NBA Live 06 is a fiddly game, the controls are fairly complicated and in the heat of the moment it is possible to hit the wrong button. You have a good deal of control over the player (apart from the free shooting system), the whole control system allows for some pretty impressive passing/defence/dribbling and play moves – they are mostly a joy to watch and you can pull off some nice trick shots (more by luck thanks to the aforementioned horrible shooting method)
The 360 controller has been mapped to accommodate various player styles, the controls can be reconfigured and from the moment the game boots up you can see that the team has taken an extra step in the interface. Allowing you to control the player and even have a second player join you on the menu, shooting hoops, is a fun little thing and beats static menus any day.
The control system will be familiar to NBA Live 05 players, since it seems to be exactly the same, apart from the horrendous free shot method which has more in common with the new Tiger Woods than it does NBA. There’s no explanation about this anywhere, and apparently you have to play a game of shuffle the right stick backwards and forwards, pray to strange gods and hope that it works.
Apart from that EA have created the game of basketball down to the sweat on the player’s skin, but we’ll cover that in the Graphics section. The game is highly configurable and you can change numerous options, rules and of course there’s the great custom player creation which is certainly one of the more in depth features in the game.
With the custom player creator you can change the usual skin type, height and so on, just think of any WWE style game and you’re half way there. You can morph the face, change the height of the brows and the length of the nose, alter the chin and change just about any part of the player from head to toe.
When you have your player you can switch him in for professional players, fiddle with the rosters and create your dream team. Then it’s off for a quick game, a season or some Xbox LIVE madness. But wait, there’s no franchise mode? This missing feature puts a dent in the game’s playability right away.
LIVE also suffers from problems, games range from fairly decent lag wise to utterly unplayable and it seems a lot of things in NBA have been sacrificed for the retuned graphics engine.Camera
The camera is where the game falls down; the dynamic camera is pretty much a pain in the neck and often pulls some stupid angles leaving you wondering where you are on the game and what the heck you’re doing. The sideline camera is just about where you’ll want to play NBA from and you really don’t need to switch, but even this reduces the playability because it too has problems and combining this with the pass system causes problems if you have more than one human controlled player – as the icons are often confusing.
There are also no replays, only potted replays from two camera angles after each basket. The lack of a proper replay feature is something of a trend in EA’s games of late – Burnout 4
for example was missing a replay feature.