NBA Live 2008
NBA Live features the same EA Family Play modes as Madden and FIFA this year, allowing virtually anyone to pick up a controller and get a simplistic sports offering with knowing little to nothing about videogames at all. In NBA Live Family Mode you'll worry only about shooting, passing, stealing, and blocking, each assigned to either vertical or horizontal waggle as the players move around the court automatically. Unfortunately the game just isn't fun to play, as it's far too easy to sink shots, you feel disconnected from the game entirely, and the motion isn't always as responsive as you'd like.
Oftentimes we'd have enough time to post up for a shot, repeat the action again to try and bypass the wonky motion detection, and actually have enough time to holler at another IGN editor to witness the lack of jumpshot taken while we flick up and down repetitively. Sure, most of the time the motion works just fine, and though it's extremely simple it's still pretty responsive, but when it glitches out, it does it with reckless abandon. In a smart move by EA though, ramping up from Family Play to full control mode is a smooth transition; simply plug in the nunchuk and you're good to go.
As for options and game modes, NBA Live is playing shorthanded compared to the other versions. Online is there, and from what we've played it's pretty decent overall as far as connection speed and lag goes, but you'll again only be playing single games with no online tournaments or added play modes. Go into a lobby or join quick-play; simple as that. Dynasty mode has been removed - something that even PS2 has - but the game is visually stronger when pitted side-by-side against the PS2 build, and runs in 16:9 and 480p. Season mode is amazingly basic though, allowing for little more than trades and scheduled games.
Instead you've got Party Mode, which consists of two mini-game modes; the three-point competition, and slam dunk contest. Both are extremely simple, using just a few Wii motions to shoot the long ball or pull off a variety of dunks in a active cinematic play mode - chose the dunk, do the motions, watch your player slam it home - but neither mini-games hold a candle to even a single Madden mini from 07/08. It's just too thin. A Wii-exclusive "Challenge Mode" has also been included this year, which basically takes a variety of superstars and puts them in classic game situations, having players complete challenges one-by-one as they rise the ranks of NBA history, but again it's amazingly basic. Pick your challenge, play through it, rinse, and repeat.
Minimum System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium 4 @ 1.3 GHz
Memory: 512 MB
Hard Drive: 4 GB Free
Video Memory: 64 MB (GeForce 4)
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Keyboard & Mouse
DVD Rom Drive