Guess who’s back (back) again.
For years, the top studios producing basketball titles have changed hands. Running through a short list — Midway helped begin the trend with NBA Jam, Nintendo had Courtside, 2K had its start on Dreamcast, and Microsoft even pulled out Inside Drive. No matter the publisher or console, fans wanted the best and newest.
As some titles began to fade out, survival became crucial. And the best way to survive was to create features and play aspects people had never seen before. Creating players, changing rosters, and mini-games like dunk contest, three-point shoot-out, and all-star weekend helped supplement simple exhibition modes. It’s all about getting fans involved, allowing them to experience what real NBA players live through.
EA, way back in ’89, started with The NBA Playoffs, continued on with NBA Showdown, and finally landed with NBA Live — its pride and joy. Since its creation, Live had begun to pave the way for basketball titles all over, for a while being the absolute best. But somewhere along the way it missed a step, stumbled, and has had some hard times recovering. Last year, Electronic Arts actually had a built model for Live ‘13, but after a not so good showing, withdrew from pushing a release.
This year, such a situation will not occur. Kitted with Ignite Engine, NBA ’14 is here in full force. There is plenty added to a storied franchise that has high hopes of competing with the current big dogs of the hoops genre. One of the main focused aspects being the dribble. Basketball starts with ball handling in the backcourt and who better to help Live achieve their goal of illustrating this than Kyrie Irving. In my booth tour at E3, the demo was about how well everything looks and reacts, and how the ball has physics that are separate from the hand.
This allows the ball to move freely and as accurately as a ball should. The new bounceTek physics hope to capture as much true-to-life motion as possible. Adding to the bouncing graphics is the new dribbling modifiers. Now throwing over 40 combinations of moves are available.
Though being on hiatus for the last few years, the NBA Live series has renewed its pure awesomeness that many of us remember from years past. Don’t be fooled, ’14 isn’t a kickstart year, it's full throttle. Time to gun it to the finish line. NBA Live 14 is slated for Q4 2013 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.