E3 2003: NBA Live 2004 Hand-On Impressions
With Electronic Arts dramatically improving the NBA Live series last year, I was seriously anticipating the 2004 version. After playing the game through, Iíve come to the conclusion that EA Sports is incredibly devoted to producing an excellent basketball title. NCAA March Madness 2004 already proved that the company improved the college version and NBA Live 2004 has shown that it is in the running for one of the best sports titles EA has to offer. The graphics are exceptionally crisp and the player animations are very in-depth with nice special moves and fluent player motions. However, similar to EAís college basketball title, NBA Live 2004 also posed the problem of average artificial intelligence. I honestly cannot understand why players stand completely still under the basket, but possibly EA has made it a point to make gamers control rebounds for themselves. Also, I would have appreciated more bite on some of the head and ball fakes that I was using, but itís understandable in making the game somewhat difficult. Either way, at its current state NBA Live is an excellent version of professional basketball and only needs improvement in select areas.
Overall, NBA Live 2004 has continued the potential it displayed in last yearís version, and will definitely compete with Segaís NBA 2K4. I played both versions and felt they both had their own strong points. I have a hard time choosing the better game, so once again it appears players will have to make a difficult decision (or just buy both games). I found both titles to be incredibly smooth with great mechanics and game flow. In terms of additions to the series, there arenít a significant number of extra feature. Added dunk animations and player attributes seem to be the most prolific additions, with just an overall refined experience. Weíll continue to keep an eye on NBA Live 2003, so stay tuned for more updates.
5/15/2003 Matt Stensrud