NBA Live 2001
Since NBA Live 95, EA Sports sets the standard of Basketball games and probably also for every other sports game. But why can they maintain this status in the business? Well, because they improve the product, and every time you say :”Damn this is a good game!”. That’s why! but you already knew this so let’s get on with the game.
Before the intro you get the usual crap about copyrighted to NBA blablabla and that the player rosters are accurate as of 27 November. Then you get the usual screen with all the logo’s from every team and next is the EA Sport logo. Finally you get the intro!
The intro wasn’t what I was expecting, I mean, I thought I was going to see some hardcore basketball action scenes like courtside countdown but instead I saw someone who grabs a microphone and started to sing ?! I hope the singer is an NBA player otherwise it’s rather stupid. After all that, you get to see some in-game action scenes. Also you get to see how they used Kevin Garnet to digitalise the dunks and the moves. I must admit the intro isn’t the good part of the game.
After the crappy intro you get the main screen, which is a very good one because it’s simple and not like NBA Live 2000 with the players at the background who slow down your system. Anyway, you can choose between the usual game modes (exhibition, season, franchise, one-on-one, playoff and multiplayer) each with their own options. I guess the franchise is the mode which will be played the most. So let’s continue with that one.
You pick your team(s) and start managing/playing your own franchise. You can waive players, sign free-agents (although you can’t do that at the first year of the season because EA Sports didn’t add any player that wasn’t on a NBA team roster at November the 27th, but you can change this by using the roster update from the nba-live series centre – click here to get your copy).
The franchise mode has the same features as last year but now you can make a 3 team trade deal. This means you can involve a third team to trade with, but you can’t trade players between cpu teams. Thus when you trade with 3 teams the cpu team can’t trade a player to another cpu team. This is rather stupid because it must be simple to implement this feature and let the cpu decide if he agrees to the deal or not. (Guess this will be added in NBA Live 2002 :). After a full season the computer gives out the mvp, defensive player of the year, rookie of the year, most improved, first team and first defensive team. Then some players retire and the draft begins. This is the same as NBA Live 2000.
SOUND: the sounds are the same as last year, but now they added more trashtalk for the players, although you can’t understand what they are saying (except if you tune up the volume of your speakers). One little remark : you never hear the organ playing.
GRAPHICS: Can’t say they improved much because they looked fine in NBA Live 2000. Again a little remark here. I’m a player who plays with the classic camera mode, and no zoom ( this gives me the best overlay of the court to play some showtime basket ball :), but then I don’t see anything of the great details of the players? On the other hand, I can see the crowd and they are still 2D. I can’t believe why they didn’t work on that one. I must admit that EA put the faces on the bench players, but again those guys are sitting there 48 minutes without moving an inch???? To end with a positive note here : they included more player scenes, like when Karl Malone goes to the free-throw line, you see him mumble/pray! Anyway, the graphics are just fine!
GAMEPLAY: EA removed the fake-jump-bug. For those who don’t know this : In NBA live 2000, you only had to fake and most of the time the player defending your player jumped in the air so you could dribble to the hoop for a nasty dunk! BUT now we have an new bug ! The computer controlled players are way to good in offensive rebounds. Players like O’Neil grab more than 10 offensive rebounds if you play against them.
If you buy this game and you are a newbie to the NBA Live series, the controls could be a bit difficult. Although, if you get used to them, they are very good.
Also the strategy isn’t changed. I hoped they would include some kind of strategy creator so you can run your own offences, maybe a hint for next releases.
Conclusion: another great Basketball game from EA sports. But this time there aren’t any good improvements compared to NBA Live 2000.