NBA Live 09 Review

  • Posted October 7th, 2008 at 00:02 EDT by

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NBA Live 09

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NBA Live 09 delivers a respectable game of basketball in a series that has displayed questionable quality in recent years. I see even brighter days ahead for EA Canada's basketball title.

We like

  • Live 365 is revolutionary
  • Animations are authentic
  • Online clubs keeps gamers coming back

We dislike

  • Textile animations are ridiculous
  • Passes are sometimes inconsistent
  • Game-changing computer comebacks happen far too often

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

   It’s pretty rare that EA Sports has to play catch up on one of its sports titles. The company, which has generally dominated all sports competition since it began, has often-times found itself racing to catch up with its competitors on the basketball court. While NBA Live 08 was a solid start on the PlayStation 3, the team at EA Canada has taken this past year to follow suit with the Los Angeles Lakers. That is, they’ve improved their game exponentially on all fronts, however, they still come up a tad short in the grand finale. The changes in Live 09 will undoubtedly please fans of the series, but it may prevent those who normally enjoy other basketball titles from making the switch over.

Something that plagued past NBA Live titles was the absolutely sloppy animation. Player animations simply weren’t realistic. Players used to glide across the floor, or they’d display wonky shot mechanics. Fortunately, Live 09 gives off the impression that the developers realized this and made it a priority to fix it. The end result has left the game feeling a lot more authentic. Players now shift their weight appropriately, their feet plant and pivot accordingly and their motions and shot mechanisms now look and feel genuine. Of course, all of these animations wouldn’t mean much if the gameplay was shoddy. Thankfully, that's not the case.


NBA Live 09 features responsive controls -- a breath of fresh air for the series. Gamers may notice that when they move with the left analog, their player on the screen is not only going to move immediately, but realistically as well. There is no more turning on a dime on a fast break or feeling as though you’ve lost control of your player (unless momentum accurately dictates that you should). EA Canada has taken great strides in perfecting these pillars of gameplay.

One of the more improved aspects of the title revolves around the average amount in which dunks and fast breaks occur. The biggest complaint fans of the Live franchise have usually had is the fact that the title seemed to be nothing more than a dunk and fast break-fest. The developers have done a marvelous job in restricting these elements from being abused. Gamers are now forced to create their own penetration within the defense and they will have to set the dunk up by passing the ball around the perimeter and in the inside if they want to slam it home.

For those of you who love taking Kobe, Davis, James, Nash and a plethora of other players to the hoop, you still can. Gamers are still capable of utilizing crossovers, shoulder fakes and more in order to put their defender in bad position to drive to the basket. On the flip side, defensive players are able to press the body of their offensive counterpart in order to keep them under wrap. Live offers up a very user friendly play call option as well. Offensive of defensive players will be able to pull up a list of plays and scroll through them as they see fit. Once selected, overlays on the court will provide gamers with the direction in which they must go to properly execute the chosen play. This makes the game a lot more strategic than you’d think, and gives newcomers to the sport an opportunity to understand the way plays work.


Unfortunately, there are still some disappointments within the gameplay that keep the game from being top dog. One of those issues is the momentum swings. I understand that in real life basketball teams go on 12-0 runs and things of that nature, but this seems to take effect any time the computer is down by a significant margin. It almost feels as though the computer picks and chooses when it will get a run and when it won’t. This means that even a 20-point lead is sometimes not a sure thing going into the fourth quarter. Yes, these comebacks do happen, but not at the rate they do within NBA Live 09. Another issue I had was that passes didn’t always go to the player you directed them towards. This resulted in turnovers and very frustrating moments. ... (continued on next page)

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Related information

  • Related game: NBA Live 09

    Release date (US):
    October 7th, 2008
    EA Canada
    Sports - Basketball
    332 of 2,669 Games
    Down 1 places (in last 7 days)

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