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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Sports

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 16, 2005

 

 

- Awesome looking character models

- Greatest loading screen in gaming today

 

 

- Awful manual

- On a regular TV the text is unreadable

- Free throws suck

- Dribbling when moving slowly demonstrates the dribbler’s ability to bend space and time to his will

- No franchise mode is a mortal sin

 

Review: NBA Live 06 (XB)

Review: NBA Live 06 (PS2)

Review: NCAA March Madness 06 (XB)

Review: NBA Street v.3 (XB)

 

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NBA Live 06

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

I know I was supposed to be impressed by NBA Live 06 – and I was.  The graphics look great!  Though the players’ arms seem to be out of proportion to the rest of the their bodies, the player models actually look sweaty and the movement of their jerseys seem realistic.  However, that initial “Very nice!” impression sunk once I actually started playing the game.

 

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Maybe the best addition to this version of NBA Live 06 is that as the game loads you get to shoot hoops and generally muck around.  This is approximately 100% more entertaining than watching a standard “loading” screen.  But this only worked to increase the let down of the actual game.

 

This is basketball action from five years ago and the whole thing feels rushed.  Maybe the most glaring example is dribbling speed.  As you control a player with the ball you’ll notice right away that as the character moves slower the ball moves slower to and from the floor as if the normal laws of gravity and motion are suspended.  The ball seems to bounce normally when you run around the court but the moment you start walking… it looks bad.  Couple that with an erratic framerate and you have a reason to start doubting your purchase.

 

But there are also other reasons to doubt your purchase.  This may be TV specific, but on my regular TV, the small text ranges from barely readable to a mess.  This forced me to read the manual to see what other options were available and because the manual is sparse on information – I swear, EA has the flimsiest damn manuals for the 360 – I just bumbled around with the game to find everything.  The other reason, and it’s a biggie considering how many wins or losses hinge on them, are the free throws.  The manual conveniently omits any indication of the proper 

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execution of a free throw, which I found is performed by pulling down the right stick then pushing it up in a straight line.  However, because there’s zero feedback on why you missed or *gasp* actually hit a free throw there’s really no way to figure out why it happened the way it did.  (While playing online, which is only tolerable, always go for the foul if your opponent is going for a dunk – he’ll have a hell of a time hitting the free throws.)

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The on-court action is a slight evolution over the previous NBA Live titles.  The rebounding is still a little dubious at times, but anyone who has played an NBA Live title in the last few years should have little problem jumping right in.

 

Besides the standard Season mode, NBA Live 06 also features quick games, and a create-a-player mode, which are fine, but fans will be asking where the hell the Franchise mode went.  Considering that this seems to be a standard mode for every sports title from soccer to hockey, the omission of a franchise mode is a huge hole in the overall package.

 

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Audio is good but not outstanding.  The commentary provided by Marv Albert and Steve Kerr is good and the crowd noises, depending on your audio setup, can be quite a treat.

 

At the end of the day, you can probably just wait until next year’s NBA Live 07 to get a full package of b-ball, because NBA Live 06 just isn’t worth your time.

 

- Omni

(December 15, 2005)

 

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