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NBA Live 10 vs. NBA 2K10 (X360)

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With the ‘09/’10 NBA season rapidly approaching, two mighty basketball videogame titans have hit store shelves. The NBA Live and NBA 2K series have been fighting it out for years, usually with 2K as the clear front-runner, but this year’s games are closer than ever. We’ve played the heck out of NBA Live 10 and NBA 2K10 and have direct comparisons and our ultimate recommendation right here.

Game Details

  • Title: NBA Live 10
  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Developer: EA Canada
  • Pros: Great presentation; Dynamic DNA; smooth gameplay
  • Cons: Commentary; menus; dumb A.I.; load times; framerate

  • Title: NBA 2K10
  • Publisher: 2K Sports
  • Developer: Visual Concepts
  • Pros: Great gameplay; sliders; nice presentation; NBA Today
  • Cons: Framerate; glitches; online funkiness

Gameplay

NBA Live 10 – Live definitely has an agreeable feel this year. It flows together really well and smoothly transitions up and down the court as you go from defense to offense. Calling plays, setting screens for pick & rolls, and that sort of thing are all fairly intuitive and work well. The A.I., which was a problem in 09, has been improved on the defensive end of the floor, but on offense your A.I. teammates just plain don’t do very much to help you out. Ball physics are also an issue as, surprisingly often, the ball can pass directly through defensive players. There are also framerate problems a few times each game when overlays are popping up onscreen and it causes the game to get really, really choppy. The core gameplay is solid in NBA Live 10, but there are a lot of things around that core that need work.

NBA 2K10 - 2K has always been known for its near-perfect gameplay, and 2K10 is no exception. At default settings it is pretty darn close to what you see on TV in a real NBA game, but you can also play with 2K’s trademark sliders to adjust every aspect of the game so it plays however you like. This is a game that both casual and hardcore NBA fans will be able to enjoy. There are a few issues here, however. The framerate is far from steady and, depending on your opponent (Cleveland, Dallas, Philly among others) can get particularly bad. It can get bad enough it affects your timing and the way you play the game. There are also glitches occasionally with phantom backcourt violations and sometimes the ref and player will pass the ball back and forth a dozen times on an inbound pass. Silly stuff. When it all works, NBA 2K10 is an excellent basketball game, but there are a lot of weird problems that shouldn’t have made it into the final product.

Winner – NBA 2K10 – Both games have some nitpicky issues this year, but 2K10’s aren’t as bad and the core gameplay is better to begin with, so it gets the nod. And you just can’t argue with the sliders. That much customization makes a big difference in making it enjoyable for fans of all skill and interest levels. 2K should be on guard, though, Live’s gameplay is getting better every year.

Features

NBA 2K10 – The selection of modes is pretty much what you’d expect. Quick game, dynasty, season, online, etc. There are some big new additions, however. First off is NBA Today, which directly mirrors exactly what is going on in the real NBA. Trades, injuries, news, stats, rankings, ratings, and more are constantly updated throughout the NBA season to accurately reflect what the real teams and players are doing. Another new mode is “My Player” where you create a player from scratch and build them up through the NBA D-League and hopefully join an NBA team. You control just that player, and your performance affects their stats and where they’ll end up in the NBA. You can also take your created player online to play with other peoples’ created guys, which lets you earn extra attribute points and stuff against similarly skilled competition. It gives you a pretty decent sense of pride to watch your player grow from a scrub into a star. On a not so positive note, online play is pretty inconsistent so far as finding games takes forever, there is significant lag, and opponents can quit online and you aren’t credited with a win. These things don’t happen all the time, but when they do it’ll ruin your day.

NBA Live 10 – The big story here is the return of EA’s Dynamic DNA which (just like 2K’s NBA Today) uses real world stats and news and other things to dynamically change the way the game plays based on what is happening in the real NBA. The rest of the feature list isn’t drastically different from Live 09. All the standard modes you’d expect. Be A Pro mode (which we didn’t like in 09) has been transformed into Adidas Live where you choose an NBA star and only play as that player. You can’t create your own player in this mode, which is disappointing. Online modes are fully implemented with quick games and leagues (with up to 30 real human controlled teams) available. Performance online is fairly smooth as well, so no complaints there.

Winner – Draw – Frankly, the features are pretty much exactly the same between Live 10 and 2K10. NBA Today and Dynamic DNA are both great features and arguably the best, most innovative new “thing” to hit sports games in a long time. The other modes, from single-player to online leagues, are pretty much the same as well. 2K’s My Player has the advantage over Live’s Adidas Live, and Live has better online play than 2K, but other than that the games are equal. You can’t really go wrong with either one.

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