Worldwide News & Product Reviews

Poor animation kills realism

by Jim Trageser
This review originally ran as a contribution to Charles Carr's Worldwide News & Product Reviews column in ComputorEdge on December 12, 1997.

NBA Live 98
EA Sports NBA Live 98
Electronic Arts: 1998
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The opening screen shots are impressive. The acid jazz soundtrack rocks. The live video clips from real NBA games are outstanding. The menus are imaginative and easy to figure outt. Even Vern Lundquis is good on the play by play.

Everything about "NBA Live 98" for Windows is wonderful.

Except, that is, the game itself.

The animation during play is rough and not very realistic. And the close-up animation is even worse. The players look like morphed soldiers from "Quake" with spatulas for hands. The replays last long after the play is shown, with two or three seconds of these giant, deformed players wandering around the ball.

But despite the poor animation, the game is still quite playable at an arcade level. You can customize the keyboard controls, pick your skill level (for games against the computer), go head to head (or play netwokred games with up to six people), have seasons and playoffs — the whole bit.

Just don't expect much in the way of realism. C'mon — Luc Longley drivint the length of the floor? Steve Kerr with 27 points? Who programmed these players, anyway?

As with the latest movies, you'll find a bunch of real, honest-to-goodness advertising on-screen. Candy bar and soda makers have paid good money to have their products sprinkled throughout the game — it's a brave, new world.

What you won't find, though, is Michael Jordan. He has his own competing game out there, so the Chicago Bulls' starting shooting guard is "Player,Roster." However, the editor lets you change his name to Michael Jordan, and you can edits his skills as well.

This game is OK and entertaining, but it's hard to imagine that it's the best basketball simulation out there. Heck, it's not even as good as Electronic Arts' own home classic from the mid-'80s, "One on One."

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