STAFF REVIEW of NBA Live 2002 (Xbox)

Saturday, December 29, 2001.

NBA Live 2002 Box art Maybe I was expecting too much. This game misses out on some details I thought were standard by now. Remember where you used to see cheerleaders or even a halftime little cinematic thing? This is still a pretty good game, but I wouldn?t call it solid. If you listen to your games, you wont like the sounds of this one. It might be safer to wait for NBA Inside Drive from Microsoft though. Don?t get me wrong, it looks good, but there are just too many "bricks" and "air balls" in this one...Although it would be a blast as a rental.

Even a monkey can play NBA Live 2002. The controls are very easy to master. Basically on offense you only use turbo, pass and shoot. Occasionally you might do an alley oop. It still seems way too easy to score. To do an alley oop, you just need someone close to the basket, and you have about a 95% chance to score...and If you dunk you have about a 99% chance to score. After the other team scores, you can easily run up to the half court line, and so a little turbo zig zag into the basket for an easy dunk or lay-up. Even though it is easy, its still fun. The franchise mode is hours of fun and does feel like a simulation because you are running your team and contracts for the players and such. I also think they the players aren?t as varied as they could be. Rookies seem to be the same face, only things lighter or darker and moved around. They also steal names from other players, so it gets annoying when you think the player is someone else. Even though franchise mode is fun, NBA Live would be a great arcade game. Only need to spend $3 on it and you feel like you had a good time and you don?t need to play anymore.

Well a strong point of this game is graphics. For the most part the players look like their real life counter parts. Sometimes though I found that the heads seem a little small for the bodies. On Shaq his head is like as big as his bicep, and Shaq has a pretty big head. I think its about time we got out of a 2D crowd. Every basketball or sports game for that matter has a 2D crowd. It has gotten better because they move and jump and such, but it just seems like it is on a loop and like its unrealistic. It can?t be that hard to make the crowd look much better. Considering all the developers have to do is make models of the people and courts, it wouldn?t hurt to make the crowd look real. I think it would make the experience better. Other than that flaw, the good players that are more known all have their key tattoos, such as Shaq's "S".

The sound effects are good, the shoes on the hardwood floor sound realistic, but the commentators just don?t have a large list of sayings. They are burned in my head. That?s nasty Don, just nasty...I saw him practicing that before the game...say it one more time from the Southside (or something like that) and many more that I tried to forget. Once you are in the second half you will start to realize the crazy repetitive comments. The commentators are everything in the sound department in a game, and this just doesn?t make it feel authentic. The crowd does help to make you feel more like you are there. I found the player to player and player to ref interactions to be pointless, because there is no sound. It makes it feel more real when a player argues with a ref or another player, but if you cant hear anything I see no reason for it to be there. I just click A to skip it.

Please, don't rush your games out just so you can get them out before Christmas. Also please spruce up your ports a little. This could of and should of been a lot better to show the power of the Xbox.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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