of coin.)
If for whatever reason you don’t like the team you end up on, you can explore your options and demand a trade at your own risk. When starting on the bench, you can either watch the whole game even when you’re not on the court or quickly sim ahead to your next appearance. In each game, you complete certain objectives and rack up points for scoring, assisting, and good defense as you level up your character.
I found The One pretty enjoyable, especially in being able to customize your court, build your squad, and experience the awesome visual presentation from EA and ESPN. In comparison to past story modes in EA Games and NBA 2K, The One doesn’t come off forced or overbearing whatsoever and I like it that way. In fact, I can say that for NBA Live 19 as a whole. It’s a very welcoming experience. The interface is extremely easy to navigate. You have plenty of teams and exhibition modes — online and offline to choose from.
Franchise mode lets you take an existing roster to the top or overhaul one like I did with the Nets, in hopes of hosting playoff games for your loyal fans. Not sure what the market is for a talent? Put them on the trade block and solicit offers across the league. Want to play a full game? Go for it! Only want to play select moments and hop in the game whenever, you can do that as well, much like in Madden. No, the overall franchise experience isn’t as robust as NBA 2K. In fact, I’d say NBA Live is less of a sim than NBA 2K and more of an arcade experience. And quite frankly, that’s OK — even if it might not be for everyone.
So what’s the verdict?
Graphically: 8/10. One of the nicer looking Xbox One games for sure. I experienced no frame rate issues when playing NBA Live 19 and think the player models look awesome. Even my custom player didn’t look nearly as deformed as my past 2K creations and I’m all for anything that makes this face look good. Kidding. OK maybe not. The ESPN presentation certainly adds to the experience and gets you amped up for all the basketball you can handle.
Gameplay: 8/10. The arcade-like feel won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s something be said for being gamer friendly enough to pick up and play with little to no issues. Like any game though, practice makes perfect and the better you get, the more fun you’re sure to have.
Content: 7.5. I actually think the quality of the content is good, but the selection does feel a bit light in comparison to the myriad of modes 2K provides, even if it thankfully doesn’t have the obnoxious amount of microtransactions 2K boasts. Franchise mode is solid, but has the potential to be so much more. Ultimate Team is cool if you’re trying to build that dream squad with card packs, but for some gamers like myself, it’s not really my thing. Whatever mode you choose to play though, I can guarantee you’ll have a whole lot of fun.
TSC Gaming gives NBA Live 19 on the Xbox One 8/10.
Say what you want about EA’s past NBA Live failures. There’s no mistaking this franchise in its current state provides a good time and is clearly heading in the right direction. If you’d like to purchase NBA Live 19 on Amazon, just click the link in the description. FYI: We get a small commission from your purchase. And if you want to try before buying, simply download the demo on your platform of choice or download the 10 hour trial with an EA Access subscription on Xbox One.
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