Reviews

With NBA Live 19, EA is ever closer to reclaiming the throne

EA Sports
DeMarcus Cousins dunking the ball against the Boston Celtics.
NBA Live 19

Last year was a phenomenal year for NBA Live has EA have finally brought back a decent number of players back to their virtual playgrounds. Can they keep the same momentum going with NBA Live 19? Here's what we had to say on the matter.

EA laid a very solid foundation with NBA Live 18 and while we've had loads of fun playing and enjoying this game, we were still very much impatient to see what NBA Live 19 would bring to the table in terms of sheer gameplay. The problems that NBA Live 18 was plagued with were stiff movements of players, lack of animations and player likeness factors.

Now that we got our hands on the demo version of NBA Live 19, we've got the answers to most of the questions we had about the new game. So let's talk about the good and the bad things of NBA Live 19's gameplay. We will not be focusing on different game modes like, for example, The One - this article will focus solely on how the game plays on the court. So let's get started.

The good

The first thing we gotta talk about when it comes to the good things about NBA Live 19 are the graphics. The court itself looks downright amazing, the lighting is just perfect. Even though the game is not running on EA's renowned Frostbite engine, it still looks absolutely beautiful.

And it's not just the court itself; the crowd looks almost lifelike and can be easily mistaken for a real life NBA crowd. This especially shines through when you score a clutch shot or perform a sweet dunk. EA have once again nailed the ESPN presentation of NBA basketball.

Then, of course, there's the awesome fun factor of EA's basketball franchise. NBA Live is, as you know, an arcade basketball title. It doesn't take itself all too seriously, nor does it try to be a perfect simulation of the game of basketball, like its rival NBA 2K. This was the case with NBA Live 18, and we're happy to report that EA decided to stick to the same formula.

EA SportsDeMarcus Cousins dunking the ball against the Boston Celtics.The game's court and crowd look absolutely fantastic.

We've been playing the game on Superstar difficulty and while it is challenging in its own right, it's still very easy to score open shots and to sometimes dunk the ball right out of nowhere. Some players may dislike this side of Live's basketball style, but we like it. In fact, it's one of our favourite features of the game, as it is very easy to just pick up and play and have some good old-fashioned arcade basketball fun.

If there's one word that cannot be associated with NBA Live 19's gameplay - it's frustration. This game, as a sports video game and not a full-on basketball simulator, is extremely fun to play.

The bad

Okay, so praise out of the way. Let's talk about some things that we do not like about NBA Live 19. The first thing on the list the game's physics. One of the biggest problems and immersion breakers of NBA Live 18 was the fact that it was almost impossible to step out of bounds with a player who's dribbling the ball.

Unfortunately, this problem has carried over to NBA Live 19. Just look at the screenshot of Steph Curry below. It's almost as though he's hitting an invisible wall or something.

EA SportsDeMarcus Cousins dunking the ball against the Boston Celtics.Stepping out of bounds is still a very rare occurrence in NBA Live.

A moving body should not defy physics like this and not step on the line when it's obvious that the player's built up a lot of momentum with his running movement to just freeze in place like this. Stepping out of bounds is a normal thing in basketball, and it should happen much more often in NBA Live 19. We hope EA fix this in the full game's release.

The next thing we dislike about the game are the clunky movements of players. Now, hear us out on this. It's not like the game suffers from the same stiff animations like last year. Far from it, with the introduction of Real Player Motion, the game has seen a gigantic step up in terms of animations and player movement.

However, it is still far from perfect. Some superstar players move in a generic fashion and not at all like they do in real life, and this is really noticeable, especially if you're going for a floater with Steph Curry or a Eurostep with Kyrie Irving. It just doesn't look as fancy as it does in real life. Even though the game has seen a great deal of improvement, it is sadly still not on par with 2K in this department.

EA SportsDeMarcus Cousins dunking the ball against the Boston Celtics.The movement of players needs some more work as it still feels stiff at times.

And the last thing we want to talk about is the disappointment caused by the hype of screenshots posted by EA prior to the demo's release. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so here's a quick side by side screenshot of Kevin Durant comparing the in-game version of the player and what EA advertised a few weeks ago.

EA SportsDeMarcus Cousins dunking the ball against the Boston Celtics.Kevin Durant in-game (left), EA's screenshot (right)

We know that hype trains seldom arrive on promised destinations, but we still can't help but feel a little let down by the final result of player faces in NBA Live 19. Of course, we're not saying that the in-game player faces don't look good - not at all, we actually think EA did a pretty good job, but I guess we had just raised our expectations a bit too high for comfort.

All in all though, every game has its pros and cons, and NBA Live 19 is no exception to this. The game is definitely a step in the right direction for EA, and if they keep on building on this, they will rightfully return to the throne of basketball games in the future.