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NBA Live 19 Demo Impressions Roundtable

NBA Live 19

NBA Live 19 Demo Impressions Roundtable

With the release of NBA Live 19 imminently approaching and the demo just out, our staff writers are here to provide some context for what we’re all playing as we count down to September 7th.

Joel Smith

My time with the NBA Live 19 demo has been mostly positive, with my heavy attention to nuance pulled in a few places. The graphics and player faces/likeness, like we’ve seen in the many screenshots over the last few weeks, are clean.

Courts and atmospheres look fantastic too. NBA Live 19 really is great to look at to be sure. My only gripe in the graphics/player likeness department is with the models/bodies of players. I find that there isn’t much variance in the body types in terms of build, muscle mass and the like.

Gameplay has improved big time over NBA Live 18, albeit with a few caveats. I still feel like blow-bys leading to contact layups happen far too often with the layups going in. This was something that happened a lot in Live 18 and looks like it’s back to show its face again in Live 19. This should be able to be fixed with some tuning. Passing, while improved, still looks and feels stale at times. A skip pass or pass where it feels like the ball should get to the receiver quickly just doesn’t. I almost felt at times like I had to wait for the ball to drop from a floating animation. Real Player Motion combined with new and better dribbling lend well to each other. Players don’t move wonky and stick like they did in Live 18. Rebounding from what I saw for the most part looked better. Again, the game has improved and from my own playtime I don’t have many negatives to bring to light besides the passing and blow-by/layups that I mentioned just yet.

Obviously one thing that is definitely a welcoming sight is the lack of microtransactions in the game and the returning formula of playing well on court to level up your character. I do find it may be just a tad too easy to gain points that will level your character, but you still have to play well to earn the points.

There looks to be much more to do in NBA Live 19 than there was in Live 18. The One’s archetype system with the addition of position specific specialties is a nice touch added on to what they initiated last year. Being able to create either a male or female player is quite frankly a brilliant move by Live, including the ability to scan in a female face to the game. Court Battles looks extremely interesting and adds another level of fun to the game.

In the gametime I’ve gotten in with the NBA Live 19 demo I had fun. Straight up fun. EA still has a ways to go to catch up to 2K but the improvements in the year cycle since NBA Live 18 really shows that they’re putting in the work to ensure that they return to form and challenge the NBA 2K dynasty.

Brian O’Neill

The NBA Live 19 demo is indeed fun. As was last year’s. My problem with both was that the fun doesn’t seem to last.

Obviously The One is going to be the signature feature, and it’s also literally all I tried last year. That probably will be the case again this year. And the improvements to the mode this year are definitely cool, but, I find myself getting frustrated with the gameplay and the camera the more I play it.

I can tell there are improvements, but after spending a couple of hours playing, I don’t feel like it’s going to be enough for me.

I did pre-order the game and will keep that just to see how The One storyline plays out, and to give the game itself a chance to grow on me. But compared to 2K (which I know isn’t fair), I just don’t see myself sinking the same amount of time and energy into Live this year.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong.

Matt Llewellyn

The NBA Live 19 demo has left me with mixed feelings so far. A huge step in the right direction is Real Player Motion. Much like Madden NFL 19, RPM has greatly improved the player movement and footwork. One of the biggest issues I had with Live 18 was how stiff the players moved and thankfully the demo shows off much more fluid movement throughout.

Player models look amazing and are a noticeable step up from the 2K series in terms of skin tones and facial scan fidelity. Much like 2K, however, body types can be weird and are a stark reminder that this is still a video game.

Gameplay-wise, dribble moves are all here though they seem a bit self contained. I never felt like the moves did a great job of getting my player open. By contrast, it’s still far too easy to simply hit turbo and run past the defender to the basket. Once inside the paint, close shots and layups are made far too often, even with heavy contests.

Rebounding is inconsistent and I’ve seen far too many boards hit the ground before being gathered. Also, the defensive mechanic remains a mystery to me. Sometimes the arrows don’t match where the offensive player is attacking. Steals are also a bit too easy to pull off.

The largest issue with gameplay to me is passing. Passes are too slow and the trajectory of passes are too flat. Most egregious, are passed that are across the body that roll off of the hand unnaturally. Passing remains a weak point in NBA Live 19.

In terms of The One, it’s nice to see that there are tattoo options not hidden in loot crates. The Complex coverage of your player are also pretty fun and add some immersion to the career.

Overall, there are some positives to the game but there is a definite need of tightening up for the gameplay. The One still seems to be the way to play NBA Live and it looks like they’ve expanded upon them more in fun and new ways.

NBA Live 19 is definitely a move in the right direction.


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  1. gameplay is pretty good..The Ones is pretty good but i am not into that mode tho. crowd and atmosphere look very good. player model doesn't look good tho.. there is very lacking of info details on Franchise Mode in NBA Live 19 : very concerning for fans who love playing Franchise Mode
    Thanks fellas. I agree that NBA Live 19 is a fun game to play. There are improvements to the graphics and the gameplay. RPM really adds to the realism which is good to see. EA still has a long way to go to catch up on 2K with their presentation and gameplay but like Matt said, it's a move in the right direction. I'm glad i put a pre-order on this game. I'm also looking forward to trying a season with the WNBA!
    NBA Live is exceeding in areas where it needs to. Primarily "fun factor." A close second (for me) is the monitization model. 
    It's just more fun than the last few 2k installments. It might not look as nice, and the animations may be a little wonky at times, but it is FUN. In the last four years I found playing 2k to be a grindy chore, and I came away from it more frustrated than when I sat down. The number of times I would roll my eyes while playing 2k are too many to count. The Live demo has been an enjoyable, albeit limited, experience and I'm still playing it.
    Also (and I can't believe I'm saying this about EA...) NBA Live has promised no microtransactions in the single player mode. This is HUGE. In the coming years 2k will have to compete with another game that has a legit single player experience with limited (or no?) microtransactions. This year when 2k players buy the game and are already $50 behind the power curve they can look at a competitor without pay-to-win PvP. 
    Kudos to the EA team. I'm finally back on a video game hype train. 

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