NBA Live 06 is here just in time to get you pumped up for the NBA season. The biggest change this year is the addition of freestyle superstar controls that make great players such as Shaquille ONeal and Steve Nash play more like their real life counterparts. The rest of the game isnt too different from Live 2005, but the overall package is still an improvement and is highly recommended.
In addition to the extremely solid fundamentals passing, shooting, rebounding, etc. which are all nearly perfect NBA Live 06 adds in freestyle superstar controls that make the game play even more like the real thing. Stars are separated into power, playmaker, high-flyer, scorer, shooter, and stopper categories where each category grants special new abilities. For example, Shaq is a power player and his freestyle controls allow him to dunk over basically anyone and everyone. Playmakers like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash have unique passes you can use to slice apart the defense like swiss cheese. The other categories all present unique moves and abilities and it is nice to see star players actually playing like stars rather than everyone having the same moves. Overall the gameplay is better than ever and it is a very satisfying way to play basketball.
Features and Modes
NBA Live 06 has all of the same features and modes as Live 2005. You can play quick games with all of the NBA teams as well as international squads. The full All-Star Weekend experience is back once again and the three point and dunk contests are great fun. The main single-player mode is the dynasty mode where you are in charge of a team over a number of seasons and are responsible for roster management and more. In 06 you also have to manage your scouting teams as well as hire assistant coaches. It all adds up to a deep and satisfying experience that will eat up a lot of time if you are a big basketball fan.
There is also, of course, an online mode in NBA Live 06 complete with ladders and rankings. Games online are smooth and fairly painless and finding an opponent is usually pretty easy. A nice addition is that you can now play three-point shootouts and slam dunk contests online which is fun for a while.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, NBA Live 06 is a great looking game of basketball. The player models are very detailed on the Xbox and look absolutely amazing. The animation is very smooth and detailed and all of the new superstar freestyle moves really make the game look realistic. There are some graphical glitches such as players clipping through each other and the ball magically teleporting into a players hands on a rebound, but overall the game looks great.
The sound is also very well done. Sound effects for the game of basketball are sharp and just like you would expect. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr provide the play by play and they both do a good job. Alberts enthusiasm for the game is pretty infectious and really helps pump you up as you play.
NBA Live 06 stands as the best Live game so far and is pretty easy to recommend. The new superstar freestyle controls add a cool new element to the game and pulling off fancy passes and signature moves is a really satisfying way to play basketball. You can argue that the game plays a bit too fast and arcade like, but you only have to look as far as the 2004/05 Phoenix Suns to see that the basketball in NBA Live 06 isnt all that far off from the real thing. NBA Live 06 is a solid purchase for basketball fans and I highly recommend it.