naptimesleeper's NBA Live 19 All Star Edition (PlayStation 4) review

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Not Yet The One

The last NBA Live game I played, I think, was 2006 so it’s been quite a while. From the launch of the game to now the game has changed pretty significantly through many patches. The gameplay has seen tweaks to make both defense and offense better with so-so results.

The One is the big mode in this game and there is a big emphasis on it from the first time you boot up the game. You create your baller and take them through a variety of different game modes within The One. I was immediately disappointed with the creation suit. You really don’t get a lot of faces to choose from and you can’t edit a face like you can in other games. There is an option to play as a female character this year which is cool but you can’t use her in The League which is essentially the NBA career mode. Scanning your face is an option but I didn’t use it & I’ve heard the app isn’t the best.

The World Tour is one of the first modes you play after creating a character. Here, The One, as they call your player, goes to different street ball courts throughout the world and battles mishmash teams of NBA & WNBA stars and legends. Each venue is comprised of five games that you can play in and get players from the opposing team to join your squad. There are optional objectives in each game that you can accomplish for more currency. I really enjoyed this mode. I found it addicting to play through the different venues and improve my squad. It’s also the best mode to work on leveling up your character and their traits.

One of the big new additions to the game this year is Court Battles in which you create your team and your court then battle other users’ teams in their courts to take them over. You use different rulesets to make it more interest such make-it-take-it up to 11 or a ruleset making blocks worth five points. It can get really creative and you have to adapt your team by these rule sets. Some even require you to use different players with lower overalls which makes each game more challenging. The court editor is alright. You can’t import logos which is a bummer but there are a good deal of options available.

Franchise mode and Ultimate Team return but I haven’t put a lot of time in either. I did start a Sixers franchise and the options seem pretty barebones. Ultimate Team is the standard card collecting game mode that is now commonplace in sports titles. There are a ton of challenges in this mode where you unlock points to buy packs. I’ve played a few and they are pretty fun. They range from playing a full game to just the last three minutes.

The online has been fine for the most part. You can play the standard head-to-head using NBA teams or use your created player in a Live Run game. These are five on five or three on three games where each person controls their created player. I played one game and was done. The connection was fine for the most part but playing with random teammates was not. One player was either AFK or trolling because they wouldn’t inbound the ball and they continually got three second violations in the paint. This is alleviated if you play with your friends but playing with random people can be frustrating.

One online mode that I do enjoy is Live Events. This is where you play as your character with other people against a CPU team in order to get rewards. These rewards can vary from gear such as shoes, shirts & shorts to players from the community such as The Professor & Bone Collector. You can even play some of these solo which is preferable to me. These events are also timed so it gave me some incentive to at least turn on the game every couple of days to see the new Live Events.

The gameplay is fun for the most part. The controls are relatively easy to pick up and play. Some of the animations are a little annoying as some of the dunks clearly show the ball missing the basket but still counting. There were also times where I felt glued to my opponent especially on offense. The AI is especially dumb sometimes like when there is a fast-break or they’ll take shots from behind the basket.

I’d say this is a pretty fun game of basketball. Leveling up my player while earning different gear was nice. It’s not great and I know that EA has been building back their reputation since the poorly received return to the NBA game market but they still have a ways to go. I think they’re heading in the right direction though.

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