NBA Live 06

Review

posted 11/23/2005 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: Xbox

It's rather funny that for a game with good defensive AI, the rebounding AI would be so tarnished. NBA Live 06's computer players do a good job of switching to an open man and rotating around so that they don't leave an open man open for long. The computer also does a good job of trying to double team players and you'll sometimes get to see the animation of an offensive player in trouble trying to find someone to kick the ball out to.

Defending the passing lane is very rewarding in NBA Live 06. I do like it's tougher to pass the ball cross court without having it being picked off. This should help curb pass happy players who just throw the ball around without being careful. I found myself using the icon passing for the majority of the game so that I had a lot more control on where it goes.

The offensive action on the court sides more to the arcade style rather than the simulation style partly because of the Freestyle mode that I will talk about in a bit. With most of my games, the majority of the points are driving lay-ups or dunks. Jump shooters do get more into the act in the series, especially those with the sharpshooter Freestyle characteristic. Even so, you can live just driving and performing slams or feeding it to a center that can muscle it down.

Whether you are Milt Palacio, Ray Allen, or Mike Wilks, guards that have a semi-free look to the basket will almost always tickle the bottom of the twine. I'm happy to see that jumpers are a lot more effective and even open jumpers at that but the CBA level guards should not be raining jumpers on me like Larry Bird at the 3-Point contest. It wasn't abnormal to see even the most mediocre player on the other team drain the twenty foot jumpers with consistency. While these are pros, even the most seasoned pros can't nail 85% of their jumpers.

The introduction of Freestyle Superstar mode gives you another EA feature to abuse, and abuse you will. There are six different types of modes. Lebron James will have the high-flyer mode whereby he'll sky over the opposition and slam in their faces. On defense, he'll have the stopper mode where he'll be able to get that great steal to lead the fast break. Ray Allen, for example, has the sharpshooter mode which enables him to get off quick shots with deadly accuracy. Some players have multiple modes that you'll have to choose to use as you can only have one offensive and one defensive Freestyle mode at your disposal during gameplay. Using Larry Hughes, I was able to average over five steals because the Freestyle mode just amplifies his already great stealing ability. Lebron could easily get to the hoop many times because of his great high-flyer Freestyle. With Zydrunas Ilgauskas abusing centers with his scorer Freestyle, it was easy for my Cleveland Cavaliers to cruise through most games even at higher difficulty. Freestyle does add some great animations to the game but they have to tone it down some in future releases.

While the Freestyle mode gives you great scoring and defensive opportunities, the general control of the player seems to hinder you at times. You'll see a lot of sliding going on and that does lead to some easy baskets for both teams. I've also had issues where my player would continually move one way even though I was pushing the analog stick the other way. This seemed happened on inbound plays and while it wasn't often, it happened enough to be annoying. I've also experienced times where I would drive and hold the shoot button only to have my player stand there dribbling the ball. When I press the shoot button, I expect the player to go into the act of shooting. Instead, my dribble and pull up jumper became a dribble and stand around while the opposition converged on what little space I had left.

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