Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
10/05/2006 11:18:00 AM
Review: NBA Live vs. NBA 2K7
By Lang Whitaker
Good old-fashioned capitalism has ensured that several sports -- including the NFL and Major League Baseball -- will have only a single company making the official video games for their league. The overt price for this is a (presumably) rather large check from the company to the league, in exchange for the rights to the names of the players and franchises. The latent price for this is a possible lack of development in the video game industry. For instance, if EA Sports is the only company allowed to make an official NFL video game over the next decade, what incentive other than corporate pride is there for EA to spend the necessary money needed to innovate and create?
Which is why the fact that the NBA doesn’t have an exclusive deal in place with any one video game company is so heartening. Just as the ABA pushed the NBA to new levels back in the day -- like introducing the three-point line -- I remain hopeful that eventually one of the multiple NBA games that are introduced each season will break on through to the other side, capturing the NBA so perfectly that all the other games will rise to the challenge and make significant changes. Which is exactly what needs to happen.
Even though the NBA season has yet to begin, three NBA-related games have already dropped, including NBA 07, Sony’s game that plays exclusively on the PlayStation 2 and PSP. But the Big Two, the duo of games that have battled head to head for NBA simulation supremacy the last seven years, are EA Sports’ NBA Live and 2K Sports’ NBA 2K7. I played both games on the Xbox 360, and the differences in this year’s games couldn’t be more obvious.
NBA Live 07 starts with a flourish, inside a huge, foreboding practice gym that resembles a battlefield setting from Halo 2. Everything from then on is shiny and polished, and honestly, the game looks like a million bucks. And then the game play starts, and to borrow a line from The Roots, that’s when the drama begins.
Once you start playing the game, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t the NBA, and it doesn’t exactly feel live, either. The players, particularly without the ball, move with the grace of Peter John Ramos or Chris Kaman. When I fired up the game, I played one quarter and missed three relatively open dunks, although Josh Smith exploded from a standstill through the traffic in the lane and crushed one dunk that he’d never come close to finishing in a real game. The quarter took five minutes and there were no fouls called, which is not NBA basketball. I played an All-Star Game as the Eastern Conference, and was getting drilled until I discovered that I could pass the ball to Chris Bosh in the low post and immediately hit the dunk button, and Bosh would fire to the rim and dunk. I scored 10 straight points using this method. I’m relatively sure if an NBA team attempted this, somebody would make an adjustment, unless of course Sam Mitchell was coaching. That’s just one example of the balky A.I. in Live. Several times I ran pick-and-rolls and found myself looking desperately for the open guys, who would often refuse to rotate to the open slots on the floor. Hubie Brown would throw a chair through his TV watching this brand of NBA basketball.
To EA’s credit, they’ve beefed up the modes available in the game. Unlike last year, you can now play dynasty mode and use the All-Star Weekend on the 360. There’s also a complex Superstar Mode in which players are assigned various levels of skills that they can rotate between. I was more concerned with getting my players to catch the ball and turn and face the basket without stepping out of bounds, as Tim Duncan did twice in two minutes -- I’m willing to bet that never happened last season. Other bells and whistles include Marv Albert and Steve Kerr doing commentary, and more ESPN integration than the long-lost ESPN Mobile, with podcasts and scoretickers jumping out at you.
NBA 2K7 doesn’t look like much, at least compared to Live. Some of the cut scenes featuring over-the-top characters have the same angular and grainy feel of Grand Theft Auto, and the in-game graphics look jagged and hostile. Actually, the whole game looks alarmingly similar to the last few NBA 2K games, as though the only major difference is some new fonts and photos on the game box. 2K7 makes up for its lack of gloss with depth, with enough game modes to keep even Eddie Griffin distracted while driving. And most importantly, they get the gameplay right.
Now, I’m not saying that NBA 2K7 is amazing, but it is really good, and it is markedly better than NBA Live. The players don’t move with the grace of actual NBA players, but they do move fluidly, and I found the A.I. in the game much better than in Live. Several times I would bring the ball up to the wing and get it to my scorer, only to find the computer’s defense double-teaming me. I’d then have to reverse the ball out of the double team and often make two or three passes, waiting for the defense to rotate, to get it to the open guy. It’s probably not how Dr. James Naismith drew things up, but it’s how the NBA works, and it’s in NBA 2K7. No podcasts, no dunk contests, just NBA basketball (or something close to it).
If there wasn’t any doubt that Live and 2K7 are direct competitors, check out the packaging. The front of NBA Live has a badge that reads “#1 Selling Basketball Franchise,” while the front of 2K7 says “#1 Rated NBA Game.”
I can’t speak for the respective marketing departments and their success this year pushing the games on consumers, but at least in my Xbox, 2K7 retains its title, easily.
Not even close, really. As good a job as EA does with Madden every year and considering the magnificent work they did with MVP Baseball this year (my favorite sports game of the year thus far), it's baffling to me that Live remains so far behind their competition. 2K can still improve, and they've got a great headstart on Live, but 2K7 is fun and a fair simulation.
Live looks brilliant, especially on the Xbox 360. Everything gleams, and the faces in particular look very realistic. 2K7 is ragged in comparison -- Zaza Pachulia looks like Rocky Dennis.
Both games have a lot of modes available. Live's best feature might be the three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend, because it's just shooting the ball and no movement or teamwork is needed. The 24/7 mode on 2K7 seems promising, as well. 2K7 gets the nod here just because it's more fun to play, and if you're going to play a season or a franchise mode, you'll want to be using 2K7.
What game are you looking at that you think live looks better? It does look good, and I agree that 2k7 players all look like football players, but the amount of detail in 2k7 is amazing. They have mascots waling through stands, fans leavint and coming back to their seets, etc. You are so wrong about the look of 2k7. I bought live, and returned it for 2k7. Live has lost me as patron, it was horrible.
LIVE sucks. I have been playing 2K7 faithfully since last week when both came out. I learned my lesson the last 2 years.And freestyle superstars?...Right. More like "pre-programmed cheat button" as me and my guys like to say. NBA 2K7 is def da way to go!
i learned my lesson on live 04 it sucks its trash ive hated it since then. its so unrealistic and everyone looks short and fat and they move like they are in special ed lol. 2k has not dissapointed me yet. i havent got 2k7 yet , but i havent stopped playing 2k6 and im getting 2k7 soon. live sucks , 2k is tight. end of story
2k7 SUCKS. i give it a chance every year and it still sucks. live is the way to go. i feel like there is no control over the players in 2k. 2k has obviously controlled some minds, though. time to buy live. again.
what r u guys tlkin bout 2K7 will be an awesome gae. i havent played it as yet but if anyone here has ever played 2K6 u will know that the gameplay is so fluid that it feels like ur watching it on tv (except for the controller in ur hands). Sure i know the graphics in 2K6 and 2K7 arent the best but the gameplay definitely makes up for it. u guys r tripping if u think live is a better game
I did not play 2k7 as unfortunately they do not make it for the PC, but this year's nba live is horrible, huge amount of bugs with the king "no subs" bug, stupid AI, not to mention the lie about signature shots, which have not been included but have been advertised. Looks like I'm gonna be forced to buy Xbox 360
NBA Live sells the most cause they isnt any other basketball game on PC. Once we get an alternative it should change. I never play any other basketball game but Live and it SUCK big time. It suck so much that when it suck it doesnt feel good. Screw you EA.
I had Live reserved about three months in advance, I was amped! Live let me down BIG TIME. It's virtually unplayable because of that "change of direction" feature, the constant clanging of dunks off of the rim, the addition of a layup button (that rarely works properly)is confusing, and I'm not even going into a certain issue with shot clock violations. Needless to say I traded it in (all I got was $25!)for 2k7 and I am more than impressed. It doesn't look as good as live but at least you can rebound the ball!!!! The signature animations are spot on. Best basketball game this year and I am (maybe was) the defintion of a live fanboy.
LOL, Man ima keep it real....Live 06 & 07 is aight...yea the graphics are two thumbs up, but 2K6 & 2K7 most definetly wins this battle. Yea, 2K6 had a lil trouble w/ da controlling of the player, but it takes time gettin used to. Its like...Live 06 & 07 was so damn fake...they had that superstar control shit (SUPA FAKE), Just cuz u a superstar does NOT mean u can dunk on any and EVERYbody u feel like at anytime. In conclusion, Live has good graphics, but sucks as a game...(i rather watch it, than play)....and 2K7 is the best game....aint that the reason y we all buy games? To play it right? So y not get the betta game? 2K7!
To the reviewer, if you played an advanced copy you may want to try the street version of 2k7... graphics are greatly improved over last year. I won't argue individual taste but if you compare them to 2k6 on the xbox360 it's like night and day. You may also mention the 70 different shot styles and other player specific animations that make the game appear much more realistic.
To everyone else, you should specify if you've played either game on the ps2, xbox or xbox360 before stating how you feel. Lives gameplay sucks on all 3 but 2k7 looks and plays much different on each system. The xbox360 version may be the best basketball game ever made. The xbox version is basically 2k6.5... still pretty good. I'd assume the ps2 version is a little worse than that.
Live never disapoint me until THIS YEAR. I let Jason Kidd score at least 30 point in 3 games, with WADE, CP3 and BD defending him, they and my big man never had a chance to stop him....the CUP shooting ability is unreal.
Been a Live fan since Lakers vs. Celtics.. lol. The last couple years have been very disappointing. I actually bought Live 2K5 but didn't like it as much as Live 05. Last year's Live was pretty much the last straw for me. Superstar controls suck - Stromile Swift dunking at will over 4 guys all game is NOT basketball. I got sucked into buying an Xbox 360 after seeing reviews for 2K7 and not disappointed one bit. Sure, it has its drawbacks but overall it's the best basketball video game I've ever played. Back to the drawing board, EA.
After being a long time live fan(ps1,ps2,xbox360) I must say NBA Live 07 is the biggest let down since Geraldo opened Capone's vault. Are you kidding me EA? I can't believe how bad this game is!!! Yeah the graphics are sweet, but who cares, if the gameplay sucks?...and it does. Then I played 2K7. Hands down the best B-Ball game EVER!! Later Live, you've let me down one too many times. Remember 2000. K.G. cover.
havent played either of this year's titles, but i have been a disciple of 2K for years now, and its because the game flows. Who cares if you're playing a pretty piece of shit. its still a piece of shit. will be buying 2K7...
I started playing NBA Live waaaayyy back with NBA Live 95 (hence the "Live" moniker, it RHYMED at the time) and I have to say I'm extremely disheartened the series seems to have taken several steps back just in the past two iterations of the title. Live 05 and 06 were a lot of fun, but the reviews of Live 07 have been uniformally negative.
However, I bought NBA 2K7 (full price $59.99 last Friday, but it's now $29.99 new this week, man did I get ripped off) and was VERY impressed. It plays almost identically to a real NBA game; you actually have to hit the open man, run plays, to score efficiently; try and take everyone off the dribble with endless moves and you're going to get your head handed to you -- the computer AI does a great job with help defense and double-teaming stars.
The ONLY negatives I can levy is at the default options, deflecting passes is way too easy and the isomotion/shot stick options take a WHILE to get used to, particularly when you've been using the right stick to do moves now for the past few years (you would not believe how many times I try to cross someone over, only to realize mid jump-shot that I used the right stick instead).
And I really don't know why people are saying that Live looks so much better. The stars (well, the black stars, the white guys uniformly look horrible) look nearly identical to real-life. The crowd is also notable: you can see guys getting up and moving down the aisles, the dance team runs on and off the floor, the mascot screws around. The ambiance is great.
Overall, I would suggest people believe the reviews and purchase NBA 2K7 instead of Live.
hey man what you on about when you talk about the graphics of nba 2k7? Overall i think that they have better graphics than live 07. All your doing is looking at the basic graphics, when you need to be looking a little deeper into the graphics. You didnt do a very good job on that part. With the rest of 2k7, you are kinda right but you still rated them too close to one another. 2k7 is ten times better than live 07. Honestly I could of done a better job but well done on your effort
totally agree with you, EA sports spend way too much time trying to make the players look real, but they have to seriously improve their game play. One thing that stands out while playing NBA 2K is 'CONTROL'. You actually feel that you have control of the game. I can keep playing that game for hours and not get bored. When playing NBA live i get bored after one or two games. NBA 2K is much much better
Well,I don't know what to say anymore ! 2k7 is just the most amazing basket-ball game ever. I'am sorry but I got to say it ,Live definetely SUCKS. Stupid looking players,retarded playability,poor quality graphic,I mean it was just waste of money to me. I had bought Live 06 ,gave it a try ,and was completely unsatisfied. It's like a bucnh of guys ,claiming to be expert but in fact they're just try to make money out of people by selling them products of mediocre quality. I mean if you are going to take my money, please give me what it's worth for. I am not saying that's not a fun game but it definitely shoud have ben cheaper than 2k7 so the kids can afford it,'cause it's just kids stuff!! Please,when it comes to comparing 2k7 to Live games,I feel like I'm getting insulted 'cause really there is no possible comparison. It's just two diametrically-opposed performance,it really is. That's all I'm saying !!! Thank you. "To be or not to be." Shakespeare.
I was looking to buy a basketball game for my X-box. I'm not a huge gamer, but I master the few games I do buy. Anyways, I played Live 06 a couple times at Best Buy last year when it came out. I was impressed, but I never bought the game. This year, I figured that NBA Live has a good rep and if Live 06 was decent then Live 07 has got to be dope... So I bought Live 07 and was TERRIBLY disappointed. I didn't like the gameplay at all... It was slow and boring. What a waste of money.I wish I would've just bought Live 06, which to me is better. I played Live 07 for 2 days before trading it in for NBA 2K7. 2K7 blows Live out of the water. I love this game and I feel like I'm playing a real basketball game that is uptempo with sick moves and realistic movements. Live 07 has completely fallen off. 2K7 is THE basketball game to buy.
You guys seriously looking at the same game? On 1080i 50 inch TV, 2K7 looks amazing. Granted some of the players look nothing like their real-life counterparts (Nash, Jason Williams come to mind). And the crowd looks vastly superior to anything I've seen from EA.
you guys are morons..live is way too easy..when you shoot in live you'll jsut get it in.theres no difficulty in that game.the scores are really unrealistic too play 5 minutes and ull get normal nba scores.
I used to always play nba live and it was a pretty good game. but 06 and 07 have really dissapointed me. But ESPN Basketball (NBA 2K4) wasn't that great. I liked live all the way until 06. 05 was an ok gsames, but nba 2k7 is the best game to buy
nba live may have looked good with all its realistic characters but im goin to have to say it sucked. id rather watch it than play it.if you want to do that you can watch bball on tv but when you buy a video game you want to play it not watch it. nba 2k7 is not the best in graffics but the game play is real.(steve nash looks like hes pooping himself)
I am reading all these reviews supporting the purchase of 2K7 and all are in relation to the XBOX 360, to which I am yet to own. Anyway I would like to recieve any feedback on NBA LIVE 07 and NBA 2K7 on PS2, if anyone would like to give me any feed back on the two games, please email me on email@example.com
I just want to say that 2k7 is by far better than live. The graphics on live are slighty more defined. However the graphics in 2k7 are not inferior by any means. 2k7 looks very good if you ask me. Especially close up of the players you are able to make out much texture detail. The gameplay in 2k7 is superb as compared to live. Live gameplay is too artificial. Honestly, NBA 2k7 takes the crown in my book.
dude.. Live is sick wit it when i spit it cuz i wanna be wit it. yadada mean? Live is one of sickest games ever to hit the market. It has the best game play like real talk. I can play it for ever!! Live till i die. PEACE!!!
in my opinion, i think the live series are more for the immature 5th grader who knows jackshit about the nba and jsut likes the game because theres an alley oop button and the players can do all kinds of shit. and the 2k series is preferred by the nba fans who liek it better because it has better gameplay and more realistic. also the players in the 2k games play a lot more like the real players when in live, the players play nothign like the real life players
nice note!No one really has a confident feel on what this news could be. Some have suggested the release date may be pushed up to next nba live Tuesday, but its hard to believe EA would want to 火箭 release Live on the same day as Halo 3. On the other hand nbalive it would still accomplish beating out NBA 2K8 to the store shelves. Both currently are set to be in 火箭队 stores on Tuesday October 2nd.