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NBA Live 2001 Review
publisher: EA Sports
developer: EA Sports
P200, 32MB RAM, 100MB HDD, 4MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Feb 07, 01 (released)
|» All About NBA Live 2001 on ActionTrip|
The latest NBA Live game is upon us! More rap music bundled up with Kevin Garnett's dumb expression as he goes in for the slam...
Well, that's a good thing, and I don't mind that... What I do mind though is that apart from a few rookies, you can't really notice any significant difference or improvements in the fundamental basketball concepts over NBA 2000, NBA 99, or NBA 98. For me at least, graphics have seized to be the big issue since 99'. All that fancy pre-game showboating, jumping, butt slapping, high fives, and rounded models with realistic portraits are becoming something you'd regularly expect from the EA Sports team.
True, NBA Live 2001 looks smoother and funkier than its predecessor. The virtual players have physically drawn an inch closer to their real-life counterparts (Vlade Divac can now say - look ma' I'm in a computer game!), and the whole feeling of the NBA match including the crowds is yet again improved with visual detail and great sound effects. But, as I said, you'd expect that from EA Sports, so that's not much of an issue any more... Over the years, I've become increasingly interested in how has the NBA Live series evolved in terms of getting closer to that kick ass hoop sim. concept (which doesn't necessarily imply 100% realism)... And each year, I get disappointed with the same AI stupidity, design flaws, and the same old tried and proven methods of scoring against a predictable artificial defense.
Some of the features that were present in v2000 are actually missing in v2001. Those include the in-game save game, refs, and some of the added player customization options. Why developers decided to scrap those features is anybody's guess, but I suppose they had to make some changes, so they decided to do it in a negative fashion. Instead of adding features, they've decided to take out a few to justify their budget. OK, OK... sarcasm aside, there are some new features in this latest edition, like the jump hooks, fade away jumpers, and spin moves (meaning more power to the inside game) and there are some improvements to the franchise mode. Also, the AI winds the shot clock more intelligently, but that's not nearly enough to make this anything more than a spit shine. You can hardly call the 2001 improvements a serious overhaul. The improved inside game changes the overall pace, and it forced me to modify my offensive style of play, but it also makes the gameplay a lot slower -- more of a positional, half-court basketball. I can hear some of you saying - but isn't that how it's supposed to be, dammit! Yeah it is, but only if you feel like taking the duller things from the "real" game, and giving them more room in the computer incarnation. It's a true challenge to balance out the "fun", and "real" in a hoop sim., whilst keeping the accent slightly on the "fun". I mean, your regular NBA Live 2001 game now reminds me of that famous Eastern European style of basketball in the days of the USSR. No wait, I have an even better analogy... Instead of looking like the "run and gun" shootout, it looks more like the stuff we're used to seeing in the good ol' state of Yewtaw... Stockton to Malone... Malone posts up... oops he's double teamed... dishes out back to Stockton for the easy shot... and did someone say: pick and roll... Oh yeah, baby! It's Utah style all the way!
8.1 Very Good
Even flashier eye-candy. Feels even more like an NBA game. Some may like the inside game/less points per game?
Some may not like the inside game/Jazz pace? Boxing out. Erratic passing. No significant innovations over the previous installment.