I want to know who is responsible for this. It’s bad enough that EA has to deal with the seminal 2K series every year when it comes to NBA games, but this year’s offering of NBA Live 07
makes me question what the quality control department is doing during their workday. Basically, NBA Live 07 is a sugar-coated mess that plays like absolute garbage and really doesn’t give you any reason to play it – other than ESPN shoving it down your throat with an entire TV show dedicated to Live 07 tourney or using the game to make virtual highlights.
The beginning of the game is an over-produced helping of tripe. Inside a cold, unfeeling gymnasium from the year 21XX, robotic backboards erect themselves and a holographic image of Tracy McGrady
runs around shooting hoops against no one in particular. You can control the Houston Rockets star and take as many shots or dunks as you want. The menu is displayed using the d-pad should you ever decide to play an actual game. As games load you are taken back to this arena to shoot some more, which is admittedly a nice way to kill time as you wait for the arena to break down and reveal Madison Square Garden behind it.
Sure, it looks good - but how well does it play?
The big production value continues with camera shots form the ceiling of the arenas, player introductions and banter between Marv Albert and Steve Kerr. During all-star festivities you get an all-new team of Greg Anthony and Ernie Johnson. Anyway, the graphics look nice on the Xbox 360, the commentary is correct most of the time and you’re all set for tip-off. Then every thing goes horribly wrong.
I suppose the first downside is the lack of a good camera angle. NBA 2K7, the direct competitor to Live 07, has fantastic cameras that are dynamic enough to zoom in when the action goes close to the basket. You can also customize the cameras to your heart’s desire, whereas the best angle Live 07 offers makes the players look like ants in comparison. I found this odd, as EA usually likes to show off their graphics.
Don't be surprised if this shot goes in.
If you can get over the lack of a nice camera, there’s still the actual gameplay itself. Double-teamed players will pass the ball straight up in the air and hit the roof of the arena, and bounce passes like to do the same. Players can jump up from underneath the net while holding the ball, push the ball through the rim and dunk it outside the rim - and this counts for two points. I’ve even seen a player stand on the baseline and do a fade-away jumper. The ball went straight up through the giant black shot clock, over the backboard, and through the net for two points. When balls bounce off the rim – a rare occurrence because anyone can drain almost any shot from almost anywhere – rebound position doesn’t matter as much as having magical hands that can pull the ball towards them from yards away.
Sadly, NBA Live 07 doesn’t even compete with other b-ball offerings, including the NBA Street series from the same company. It’s bad enough that EA decided to put advertisements in a $60 game, it is worse that EA thought the game was worth that much money in the first place. Luckily for the NBA, it hasn’t agreed to exclusive rights to any video game developer. Otherwise, NBA Live might be the only series available.
3 out of 10