|NBA Live 2004|
|Preview by Philip Roland|
|Developer: Electronic Arts|
|Publisher: Electronic Arts|
|# of Players: 10|
|Est. Release: Fall 2003|
|Date Posted: 5-22-03|
EA has pretty much always had a good franchise with their NBA Live series, and this year should be no exception. The 2004 installment of Live looks to be one of the best of all, boasting new features and innovative new design aspects.
Possibly NBA Live 2004's most interesting improvements from previous Live titles are all the cosmetic changes. Player models will be greatly improved, as players will be even more recognizable than in past years. The courts are also going to be undergoing a makeover, making them more authentic than ever. Some of the additions include things such as championship banners draped on the walls and retired jerseys hanging from the rafters.
Authenticity with the graphics is not the only thing that EA is striving for, however, as Live will also include player specific moves and team specific strategies. The computer AI will play each team as to imitate the real team's playing style, so that your favorite team will play like it's real life counterpart. Other gameplay aspects that have been added include in-air collisions and one-button play calling.
Some other things worth noting are that the commentators this year will be Marv Albert and Mike Frantello. NBA Live 2004 will also feature past teams and arenas, so that you can play as a blast-from-the-past team in their home arena. Online play will be available, offering support for up to 10 players and adding new one-on-one games to the multiplayer mode.
One of the problems with popular franchises is a lack of innovation and improvement for each series installment, but EA promises improvements on nearly all fronts this year. NBA Live 2004 will probably make a big splash when it arrives in time for the basketball season later this year.
-- Philip Roland shoots, he scores.