NBA Live 07

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 6

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


After a disappointing freshman outing on the Xbox 360, EA Sports sends another NBA Live title to this console feeling unfinished, sloppy and lacking in focus. This isn't simply another edition of NBA Live; it's a butchered game of basketball. Basic fundamentals of basketball game design are completely absent, and the only decent addition is one that should have been standard in the 2006 edition.

nbalive071360.jpg (171035 bytes)Everything NBA Live 07 does right, it does off the court. Integration with ESPN has been taken to unparalled levels. If signed into Xbox Live, the user will immediately hear the latest update from ESPN Radio once into the menu system. Other shows from their on-air radio programming are available at the users request. Text based articles can be pulled up instantly, and full streaming video of the days hottest stories load when selected.

Actual menus take the same concept from last year. You're still able to run and shoot with the cover athlete (Tracy McGrady graces the box art) while waiting for the loading to complete. This has been updated to become relevant to the menu option being selected. Choosing All-Star Weekend causes the mechanical practice court to open up to a vibrant, celebratory backdrop.

Sadly, that's the final positive you'll hear about NBA Live 07. There are few adjectives to describe the abysmal gameplay, completely destroying progress made over the last five years. Everything about EA Sport's famed basketball effort has been crushed.

Immediately apparent is the stilted animation. Jump shots seem as if they're missing frames, leading to a feeling of not being in full control. Running with a speed boost causes players to duck into an unnatural position from the waist. Routines for Superstar moves, including various dekes, shots and player specific passes are frustrating due to their abnormal speed. They're performed with the left bumper and analog stick, making it difficult to pull of the proper maneuver.

Nagging gameplay quirks are everywhere. For a second year in a row the camera system is inexcusable. The default view is not only impossible to use to judge depth (you'll find a lot of shots end up hitting underneath the backboard), it's called broadcast. Never, anywhere in the world, has a NBA game been shown on television using this behind-the-backboard disaster for the full 48-minutes. Worse yet, it's the default for the title's laggy, inconsistent online play.

nbalive072360.jpg (138687 bytes)Going up for rebounds is useless as the majority find their way to floor before going into a player's hands. Offensive rebounds are at an all time high regardless of where it lands. Defense collapses as it did over seven years prior in NBA 2000. The lane consistently opens up to allow an offensive player free access to the rim. Also, without adjusting the sliders, open shots are nearly a guarantee and dunks are regularly missed by the NBA's best. Then again, it's hard to even tell when a ball goes through the net anyway.

Offenses are run poorly. AI rarely makes an effort to become open, and this usually is the result of a rather dumb defense that lives and dies by the double team. Setting up an offense is a waste of effort though. Running into the lane and hitting the dunk button is usually enough to see results.

Live 07 offers the dynasty mode that should have been a requirement before shipping Live 06, and the benefits are all things fans of the series have played before. All-Star Weekend, with its standard dunk contest and three-point shootout, is fun for brief sessions with friends. Ridiculous achievements added to the Xbox 360 version are designed to frustrate, not keep someone playing.

Looking back even further, the only real benefit between this and NBA Live 95 (the inaugural edition of this franchise) is that the players don't slide around the court. Now, they stop on a dime unnaturally when contested. It's a glaring comparison, one that shows how far this series has fallen from its once dominant high point. This is the worst basketball video game so far in this new millennium.


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Last updated: Monday, October 09, 2006 09:37 PM