|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (10 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The changes that are present are mostly cosmetic, but they definitely add to the presentation and overall immersive feel. I am consistently impressed across the board with EA's presentation from 'Madden' to 'March Madness' recently and 'Live' is no exception. In addition to the detailed "Dynamic DNA" stat tracking, the on the court action is now punctuated by the much more realistic sights and sounds of the players and fans reactions. There are even arena and player-specific cheers, intros, and animations. A three-streak by Kobe Bryant might inspire an "M-V-P" chant, a shooter might take an extra step here or there to make room for a pull up jumper, and Live 10 even records the top plays of a matchup.
These little touches add a level of ESPN-style believability to the game that helps bring the whole experience home. Even so, at times these replays along with the choice to run them after some bits of commentary, seems a little thrown together. When you see a replay of a layup after you hear something about your defense's performance, or watch an "emotion" replay after a game in which your player sighs about a backcourt violation or a foul, you'll understand. It's not a real problem; it just makes these features seem less impressive.
The game's "new" Dynamic DNA mode allows gamers to learn the tendencies of their teams and players: from shot percentages all over the court to the way a player turns out of a post up and everything in between. The mode returns from Live 2009 and can be combined with a season mode where Live players can play through any game that is actually occurring throughout the NBA's regular season. You can even rewind to earlier points and play previous matchups in the season. Another of this year's major draws is the Live Run mode. Live Run mode is EA's online 'pickup game'. Up to ten players sign on and squad up to play five on five. It's a great idea and the farthest EA has taken this year's 'Live'. This of course requires the use of EA servers, so unfortunately assuming you're an offline gamer, there's not much here that's going to offer a lot of variety to your game. The focus on presentation extends to the exhibition and playoff modes through the ability to alter tempo. Players can up the intensity to "playoff " for instance to add a bit more hustle to the game, a nice touch (though I didn't bother to spend much time with it) but it's basically just an additional way to alter the game's difficulty level.
Controls remain almost identical to previous years with a few noticeable exceptions. All shooting is now mapped to one button, and players can still freestyle pass and dribble. The shoulder buttons allow you to choose offensive and defensive strategy, run plays, and change matchups. Aside from that, anyone who's played before will be very familiar with the way things work. It begs the question, why play again? EA is taking strides toward the right direction, but this one's just not polished enough to bring in the noob's (or the 2K converts for that matter). However, if you're a fan and haven't played any other entries in a while, Live 10 is a no-brainer. Oh, it's also worth noting that if you are a hip-hop fan, the soundtrack is pretty phenomenal.
Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer