The reviews for NBA Live 19 are in, and it appears EA Sports finally has a winner on its hands.
While still lagging behind stalwart NBA 2K in a number of areas, NBA Live 19 stands as its own game and represents a huge step forward for the troubled franchise. Metacritic gives NBA Live 19 a score of 74 out of 100, which indicates mixed reviews. But reading every expert opinion, it becomes increasingly clear that Live is beginning to encroach on 2K's territory, especially for casual gamers.
Seth G. Macy of IGN put it like this in his review:
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked playing NBA Live 19. The core basketball game and its various modes offer plenty of chances to have a fun basketball experience. The new animation system makes action on the court look and act more realistic than ever, and a robust training mode gives plenty of opportunity to improve. Unfortunately, lifeless, canned commentary and little in the way of capturing the feel of basketball culture holds NBA Live 19 back. In the world of basketball games, it’s the Eastern Conference to 2K’s Western Conference—good, but at the end of the season, the odds are heavily in the opponent’s favor.
Here's a roundup of overall scores from various experts:
Many have complimented the years-in-the-making overhaul to gameplay, which took huge strides in NBA Live 18 and continued that trend this year. Player motions feel like basketball. In years past, it was just a group of randomly assembled pieces of AI going through sometimes-nonsensical basketball motions.
In NBA Live 19, the players have begun to feel like their real-life counterparts. That may be the one place where NBA Live has eclipsed 2K. The player likenesses are brilliant, especially in regard to facial features. NBA 2K, for all its brilliance, sometimes still messes up with some less famous players.
NBA Live 19's The One, the game's career mode, has also been well received—perhaps even moreso than the VC-filled MyCareer in 2K. The One embraces every cultural aspect of basketball and is a lighter game mode than the story-heavy MyCareer.
If anything, that's kind of the mantra of NBA Live 19. It's a fun game. It's not the most realistic at times, and there are still way too many instances of players having an extra spring or two of athleticism they don't have in real life.
But from its embrace of street ball to the general ease of everything, NBA Live now feels like a casual, light answer to the engrossing 2K.
NBA 2K19 remains the far superior game. But if you're just looking to sit down and have a light 30 minutes of gaming, NBA Live 19 might be your answer.