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NBA Live 08 vs. NBA 2K8

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The 2007-2008 NBA season is nearly upon us and what better way is there to celebrate than to play some good ol’ basketball on the Xbox 360. We ran EA’s NBA Live 08 and 2K’s NBA 2K8 side-by-side on two HDTVs and two Xbox 360s to determine once and for all which game reigns supreme. We cover everything you want to know about the two games right here.

Quick Hits

  • Title: NBA Live 08
  • Platform:Xbox 360
  • Publisher: EA
  • Developer: EA
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: NBA basketball
  • Pros: Nice presentation; improved gameplay over 07
  • Cons: Features list not a big upgrade over 07

  • Title: NBA 2K8
  • Platform:Xbox 360
  • Publisher: 2K Sports
  • Developer: Visual Concepts
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: NBA basketball
  • Pros: Best basketball gameplay on the market; tons of stuff to do
  • Cons: Graphics could be better

Gameplay

  • NBA Live 08 – Last year, the gameplay in NBA Live 07 was pretty much broken. The fundamentals – passing, shooting, etc. – were just horrible. NBA Live 08, on the other hand, is a much much better game. Everything just feels so smooth and responsive this year. The superstar moves, which were the entire focus of the game last year, are pretty much gone but certain players still do have special moves they can bust out. All in all, NBA Live 08 actually plays very solidly.

  • NBA 2K8 – And even as good as Live feels this year, 2K8 just feels that much better. Every single aspect of the game is just sharper and plays better in 2K8. The pace is just about perfect and it really looks and plays out just like a real NBA game. And, of course, the option sliders put it all over the top. NBA Live 08 does have sliders of its own, but 2K8 gives you more control over everything and it seems like they have more of a dramatic impact.

  • Winner : NBA 2K8 2K8 just flat out plays better. Live is much improved this year, and will probably suit casual fans just fine, but NBA 2K8 is the way to go for hardcore NBA fans.

Features

  • NBA 2K8 – NBA 2K8 comes out of the gate with a handful of new modes. In addition to the standard quick play, season, and franchise modes (called The Association here) we have come to expect, 2K8 has a few new tricks up its sleeve as well. NBA Blacktop mode is 2K’s version of a streetball game, and it is just what you expect. You can also participate in a slam dunk contest or a three-point shootout as well. Online play has also seen some nice updates as well, and you can play quick or ranked games, full NBA seasons, as well as the blacktop modes online.

  • NBA Live 08 – It seems that the developers worked too hard on fixing the gameplay this year, because the features list is pretty much the same as before. Play Now, season, dynasty, three-point shootout, dunk contest, creation modes – they’re all here. This isn’t necessarily a knock on Live 08 since most people avoided Live 07 like the plague and this will actually be their first time seeing these modes, at least on a next-gen system. There are some new things here as well, such as being able to choose National teams and play the FIBA tournament. Online play also saw some upgrades such as online leagues.

  • Winner : NBA 2K8 – Once again, 2K8 comes out on top. More new modes and more improvement in the old modes win the day here.

Presentation

  • NBA 2K8 – NBA 2K8 is at the same time a beautiful game, but can also be quite ugly. The animation is really spectacular to begin with, and the signature animations included for superstar players really add a lot to the experience. Not everyone shoots the same or passes the same or even dribbles the same, and NBA 2K8 recreates that perfectly. Unfortunately, though, NBA 2K8 does not have the most realistic looking players out on the court. With a few exceptions for high level superstar-caliber players, the faces in NBA 2K8 are pretty darn ugly and don’t look very much like their real life counterparts. The menu system also leaves a lot to be desired.

  • NBA Live 08 – One area where Live 08, and all EA games really, shines is in the presentation. The graphics are just great looking all around. From the detailed player likenesses to the arenas, everything looks like it should in Live 08. The animation isn’t as nice as 2K8, but it is no slouch either.

  • Winner : NBA Live 08- NBA Live 08 wins hands down as far as the best looking game goes. It doesn’t have as nice of animation as 2K8, but the players look a lot better and the game overall is a bit sharper and better looking. The sound is pretty much equal between both games with solid commentary and sound effects and equally obnoxious menu music in both.

Bottom Line

  • When you look at everything that each game offers, this comparison isn’t as cut and dry as it seems. For hardcore NBA fans, NBA 2K8 is definitely the best of the two since it plays the best and offers the most options for adjusting the game to play the way you want. For casual fans, however, NBA Live 08 might be a better choice because it plays quite well, has plenty of features and modes to keep you busy, and has the better looking graphics of the two games by far. It all depends on what you want out of your game. NBA 2K8 is for those that want the best, most realistic gameplay and the deepest franchise mode. NBA Live 08 is for those that want the best graphics and sound along with decent gameplay and a nice selection of modes. You really can’t go wrong with either one this year, so no matter which one you ultimately pick, you’re a winner. For me, though, I have to go with NBA 2K8.

  • Winner : NBA 2K8
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