Comparing NBA Live 08 from the Community Event to the demo

Posted September 7th, 2007 at 2:59 am

NBA Live 08 Tracy McGrady

As stated previously, one of the biggest benefits to having the Community Event for NBA Live 08 back in late June was how the game was still at a point in development where feedback and suggestions could be evaluated and potentially implemented. You can read my full impressions from then here.

This being a demo and with only the 2 minute quarters it is difficult to get into a flow and fully evaluate the game. However there are some topics which I feel could be compared. Of course it isn’t really a balanced experience putting a six hour stint up against only the handful of minutes and restrictions of a demo so nothing can be determined for certain based off the demo.

I’ll go ahead and pull out some of the issues I addressed back then and discuss how different they are (or aren’t) in the demo which has been described by EA as a representation of a “late but not final” build. This will be discussion on what I felt to be the problems and won’t be about some of the best aspects of the game I pointed out such as the floor spacing, 60fps, and off-ball movement (which are all still as good now as back then). Continue on to read the quotes from my full impressions back in June and my initial reaction to how the demo compares.

The #1 issue was with the interior defense. Actually it was the near complete lack of it. Offensive players were able to use a wide array of moves for easy scores, in most cases via dunk. That led to shot percentages generally in the 55-75% range even on Superstar difficulty. It was really frustrating because there was basically nothing you could do to stop it except hope to draw an offensive foul.

This has improved significantly since then. There is more feeling of weight to the big men and being able to alter drives or shots without being pushed out of the way. From the limited amount of time with the demo, I don’t believe shot percentages would be anywhere near that high now.

Playing defense on the perimeter wasn’t as much of a problem but it was difficult to stick on a player. A quick guard could get by you nearly every time…You were more likely to move away accidentally and end up out of position.

A comment I made at the event was that you were better playing off the ball and letting the CPU take over which shouldn’t be the case. The defensive assist has really helped in this area. Guards like Tony Parker are still able to penetrate (and someone like him should have success doing so) however it definitely seems that you have the ability now to contain him if you try and manually guard on the perimeter.

While the rebounding in general and going for loose balls was improved greatly, there were still some things that stood out to me. There were too many offensive rebounds, and even more apparent off missed free throws. There was a lack of agressiveness from some of the players. There would be a couple attempting to get the ball, while others might just stand around.

The rebounding still has its issues, as sometimes it seems that players will stand around and let the ball hit the ground before grabbing it. There also seems to only be one or two players that make a strong effort to go up and get the ball. Despite those issues this is another area that has improved a lot. From what I’ve seen the problem with there being too many offensive rebounds has been taken care of.

Alley-oops were too easy to execute, even in situations where it shouldn’t have been attempted like to players in traffic. There were a couple times where the ball sailed out of bounds, but the success rate was too high.

I think this is probably something that will continue to be abused but I haven’t had a chance to really try too many of them yet.

The spacing along the out of bounds line was too tight and also a little difficult to see at the bottom of the screen. You didn’t feel comfortable there because you’d get called for stepping out of bounds. It basically took away shooting threes from the corner, unless you went straight up after passing to a player who had been set there by the CPU.

I spent a little time trying to move around in corner space as well as running along the sidelines. I haven’t come across any situations where it called me for going out of bounds when I was simply trying to play naturally. That is a good sign since it was very apparent right away when playing the earlier build and would happen multiple times throughout those games.

The fouls were a little sketchy. Offensive vs defensive fouls seemed mixed up at times. There was also a high % of made shots off mid-air contact including when fouled. Meanwhile reach-in fouls on the perimeter as players attemped for steals were too rare.

Again probably not a big enough sampling to really say one way or the other. But so far the fouls seem to be more balanced. I have definitely noticed more reach-in fouls and it makes it a little more risky to go for the steal.

Thus far I’m quite pleased with what the demo is presenting. It actually has exceeded my expectations to a certain extent. Obviously it isn’t going to be perfect and there are going to be areas that aren’t to my exact liking. That being said, much of what I felt needed attention seems to have gotten it. That to me is an extremely encouraging development.