For anyone that was unfortunate enough to waste money on last year’s NBA Live, then you know first-hand that it was barely passable for a PS3/360 game visually. Textures were lifeless and its player models stiff and dull as can be. Well, it seems as though EA Tiburon has been hard at work to right all their wrongs, and if the much-improved graphical fidelity in the latest trailer really does translate to gameplay well, then NBA Live 15 could actually make NBA 2K15 sweat a little.
Of course, any speculation is all based on the trailer and going off just that, it seems that NBA Live is taking the more sharper route. NBA 2K15, by comparison, looks softer, but a little more natural. It’s a little tricky to explain, but if you watch this trailer and 2K‘s “Yakkem” trailer side-by-side, the differences are noticeable. EA’s baller has a sharper rim, shot clock (each light is individually modelled) and court. 2K, on the other hand, has much more fluid animation, better jerseys, and more accurate facial modelling.
So we know that EA Tiburon took NBA Live 14‘s visual criticisms to heart, but what about the shoddy gameplay? Well, the trailer really doesn’t touch on that at all, but according to EA’s official page, there should be numerous improvements. One hundred plus new animations, real-time physics, and three times the dunk/lay-up animations are all apart of the emphasis on the physicality of the sport. Shooting, freestyle passing, and bounceTek (the game’s ball-handling mechanic) are all supposed to have been tuned and feel much more responsive and intuitive.
Other improvements include smarter A.I. (man, last year’s was so lacklustre) and a more user-friendly approach to defense. Of course, this being an EA Sports title, they’re also throwing in the Ultimate Team mode, which is a lot like 2K‘s MyTeam mode.
This all sounds friggin’ great upon first reading, but we were made similar promises to last year’s game and that didn’t turn out well to say the least. Hell, they issued a formal apology and promised to patch NBA Live 14 with, well, a better version of the game. Thankfully, I’m big on second chances and hopefully Tiburon can really turn NBA Live 15 into a beefy alternative to the behemoth NBA 2K franchise or, just maybe, pull a .09 buzzer-dagger much like cover athlete Damien Lillard did to the Houston Rockets this past Playoffs.
We’ll find out soon enough, as the game releases on October 7th for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.