NBA Live 2001 Preview
Ahh, the Lakers have won the NBA finals, after nearly a decade of nothing Phil Jackson steps in and destroys the competition. Wouldn't it have been great if you were there, sadly an NBA Finals ticket costs over $500 but you can always relive the action with your PS2 and NBA Live 2001. First shown at the E3 show floor, EA blew me away with the first glance at the visuals of the game. I guess EA's decision being anti-Sega paid off, because it seems as if they are putting a lot of effort into making NBA Live 2001 look better than anything you have seen. NBA Live has always been the dominant force in the basketball video gaming industry, and now they will be bringing that dominance over to the PS2. In addition to the first screens, check out the preview of this much anticipated PS2 sports simulation.
Visually NBA Live 2001 blows Sega's NBA 2K1 out of the water. Though there is no denying that 2K1 looks great, you still can't argue that this may be the prettiest thing that you have ever seen in your life. I seriously thought that Madden 2001 and FIFA Soccer looked great, but I think that Live 2001 is certainly the heavyweight here. Take a look at the screenshots where Garrnet is about to make a huge slam, look below him, what do you notice? If you said a lovely reflection then you were right. EA Sports will already be pushing the PS2's hardware, just check out the overall detail in the backgrounds, the ball itself, the players, the floor, everything looks so eerily realistic that it almost feels as if you are right in the action. The player detail is (*gulp*) perfect, I know that nothing is perfect, (except the Victoria Secret models) but these visuals may be only describe that way "perfect", hell even the audience looks great. EA is using their own technology called CyberScan, this let's the developer create life like images of basketball stars. Of course motion-capturing is used, and Kevin G himself helped out. If these screens are any indication of how NBA Live 2002 (yes 2002) may look like, then we have a lot to look forward to.
The gameplay will remain the same as any other NBA Live title, but EA will be adding special goodies for all of US PS2 gamers. First of all, the player models will be made up of extremely high polygon counts, to add to that the backgrounds like the audience will be detailed to the fullest, crowds will cheer and roar, and the coaches will be running around the sidelines panicking. Aside from the graphical things being done for the game, EA will also bring back the Custom Player feature, this time with much more depth. Along with that, EA will let gamers access teams like the 1986 Celtics, the 1972 Lakers and there is no doubt in my mind that the 1996-97 Bulls will be in the game as well. The commentary will also be improved, EA will be taking advantage of the PS2's sound capabilities by enhancing the quality of the sound. Bob Elliot will bring play-by-play commentary as well as some intelligent facts about a certain b-ball player. My question is whether or not MJ will be playable, I hope that his come back to NBA Live 2000 wasn't his last. NBA Live 2001 is scheduled to appear this Fall 200, there is no confirmation on whether or not this is a launch title.