NBA Live 98
Get ready for real NBA hoop dreams—straight up and in your face. All of your favorite NBA tams, players, and stadiums are here. Of course you would not expect anything less from the EA Sports team, right?
To even compete in the PSX basketball arena, you really need to have some options and features that stand out above the pack. Once again, we know that since the EA Sports team is on the job, we are in good hands. We are talking tons of new dunks, direct passing, spin moves, crossovers, full season play, and a three point shoot-out. All of this adds up to the best basketball game to date.
This year has the usual crop of basketball titles to hit the shelves. NBA Live 98 has many of the options that have become standard practice among the basketball platform. The gameplay mode ranges from exhibition to arcade to simulation to custom. Exhibition is just a quick game with little or no setting adjustments. Arcade mode has the players playing all out with no fatigue throughout the entire game (like my 15 year old neighbor). Simulation play is where the game becomes more realistic, forcing you to watch the fatigue of your players. The custom game allows you to create your own teams and mix up the NBA divisions to your liking. Custom is always fun because you can create your own team of your favorite players to dominate the league. Or if you want a challenge, you can create a team full of scrubs to test your skills.
The overall gameplay is relatively fast with no noticeable slowdown during the actual games. You have an adjustable difficulty scale ranging from rookie, starter, all-star, and super star. This is where the game slides down and shows its weakness. To give you an example, the first game I played, the difficulty was set to rookie. I played as the Sonics and the computer was the Bulls. I won the game by over 60 points - this on my first game ever. I had to set the difficulty level to all-star before the game even resembled anything competitive; I needed it set super star to be challenging. I am all for making the difficulty level on a sliding scale, but I think it would have been much better to make the actual competition level slide up one notch so exhibition was actually starter, and starter was actually all-star and so on. This would help the longevity of the game for sure.
On a more positive note, this game does introduce some cool new dunks. If you like dunks, you will be in heaven. You have one handed dunks, two handed slams, 180's, windmills, and others. You will definitely find yourself yelling at your opponent as you slam over the top of them—even if the opponent is just the computer. One thing of note though, it did seem like players that don't really dunk often will slam more frequently. It does add to the excitement, but detracts from the realism.
One thing that I have always felt about sports games is that playing out a full season is the ultimate in gameplay and one of the main reasons I buy them to begin with. You can work your way through the season playing a full, half, or quarter season based on the actual NBA schedule of the team. All of the teams are ranked by strengths and weaknesses. One cool thing that you can do is pick to be an individual player or be a random player. Why this is cool is because if you choose to be an individual player, when that player sits on the bench, so do you. The game also tracks all of the stats during the season. If you are good enough, you will be selected to the all star team.
One thing that really made this game stand out from the others is the addition of the three point shootout. This was awesome. I really enjoyed sitting back and gunning from behind the line. The gameplay is simple and you can play with up to 8 players in the competition so you can challenge up to seven of your buddies or CPU controlled players. There are really only two keys to the three point shootout. First, pick a good shooter (Glenn Rice would be a good choice) and second, get into a good rhythm. Trust me, you will end up firing this up before you play a full game almost every time. Get used to hearing "Quick shootout?"
This game offers some great visuals. The players bear a striking resemblance to their real life models in look and in size. The uniforms, stadiums, and courts are all true to life and accurate. The game moves along quickly with no break up to speak of. The players animations are also quite impressive. The first few dunks you throw down will leave you yelling like Dickey V.
Overall, the game gives you more stats than you will ever use, but they are still fun to look at during the season. The skill levels should have been a bit more optimized and after playing a few games, you will never even go to anything below all star. The three point shootout was a great addition that really added something to the Basketball genre. All in all, if you are looking for a fun and great-looking game, look no further than NBA-Live.
Download NBA Live 98
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP