NBA Live 2005 (GameCube) Review

By James Temperton 06.12.2004

We love basketball. The flair, the excitement, the non-stop energy and testosterone, it is everything a sport should be and a lot more. Sure, the people who play it are all over-paid, egotistical idiots, but we don't really care...we enjoy the whole thing so much. So, given the chance to enjoy one of our favourite sports in videogaming form is always one we enjoy. The NBA franchise has been around for ages now, but can EA shoot some more magic into it, or is it just another bad pass?

One thing you can normally always depend on from an EA Sports game is that it will look good, sadly NBA LIVE 2005 fails right from the off. Unlike games in the Madden, NBA and FIFA franchises, the players in NBA LIVE 2005 look like right mugs. The animation is utterly horrible; sluggish, un-natural and generally very poor. The graphical detail on the players is blurry and blocky and the crowd is simply a load of vaguely-people shaped blobs that vibrate every few seconds to show excitement or outrage. It makes us cringe...especially when the game takes so long to load...

We could put the graphics to one side if they didn't affect the actual gameplay, but they do; quite a bit in fact. Due to a total lack of definition and clarity in the general look of the game it is very hard to see what is going on at times. It can all just become a blur of poorly animated arms and limbs flapping about the place, and somewhere amongst it all is a ball that is annoyingly similar in colour to everything else in the game when it moves fast.

Gameplay wise the game is ruined by a poor control system and general slack execution. Passing is simple enough, but constructing moves of any originality and flair, something that basketball is all about is made slightly impossible by two factors: poor controls and evil opposition AI. Not only is attacking with flair hugely difficult, defending with any quality and physicality is just about impossible. At first we thought it was just our plain incompetence, but having played the game for a long time and really got to grips with it we have come to the decision that we are not imagining things. Attacking is not fun and defending is not easy, or fair. The amount of times we found ourselves let down by the control system or the gameplay is inexcusable and sadly ruins what should be quite an entertaining little game.

The game is packed full of things to do: Play Now, Dynasty Mode, NBA All Stars, Season, Play-Offs, 1 on 1, Slam Dunk and Practice. Some of them are good fun, 1 on 1 for instance is quite a good laugh, but in particular the multiplayer in general is a real blast.

As with most EA Sports games of late we have one major gripe. This game takes up 75 blocks on your memory card, maybe even more, depending on how many features you want to use. And if you're into EA Sports games in quite a serious way you could find yourself spending quite a considerable amount of money on extra memory cards. It's annoying, expensive and damn stupid.

Playing the game itself should really be fun. Whilst it's packed full of pace from start to finish, NBA LIVE 2005 doesn't feel exhilarating, more confusing. Scoring can be great fun. If you think really hard and force yourself to trick the game, you can score some pretty impressive points. Quick passing, sharp turns, running, loops balls, tricks; all put together and topped off with a huge slam dunk from a 7ft tall Croat. Sounds great, doesn't it? It would be were it not for the fact that you have to trick the game and go 'against the grain' to get things to work. It doesn't feel natural, it doesn't feel fluid and thus it doesn't feel like basketball.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Annoyingly disappointing. With all the other EA Sports franchises going in the right direction (ie: getting better) NBA LIVE 2005 seems to be taking a step back. There are some pretty fundamental and simple flaws in this game that ruin it in quite a big way. A huge shame, but we simply can't give NBA LIVE 2005 anything more than an average mark.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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