Title: NBA Live
Format: PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: EA Tiburon
Developer: EA Sports
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
The Grade: B
NBA Live 19 Haiku Review
Travel the world
Battle to keep your court safe
You are The One, yeah!
What is it?: A basketball video game sim from EA Sports. “NBA Live 19” is the 22nd installment in the long running franchise and offers a host of new features and options. Get ready to (virtually) travel around the world to take on basketball’s best.
Highs: You’ll never lack for things to do in “NBA Live 19.” Gamers can play NBA or WNBA games and challenge other gamers online. Ultimate Team and Franchise mode have returned and offer plenty to keep you busy. Players can also work on their skills with drills, shoot arounds and scrimmages. Timed co-op live events help keep the game fresh. These features alone would be enough to keep you busy until “NBA Live 20” comes out, but chances are you’ll be spending most of your time elsewhere.
Court Battles is a new mode where you build a team and defend a basketball court of your own design against other gamers, competing for a wide variety of rewards. One of the coolest features in Court Battles is being able to edit the rules of a game. For example, you can make a dunk worth five points or change it so the game is make-it-take-it after a certain score. This mode is a lot of fun and is great way to interact with other gamers whether you’re a novice or a hardcore “NBA Live” player.
My favorite mode is The One, which is the heart and soul of “NBA Live 19.” This mode contains the single player component of the game. You’ll create your player and build up their skills to make them a basketball deity. What makes The One unique is its variety and how it crosses over to other elements of the game.
Throughout your journey you’ll play on indoor courts, outdoor courts, 5-on-5 games, 3-on-3 games, and against and with WNBA and NBA players. You’ll travel the world playing in unique venues. Some games are held in gyms, others in rundown neighborhoods. Gamers will even get to play in their own gym they designed in Court Battles. There’s a lot of crossover between The One and Court Battles, which greatly benefits your created player as skill points are earned in both.
Lows: The One is easily the highlight of “NBA Live 19” but it lacks personality. There’s some texts you receive from your advisors and there’s periodic live action video segments but other than that there’s little voice to your created player. EA’s other sports titles have a true story element like The Journey in “FIFA” or Longshot in “Madden.” That depth is sorely missing in The Rise.
For the most part “NBA Live’s” controls are quite tight, with the exception of shooting. I found those to be a bit touchy. Your squad in The One isn’t particularly helpful either. I’d often have teammates out of position on defense and sometimes step out of bounds on offense. I even had one teammate shoot the ball from behind the backboard. These issues can make for a frustrating experience, especially early on when you’re struggling to build up your created player.
The Grade: While the game has some flaws, I couldn’t help but be impressed by “NBA Live 19.” The character models look and move realistically, the controls are fluid and the game features plenty of authentic basketball action.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.