October 28th marked, not only the beginning of the 2014-15 NBA season, but also marked the release of NBA Live 15.After a brief hiatus NBA Live returned last season with the release of NBA Live 14, but that release was met with disappointing results. EA Sports was intent on recovering from the subpar performance of NBA Live 14 with a renewed focus on NBA Live 15.
The game was initially set to release on October 7th, the same day as its direct competitor, NBA 2K15. However, EA Sports decided to delay the release of NBA Live 15 for the purpose to “polish the game”. Since the game has been released, it has been met with some mixed reviews, many of which are summarized below.
Score: 5.5 out of 10 – Mediocre; Don’t let the improved looks fool you – NBA Live 15’s good ideas are all stifled by poor gameplay fundamentals.
“Although NBA Live 15 looks significantly better than NBA Live 14 at a glance, it still suffers from clumsy controls and stiff animations. A few nice changes and additional game modes can’t make up for poor gameplay, but there are some great ideas here that just don’t get a chance to shine, like the pick & roll and the ESPN license. All in all, NBA Live doesn’t feel as hopeless as it did a year ago, but hope doesn’t make a good basketball game. Practice those fundamentals!”
Score: 6.0 out of 10 – NBA Live 15 isn’t bad, but it’s hard to love
“Like an obstreperous child, NBA Live 15 is not bad, but it can be hard to love. Its real impact will have to be measured later, in the bar it sets for successive editions and whether they clear that. With no truly fair comparison to make, this is the last time NBA Live can claim credit for fulfilling basic obligations. But at least it no longer plays or looks like an experiment gone wrong.”
Score: 8.0 out of 10
“NBA Live 15 brings the franchise back onto the court with authority and takes the game successfully into the next generation of gaming. While the game isn’t perfect, it is clearly ready to take on all comers and creates a firm foundation for EA to build upon for years to come.”
Score: 4.0 out of 10 – Not Good
“With NBA Live 15, EA Sports makes minimal progress at best, but can’t seem to find a solid enough identity for its hoops sim. The gameplay is all over the place, the modes don’t show enough improvement, and the visual splendor is dulled over by commentators who feel like they want to be somewhere else.”
Score: 7.0 out of 10
“Overall, NBA Live 15 brings back the franchise back to the court successfully with authority and takes it to the next generation of gaming. The game isn’t perfect, but it is clearly ready to create a foundation for other games to develop in the coming years.”
Score: 5.75 out of 10
“NBA Live 15 may not be ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with its competition, but with much improved presentation and mechanics the series is trending in the right direction. The remaining gameplay issues and lack of mode depth, however, makes it tough to recommend this particular version.”
Score: 6.0 out of 10
“Over the course of a full season, NBA Live 15 just doesn’t have the staying power to be considered a legitimate contender at this point. Unlike last season however, promise is starting to show. If NBA Live 14 was the skeleton, NBA Live 15 has some skin on the bones, and there is good here going forward. EA Sports is a couple of strong development cycles away from returning NBA Live as a series, back to the All Star conversation.”
As the above reviews indicate, NBA Live 15 is much better than last year’s version of the NBA Live series. However, the game is still a ways behind its competitor, NBA 2K15. The game, while not perfect, does seem to give EA Sports a foundation to advance and compete in the estimated $350 million world of basketball video games. With NBA Live 16 and 17 already guaranteed, EA Sports will hope to continue to gain significant ground in the market.