How NBA Live Can Become The Top Basketball Video Game With NBA Live 17

I am apparently one of the few gamers who loves NBA Live 16. I bought it for less than half price on Boxing Day and it was a pleasant surprise, perhaps even a pleasant shock. I have not been able to stop playing it for the past couple of weeks. After a week or so, I even went and deleted the huge NBA2K16 game file from my PS4 hard drive; I replaced it with a better basketball sim. Live doesn’t have all the extra dressing that 2K has, but I found the gameplay and graphics to be smoother and more challenging and realistic. The people of metacritic love to give zero ratings to EA games. All those red zeroes you see on the NBA Live 16 rating are not a reliable reflection of this game.

Live has a lot of ground to make up but rest assured, they are on the right track. I’d vote Live as one of the most underrated games of 2016. If I had to find a word to describe Live, it would be “sexy”. It doesn’t deserve the scorn it gets in the basketball-loving gaming community. I’ve heard a lot of gamers go so far as to demand Electronic Arts shut the Live franchise down this year. That would be a loss not only for Live fans but for 2K fans, too. Without the competition, 2K would lose its ambition and its luster. NBA Live is on the right track. With some creative thinking, they can make a grand comeback and take back the basketball crown that has rested firmly on 2K’s head for several years.

One of the better things about Live, along with its awesome soundtrack, is that you have to earn your way forward. In 2K you can spend your way to a perfect player. I’m sure it makes 2K a lot of money. And as we all know by now, 2K is all about the money. When you create a player in Live’s Rising Star mode, you have to earn your player’s progress through reward points given fairly generously at the end of each game. Another cool feature of Live is the Live companion app, which lets you scan your own face on to your player in the game. It actually works, too, and immerses you all the more. Each time you look at your own player, you’ll see your own ugly mug. I tried it but couldn’t take it so I switched it up to make my player better looking.

If you look closely at the 2K series, not much has improved or changed over the past few years in terms of gameplay. It’s got lots of extras but the gameplay itself has remained relatively unchanged. Live, however, has made many gameplay advancements that have put it well on the road back to its glory days. The Ultimate Team and Pro-Am modes are wildly addictive and fun to play. Try it. You won’t be able to stop.

In any case, here are a few ways Live can gain ground on 2K next year:

– Live needs some sort of story line for its career mode. If there is one area where 2K destroyed Live this year, I think it was in the popular career mode, where you take control of a freak named Freq and follow his career from the Harlem projects to NBA riches and greatness. NBA 2K is the only video game that has ever made me cry. Yes, I admit it. I wept at the conclusion Freq’s story (which I will not spoil for you). I got drawn in and caught up in all the drama of Spike Lee’s latest joint and found the ending to be profoundly sad. It surprised me that the story had drawn me in to that degree. From there, you navigate Freq through sponsorship deals, social media, connections with other NBA players and legends, and so on. There are plenty of items in the store to customize your character. The story of Freq was the first of its kind in a sports video game and while many would probably debate me on this, or maybe even call me bad names, I think Spike Lee did a stellar job. The story immerses you fully and deeply in the NBA experience. I can only hope there will be a new character’s story told by another skilled writer in next year’s incarnation of the game. Unfortunately, Live has no story line whatsoever, and as a result it lags behind 2K on the drama front. It’s all left to your imagination. (Imagination, for the young folks, is what we used to use when we played outside as kids before the advent of video games.)

– If I had to pick the worst part of NBA Live,  I would say it’s the in-game commentary. Not sure if you’ve heard Jeff Van Gundy speak before but it’s irritating. His voice grates on the nerves. Nothing he says is of any value whatsoever anyway. The way I play the game is to turn off the commentary and turn on Spotify. Compared to the 2K commentary team, Mike Breen  and Van Gundy are in the bush leagues. The presentation of the games is good but there are no in-game interviews as there are in 2K. This leads to a less immersive experience. 2K loads up its loading times with amusing introductory commentary before and after each game with the brilliant Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny the Jet Smith. They also have Doris Burke doing court-side interviews at halftime and after the game. Live has none of those features. All you get is the gameplay. The rest is up to your imagination.

– The game mode Live needs to improve most is the Dynasty mode. The transaction system doesn’t work and it’s frustrating if you like to keep track of trades and transactions throughout the regular season. You simply can’t because there is no way to see any of the transactions that take place, if they do take place at all. I went halfway through a season without a single trade being made. If there was a trade made, I didn’t know about it because there is no way to check. The news feed in Dynasty mode needs a lot of work, too. It is repetitive and boring. EA could learn much from 2K’s amusing news and social media feeds in the Be A GM mode.

What do you guys think NBA Live needs to do to improve? Should EA shut down the franchise? Or will it catch up to NBA2K in time? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Have your say!

0 0


  1. The “story line” in 2k makes it Freq’s career, not MY career. Terrible. I couldn’t get involved with my supposed player because the entire story had nothing to do with me.

    All these attempts at “immersion” are what is screwing 2k up and the fact Live just let’s us play the game without all that outside junk that has NOTHING to do with playing basketball is what makes Live so much more enjoyable to me. All I want to do is play basketball and use one character for a “career”.

    All that off day stuff 2k added I just skipped cuz I couldn’t care less about that. Rising Star just let’s me play games and that’s it.

    To try to mimic 2k’s formula in Live will just destroy Live cuz 2k already has it. Live needs to be unique to bring in people who are fed up with 2k and it’s money grubbing program that they try to convince us is a game. We don’t need a clone.

    • Live’s rising star mode needs RPG elements like 2K’s MyGM… where saying what you say and performing the way you perform impacts you, your team, and the NBA landscape ten fold.

      It would sorta be unique for it to happen to a player than to actually happen to a GM (Because we already see it in NBA 2K16 MyGM… why not see it in NBA Live 17’s Rising Star).

  2. Number one and most important to me is legends/classic players and teams. Including jordan. I agree this may be the better nba game just needs alil more.

    • Chris Webber and Charles Barkley rights are a big one up for Live.

  3. Rising Star needs the most work… it needs RPG elements like NBA 2K16’s MyGM and some endorsement earnings and an agent like MyCareer.

    If they add that, AND the connected franchise feature for Dynasty mode, Live 17 would be a Sports GOTY nomination… easily

  4. Since n64 I bought my first NBA game last year with 2k15. The game blew my mind, but the shot meter made me taking a look at NBA live 16. I kinda liked the whole package but the clumsy movement animations and the annoying commentary -this guy repeats one sentence over and over- made me sell this game.
    There is a lot ground to cover to even being able to compete with 2k next season.
    It’d love to see a good live game because the shot meter and the shooting 2k still drives me nuts.

  5. Bring back the all star weekend live has always beat 2k with that dunk contest 3 point shoot out an all-star game an also 21 were u an ur friends can play against each other like u would at the courts in real life

  6. What Live needs to do is first of all, let us be able to edit players. That is the whole reason I didn’t buy LIVE 16 cuz none of the designers in 2k know what the player’s real attributes are….and then secondly, the animations have GOT to get better because I feel like it’s impossible to cross your defender up and go in for the easy lay in. and even the layups don’t look like actual NBA player layups. They don’t even use the backboard and if they do its very rare. Also the animation of the ball you make a shot is very unrealistic. They swish it every time you make a shot and if you don’t swish it, you miss it 99% if the time. I don’t mind the graphics of the players honestly. They could be better but it’s nothing to flip out about. And the rising star is really weird. I don’t like the fact you start out at a 50 and hen work your way up. Idk maybe it’s just cuz I’ve been so used to 2ks MYCAREER that I don’t like change haha. Another thing they could do is change the commentators. I like Mike Breen and Jeff VG in real life but their video game voices annoy TF out of me lmao. Even the 2K voices are annoying. I wish they would get guys like Reggie Miller and Chris Webber or hell even Mike Tirico. Guys like that who have unique voices and are actual NBA commentators unlike fuckin Clark Kellog, whoever the fuck that guy is lmao. Also they could do like a local game or a national TV game or NBA TV game. That would be dope. And you can chose whenever you play like an exhibition game by yourself against the CPU, you can chose like either Local, NBA TV, ESPN, or TNT. And have all the commentators from each station except for local because that would probably be difficult to do everyone’s local teams commentators.

    • Man i agree with the animation and the commentating but realistically ain’t gonna happen on the commentating end way to many lines to be recorded and money spend, also crossing over for me work like a charm got space to lay in or get my shot (Shooter SF 99 Ball handles) and also was a great on ball defender (95) and thief (89) so when i got cross i could get back on defense only way to kill me on defense was speed or strength. But yea edit character is a big thing next year needs i literally made Dr. J clone just to be different.

    • I definitely agree with you on all that you said. I personally don’t think the actual announcers should be changed, rather what EA should do is add more realism and a fluctuating voice to the commentary. Even with some laughter here and there and make it more television like commentary with ESPN. Basically like your watching a ESPN game on television and your enjoying it because of the commentary. Mike Breen in real life has a very exciting voice on certain plays, fouls and other things, and really gets you pumped up! I hope that EA views this website for new ideas to add into the new NBA Live games.

  7. First before Live even thinks about doing anything else they need to fix the buzzer beaters, and celebrations. I hit a game winner numerous times, and what the fuck happens? Nothing, no excitement from the commentary, and absolutely nothing. Here’s something even worse: When I play, and if I don’t get a buzzer beater off after 1 second, it automatically doesn’t count, even if you do make it. I got a 8 tenth buzzer beater off, and it went in, but it didn’t count. I checked it on the instant replay, and I got it off in 0.4 and it didn’t ring until the ball was WAYYY up in the air. I lost a playoff game because of that. The game is not totally bad, but it need SERIOUS work if it wants to compete with 2K.

    • Nope 2k16 is absolute trash i could go on for hours but the main thing is the game is way to scripted for it’s own good, also animation and clipping is terrible…. But yea even with that 2k is better live just needs way more contact animation like way way more but the live in my eyes is 20x better sim that 2k. EX: I have a SF (89) first game against Lebron he absolutely killed me in the post his strength overwhelm me couldn’t do anything against it. In 2k curry can stop lebron by pure strength retarded. Also one more Ex: Steph Curry is Curry in live and the Warriors are the Warriors, leave curry open for a heartbeat on the 3 it’s over he literally dropped 56 on us because Jordan Clarkson got crossed up insanely and they switch me on him 6’9 SF great defense player but that speed ate me alive. Also I dropped 63 but we still lost by 30 cause of the great team the warriors.

    • 100% true! EA needs to step it up for once to make a great game.

  8. No, never discontinue the game. 2K16 this year was an atrocity. The 2K gameplay was the most frustrating and unsatisfying 2K ever. I once loved 2K and now have no respect for the company. They have gone to the dark side. They are essentially Madden and although EA makes Madden (which I hate and I love football and football games), these year more than ever EA has an opportunity this year to make a large push to gain market share in NBA basketball games. I have been a 2K fan going back to the dreamcast days and even I have become feed up. All EA has to do is make sure players don’t feel cheated by the game, to fairly simulate NBA basketball in a way that is not cheesy and satisfyingly fun to players, and to make sure the outcomes don’t feel programed and canned. 2K was terrible at this in 2K16, complete garbage. There is a groundswell of player that hate how they have been affronted with 2K’s blatant ineptitudes for the sake of cost in fixing the problems. For example: They actually made a conscious decision to have inadvertent menu come up during gameplay in the middle of pivotal moments or while driving the lane. What that tells players is, we don’t care. And we don’t care so much so that not only are we not going to try and fix a problem with driving the lane being too easy, we are going to create another even more egregious problem to get you to stop doing it, because we don’t want to fix it. What kind of crap is that? Just reprogram the defenses to help or slide their feet. Garbage. If EA put a minimal amount of real work in NBA Live 17 they could have a big year that changes the landscape in terms of NBA basketball games. I know I am going to buy NBA Live 17, not because I believe in it but because 2K16 was so terrible I feel the need to give it a chance.

    • Definitely agree with you! We all need to give it a chance! See the change from EA Sports as well to make a good game that will sell more copies!

  9. The weakness in 2K currently is their gameplay in recent incantation. NBA Live can win players if their gameplay is better than 2K especially in terms of:

    CPU team defense (especially guards and forwards blocking lanes, playing passing lanes, guard help defense, transitioning, swopping men when needed, and quick defensive recovery after help is no longer needed) but CPU defenses needs to still allows for certain stars or types to muscle or squeeze through the help defense and drive consistently. Not everyone can get to the rim whenever they need to but some players can get there consistently (e.g. Lebron, KD, Griffin). 2K16 was terrible at having defenders slide their feet when trying to drive baseline around the corner on a fast break.

    Not cheating the player. If the gamer is creating good offense they should be rewarded. 2K decided to script 2K16 and it seemed as if at time you could not make a shot regardless. There is nothing more frustrating and inconsistent then your best players missing three shots in a row on great offense just so the CPU can be allowed to make a closer game. On the same token, if the player make a bad move they should be punished.

    Passing. 2K’s passing gameplay was a misery in 2K16 (passes not going were directed, passes defying physics and being sucked into CPU players or inexplicably being thrown directly to them, passes that seem in slow motion allowing defenses to recover) and other miserable crap.

    CPU Offense. 2K CPU offense seemed rigged and completely inconsistent. CPU should run plays with alternatives dependent on what players do. Because after a while the plays are known by the gamers and since they are the same in 2K we know where they are going to try and take a shot it is easy to defend. If plays had alternatives it would keep the gamers guessing


  11. Well fellas I agree with most of the things you guys are saying but if live want to take it to the next level really they need to just to focus on the Rising Star and Pro-Am and just make the game about you leave out the exhibition part if not they must improve the game play extremely on exhibition and put the money into the game and take a leash off the creative of the game if they really want to compete with the 2k series cause as of right now a franchise that really started this movement in video game basketball is really being laugh at smh if you know me on my name is TakeYoCashxX please do something more please!

    • You can add me on the xbox one if you would like. I agree with you! Lets hope EA takes action!

  12. If Live didn’t glitch constantly it might be competitive. It has taken me a ridiculous 7-1 ratio of attempts to completed rising star games on Live 16 Never had that problem with 2k16. I was an avid Live fan on PS through the Lat 90’s early 2k years. Now I see them as an embarrassment.

  13. The commentary in this game is very well put together in a lot of other live games as well. I personally think as they make new games to make it even better and more enthusiastic with the announcers in the finals or just in games in general. Probably fixing the camera movement on a side broadcasting view so the camera follows the players when they drive the paint for a layup or shoot the ball in mid air flight. That will probably add more realism to the game I think, even with the commentary and stepping it up on that as well and more for them to say and for the commentators to crack jokes at some points, laugh, and then start commentating again. Like actually watching ESPN on television. If you want a game to be good, exciting, and realistic the commentary plays a huge role, Including the crowd! Player editing and roster editing is another major key, to be able to download and or add rosters from the current NBA year with current NBA players is important!

Comments are now closed for this post.

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.