Just like Madden, the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 is a stripped down shell of its former self. Most of the features that made Live great in the past are gone. And to make matters worse, the available camera angles are far from optimal which means the gameplay, while solid, isnt nearly as good as the current gen. Disappointing? Yes.
Read our review of the Xbox version of NBA Live 06 here
The Xbox 360 version of Live 06 is a bare bones half-assed effort at a basketball game. Sure, I get it, they had to cut things to have the game out in time for launch. But cutting out gameplay in favor of nice graphics is really obviously a bad idea. We are getting about 1/3 of the game here for $20 more than the Xbox version. That is bad times. Dynasty mode? Nope. Slam dunk contest? Bye bye! And the best feature that was introduced in Live 06 for the Xbox, the superstar freestyle moves, is nowhere to be found. The modes that actually did find their way into the game are hacked up as well. There is a season mode but there is no player progression or training camp, or even a draft. You just play through a season and try to win a championship. What is crazy about it is that there is no salary cap. You can just build a team of superstars with no repercussions. The game has online play, but it is just quick play, leaderboards, and lobbies.
Where Live 06 on the Xbox 360 really stumbles is the gameplay. The fundamentals of basketball are all fine. Passing, shooting, dunking it is all pretty good. The game plays quite a bit slower than you might be used to with Live, presumably because EA wanted this version to be more of a sim than the Xbox version, but all it does is make the game slower instead of more realistic. Also, as I mentioned the superstar freestyle moves have been removed from the game which makes the experience pretty bland in comparison. The biggest problem with the gameplay is that the camera angles are horrible. There is no option for the normal Live camera that starts off above the backboard and then follows you down the court. Instead we have a strange angle that is off the court a ways and never follows you to the basket so you have to watch everything from far away which makes the game quite a bit more difficult. This game is just no fun to play, particularly if you have played Live or NBA 2K6 on the Xbox (or 2K6 on the 360
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, the game is absolutely gorgeous. The arena looks great and the players are exactly like their real world counterparts. It is too bad you never get a chance to really look at them. The camera angles are a problem, as I said, but there is also an issue with the instant replay. Basically, you can only watch when your players make an offensive play and you only have a split second to hit a button to watch it over again (there is no manual instant replay). If the computer does something you want to see again, you cant. After fouls and things like that the camera will zoom in on a player so you can see the sweat dripping off of them, which is pretty impressive, but it would have been nice to have front row seats for actual gameplay rather than just getting close ups of a sweaty guy.
The sound is very well done in Live 06. The crowd reacts to the action on the court and the announcing team of Marv Albert and Steve Kerr do a great job.
Overall, the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 is the worst basketball game of the year. It is a nice looking game, no question there, but it doesnt play nearly as well as Live 06 and NBA 2K6 for the Xbox or NBA 2K6 for the Xbox 360. There is also a definite lack of features and the stuff that was included isnt all that great. Basically, you are paying a lot more money for a lot less stuff with this Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06. Rent it just to check out the graphics and then go get yourself a real basketball game.