NBA Live 16, the ring is far away – try

The tunnel in which the NBA Live series has gone into seems to have no alternative outlets. After the NBA Elite mess, or the attempted reinterpretation of the brand that actually led to a stalemate, EA’s basketball series has no longer been able to recover and from being an honest alternative to NBA 2K has passed to represent one of the most sensational fiascos for the US publisher.

While NBA Live 14 was undoubtedly one of the worst launch games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, NBA Live 15 managed to improve the situation a little, but failed to come close to NBA 2K15. At E3 this year we got our hands on a very preliminary version of NBA Live 16, which will hit stores on September 29 with the explosive Russel Westbrook on the cover.

In EA’s intentions, this year the main novelty is given by the greater expressive control of the player, both through a better functionality of the GameFace, the option that allows you to digitize and import your face into the game editor, and through a series of commands that should help him on the parquet to understand and decide what are the best actions to perform to score.

Let’s hope that Westbrook’s disastrous season, which failed to enter the playoffs, doesn’t bode badly.

We do not express ourselves on the potential of GameFace: the demo shown on the stage of the pre-E3 conference was spectacular, but not having tried it directly, we prefer not to get unbalanced. As for the game controls, well that’s another story.

The attempt is to replicate the timing of the release of NBA 2K, which is that function that allows you to decide how and when to throw the ball. On a basketball court, in fact, there are dozens of factors that can influence a shot and therefore it is up to the athlete to choose how to behave. It is not always possible to shoot feet on the ground and without scorers nearby and often the best decision, the one that guarantees a better percentage of realization, is to release the ball a little early or slightly late, to avoid the block. opponent.

In the sample of NBA players this kind of conclusions are the order of the day and in a single game you will see dozens of different ways of shooting, on hand, layup, fadeaway, dunk and we could go on for a long time. In short, every shot has a story of its own and 2K has managed on many occasions to harness all these possibilities, giving the possibility to move the ball in the air and choose what kind of movement to do. The result is the feeling of being in full control of the basketball players and therefore of the entire game.

King James is quick to say that he is the strongest in the world in this game as well.

EA’s response, at the moment, is not quite as credible. The programmers have chosen to introduce a shooting meter on each athlete’s head in order to show which is the best point to release. This, at least, in their intentions. In practice this choice slows down the action in an incredible way, because it “forces” the basketball player to assume a rigid position to start the indicator and allow the choice of the shot.

In other words, there will be no scrambled movements to go to the basket, perhaps after a contact, but the shots will always be vertical, even when you are running towards the basket. The consequence is that control never really feels in the hands of the player, and the release happens too often after the athlete has already released the button.

This not only happens with shots but also with rebounds or dribbles. The feeling is that of having a game that does not respond to commands in every position of the field, since the graphics engine must complete the animation started before it can start with the next one. The result is a series of rather credible movements (for example, the balls delivered into the hands of the teammate after a block are beautiful) but often disconnected from the context of the match.

The GameFace shown at E3 seems to work pretty well. But we will have to try it before expressing ourselves fully.

The FIFA series had introduced a few years ago the ability to sweep the animations into shorter parts and we believe the team of NBA Live 16 must quickly take a cue from his older brother to get back on track.

The first impact with this new edition of EA’s basketball series, therefore, was not exciting. On the one hand for the problems described above, which take away from the player any possibility of controlling the team in a precise manner, on the other for the feeling of not being faced with a convincing step forward for the series, after the timid improvements recorded by NBA Live 15.

There is a possibility that the demo shown to the press was made only to show certain aspects of the game, such as the new bar to control the release or the new animations, but NBA Live still has to work hard before regaining the trust of consumers.

Buy NBA Live 16 from Amazon