Home
News Post

There's a lot to take in this year when it comes to Live 09. There's a lot of buzz words being thrown around; there's a lot of new features being discussed; there's just a lot of new content in general. It almost feels a bit like a misdirection play, where the Live team is trying to get you to look one way, and then sneak the gameplay past you when you're reading about "Dynamic DNA." So when I went to check out the game, I did want to better understand things like Dynamic DNA, but more than anything else, I wanted to see if the gameplay was actually improved. Because if the gameplay isn't there, then does all the other stuff even matter?

Right off the bat, I wanted to see how the players were moving and interacting this year. This was at the top of my list because last year, the fluidity and rigidity of the players really turned me off. During dunks it seemed like guys were being pulled up in a straight line, as if they were on invisible strings. When going up for rebounds or blocks all the players' arms went straight up in the air, like they didn't have elbows.

I came away partly impressed by the strides being made. The new dunk/layup animations that I saw appeared to be much more natural, as players smoothly take off and don't just get tractor beamed to the rim anymore. The blocking animations also looked much better, since now the players remember they have shoulders and elbows, and thus swat the ball.

However, it seems like Live is falling into a bit of a trap that 2K struggles with as well. By making player movements more smooth, the players get stuck in animations -- namely dribble animations -- too often, and at points I just didn't feel in control of my player. This happens most often during times when Lockdown Control is in effect. For those that don't know, Lockdown Control is the new defensive method in Live this year. You body up the ball handler by pushing the analog stick towards him initiating a "lockdown." Then as the ball handler dribbles -- assuming you guess what direction he goes -- you stop his progress. It's at those moments when player progress is stopped that it becomes more about watching hopelessly, rather than playing and reacting.

Passing was another sore spot when it came to Live 08. It was too slow, the defense didn't react well enough, and the analog passing wasn't always exact enough. On top of all that, it didn't help that the alley-oop button was also the icon passing button. I'm less enthusiastic about the strides being made here to this point. It still doesn't feel like you can quickly swing the ball around the perimeter, and analog passing is still not very exact. For instance I'd sometimes be on one baseline and want to pass it to the post, only to have the ball go to some player on the other side of the court.

But at least the icon passing button is mapped correctly this year, and now it's easy to always have it active. (Simply hold the RB/R1 to keep icon passing active after a pass.) The other positive is the defenders now react better to passes close in proximity to them -- clearly there's some new animations where defenders reach out and tip balls or intercept them.

The final gameplay thing I'll talk about for now (I do plan to discuss the game again in the future since there's more to say) deals with post play. Live's system is a rock-paper-scissors approach, but much like last year, the offense seems to have the advantage. It still feels too much like I have to block the ball or the post player will score on the little turnaround shots. Once again though it seems like the post play animations, like the other animations I've mentioned, are more varied and improved.

I'd be amiss if I didn't talk about Dynamic DNA, and what it's all about. To be clear, Dynamic DNA breaks down into: player DNA, team DNA, and player tendencies. (I broke it down incorrectly during the EA Press Conference, which I apologize for.) The player DNA is how the player likes to score; the team DNA has to do with how the players on the team play together; and player tendencies deal with percentages, obviously. The player tendencies facet is the one some people seem to be misunderstanding; it deals with a player's hot zones AND the player's tendencies. So for example, let's say Paul Pierce is standing in a blue "hot zone," but the player tendency indicates that he shoots from there a lot. Just because his player tendency indicates that he shoots from there a lot, doesn't mean he makes that shot a lot.

The bottom line with Dynamic DNA though is it's essentially a quick game-type feature. The Dynamic DNA won't play into the Dynasty mode for one. (It's your dynasty so real-life data won't be downloading into it.) Or let's say you trade Pau Gasol to the Clippers in your dynasty. He's not going to learn to play with the Clippers squad via Dynamic DNA, so he's going to play like he did on the Lakers. Without real-life data to download, there is no "dynamic" AI. So Dynamic DNA is not some self-aware Terminator-like thing, it clearly has limits.

Returning to the original question though, has the Live 09 gameplay made the next leap? I'd love to say that it has, but I truly don't know yet. I certainly saw some improvements, namely animations and fluidity; but, saw a lot that still worried me, namely passing and player control. That's why Live is a game that I'll need to spend more time with before acquiring unfettered pessimism or wild optimism. So for now, I'll just be plain-old indifferent.

Biggest Positive: The new animations really add to the smoothness of the game.

Biggest Negative: Passing still needs some serious work.

Biggest Question
: Will gameplay improve enough to make all the new features matter?

Game: NBA Live 09Reader Score: 7/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS2 / PS3 / PSP / Xbox 360Votes for game: 37 - View All
NBA Live 09 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Jano @ 07/17/08 03:14 AM
Very good write up Chase. One question though do you thinks the problems you had with the game can be fixed or at least made better in the remaining months? I'm just asking because I think a lot of them could be fixed because most of them seem like issues that can be addressed with some more fine tuning.
 
# 2 rockchisler @ 07/17/08 03:30 AM
Yeah it seems like the issues you have with the game should be easy fixes for them....
 
# 3 ChaseB @ 07/17/08 03:36 AM
Yea definitely fixable you would think, but at the same time they've been problems for more than this year.
 
# 4 Jano @ 07/17/08 04:09 AM
Well thats true but I have a little more hope now because of the strides they made this year.
 
# 5 23 @ 07/17/08 11:54 AM
Nice review chase, thanks for the info... hopefully they take care of those issues because they could be boogers and sliders dont work on those kinds of things
 
# 6 X*Cell @ 07/17/08 11:56 AM
Quote:
The bottom line with Dynamic DNA though is it's essentially a quick game-type feature. The Dynamic DNA won't play into the Dynasty mode for one. (It's your dynasty so real-life data won't be downloading into it.) Or let's say you trade Pau Gasol to the Clippers in your dynasty. He's not going to learn to play with the Clippers squad via Dynamic DNA, so he's going to play like he did on the Lakers. Without real-life data to download, there is no "dynamic" AI. So Dynamic DNA is not some self-aware Terminator-like thing, it clearly has limits.
This game has no interest to me anymore. I was looking forward to some kind of Team DNA shapeshifting the way Pau Gasol would play anywhere... but it doesn't. NBA 2K9 it issss. Mannn, I was looking forward to some kind of competition. Maybe next year.
 
# 7 KG @ 07/17/08 12:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockchisler
Yeah it seems like the issues you have with the game should be easy fixes for them....
I don't see how those issues are easily fixable. Passing last year was a nightmare. Too often the passes just floated and took forever to get there.

Animation control has to be one of the harder things to program in all of sports. Making them completely smooth yet realistic is something no company has been able to do just yet. 2K you get caught in them alot, NBA Live (last year) just didnt have enough.
 
# 8 bateman11 @ 07/17/08 12:27 PM
Ok, so, does the dev team know aboutthe issues you talked about? Did you say anything to them?
 
# 9 Footballforever @ 07/18/08 10:45 AM
Well thanks Chase, anyway, I was really hoping LIVE would have really been much better, but as from the sound of it doesn't seem like it is. I'm really hoping every year Live really strides, but oh well. Looks Like only 2k for only this year.
 
# 10 CMH @ 07/18/08 11:49 AM
I'm confused.

The video on Dynamic DNA seems to indicate that Pau Gasol does change his DNA by moving to a new team.

It showed his old DNA with the Grizzlies and then his new DNA with the Lakers.

Why have that video and then not allow player DNA's to change?
 
# 11 EWRMETS @ 07/18/08 12:16 PM
Is Dynamic DNA editable in franchise? That way you could make the trade and update the DNA yourself.
 
# 12 jsg @ 07/18/08 12:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by EWRMETS
Is Dynamic DNA editable in franchise? That way you could make the trade and update the DNA yourself.

"The bottom line with Dynamic DNA though is it's essentially a quick game-type feature. The Dynamic DNA won't play into the Dynasty mode for one. (It's your dynasty so real-life data won't be downloading into it.) Or let's say you trade Pau Gasol to the Clippers in your dynasty. He's not going to learn to play with the Clippers squad via Dynamic DNA, so he's going to play like he did on the Lakers. Without real-life data to download, there is no "dynamic" AI. So Dynamic DNA is not some self-aware Terminator-like thing, it clearly has limits."

maybe it will change come release
 
# 13 Stumbleweed @ 07/18/08 01:14 PM
I'm pretty sure they said that you can edit all of the tendencies and DNA information though -- I assume that would carry over to Franchise mode. They mentioned (pretty sure it was in the producer's blog) that you can edit them and set people to '100% spot-up shooter' or whatever and see how they play. I don't know why you wouldn't be able to do that in Dynasty mode -- the DNA auto-updating won't affect Dynasty (which is good), but you should be able to edit tendencies/ratings within it just like most other games.
 
# 14 ChaseB @ 07/18/08 01:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bateman11
Ok, so, does the dev team know aboutthe issues you talked about? Did you say anything to them?
The community day is where they started to hear about the issues (passing, post play, oops, etc.), so they're aware. They talked about the oops being toned down since then (neither the producer or myself completed any during the demo time).

Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeePride
I'm confused.

The video on Dynamic DNA seems to indicate that Pau Gasol does change his DNA by moving to a new team.

It showed his old DNA with the Grizzlies and then his new DNA with the Lakers.

Why have that video and then not allow player DNA's to change?
It changed because he got traded, so his data changed via real life. But that doesn't mean it changed in YOUR dynasty via Dynamic DNA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumbleweed
I'm pretty sure they said that you can edit all of the tendencies and DNA information though -- I assume that would carry over to Franchise mode. They mentioned (pretty sure it was in the producer's blog) that you can edit them and set people to '100% spot-up shooter' or whatever and see how they play. I don't know why you wouldn't be able to do that in Dynasty mode -- the DNA auto-updating won't affect Dynasty (which is good), but you should be able to edit tendencies/ratings within it just like most other games.
All of it will change every day outside of YOUR dynasty. I'm not sure about editing tendencies within the dynasty only because I didn't ask.
 
# 15 Stumbleweed @ 07/18/08 02:01 PM
Found where I read that the tendencies are editable. He doesn't specifically mention Dynasty, but I don't know why they would allow if for Exhibition but not for a Dynasty...

"The last thing I want to talk about is the ability that you have to edit any player's DNA and tendencies to be whatever you desire. So if you download LIVE 365 data and you decide that you want Paul Pierce to be an Isolation player 100% of the time, or you want Ray Allen to be a Spot Up shooter 100% of the time, you can make that happen. You can also do the same for tendencies, so if you want to see that Paul Pierce always tends to shoot from the top of the key when he has the ball, you can make that change. When you save these changes it will create a separate custom roster for you so that it doesn't overwrite your most recent LIVE 365 download. So this helps make it easier to go back and forth between your default, your custom, and your LIVE 365 rosters without getting confused as to which one is which."

From the Producer's Blog: http://www.easportsworld.com/en_US/n...og+Dynamic+DNA
 
# 16 EWRMETS @ 07/18/08 03:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsg
"The bottom line with Dynamic DNA though is it's essentially a quick game-type feature. The Dynamic DNA won't play into the Dynasty mode for one. (It's your dynasty so real-life data won't be downloading into it.) Or let's say you trade Pau Gasol to the Clippers in your dynasty. He's not going to learn to play with the Clippers squad via Dynamic DNA, so he's going to play like he did on the Lakers. Without real-life data to download, there is no "dynamic" AI. So Dynamic DNA is not some self-aware Terminator-like thing, it clearly has limits."

maybe it will change come release
That doesn't answer my question.
 
# 17 Swag.So.Official @ 08/07/08 06:12 PM
after the draft can u play with your new players to see how they play
 
# 18 rdelizo35 @ 08/13/08 08:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swag.So.Official
after the draft can u play with your new players to see how they play
Swag,

I'm not sure where I read it, but I saw somewhere that NBA Academy is where you can take the rookies and see how they actually play with your team. Sounds pretty cool to me.
 
# 19 Swag.So.Official @ 08/14/08 04:48 PM
OH.DAT.SOUND.NICE
 
# 20 DakkoN @ 08/16/08 04:21 PM
What's up with the dual colors thing... that's ********.
 

« Previous12Next »

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.