NBA Live 06 PSP Hands-On

We examine the portable version of NBA Live, in this hands-on preview.

We had an opportunity to check out the PSP version of NBA Live 06, at Electronic Arts' summer press event. Even in this early state, the game looks remarkably polished, running at a crisp frame rate and animating very smoothly. The character models and arenas in the game are also impressively detailed for a portable basketball game.

Though the PSP obviously lacks a second analog stick, there are still a good number of moves available to you in the PSP version. The square button unleashes a crossover, and you're also able to do spin moves, back down defenders in the post, and more. What's more, the developers were able to include freestyle superstar controls in the PSP version, which is the new feature available in the console editions of the game. Using those controls, you'll be able to execute special moves using certain players. Power players like Shaquille O'Neal or Kenyon Martin, for example, can unleash two-handed jams over the top of smaller players. Playmakers like Steve Nash can do wraparound passes, bounce passes, and no-look dishes. Scorers like Kobe Bryant can do acrobatic layups around the basket. There are five different types of offensive superstars in the PSP version of NBA Live 06 (the console versions have eight types).

To do the freestyle superstar moves, you hold down the L button and then press one of the four face buttons. Tapping a face button unleashes a different move than holding down a button, so in all, there are up to eight different special moves available for each superstar player.

A season mode is included in NBA Live 06, and it has all the features of All-Star Weekend, like in the console versions of NBA Live 2005 from last year. You'll be able to do the three-point contest, the rookies vs. sophomores game, and the special dunk contest mode. A new feature added to the PSP version of the game is superstar challenge. Five tiers of scenarios are included, based on actual NBA games. So you will be asked to do things like take control of Dwyane Wade for the last three minutes of a game, and score a certain number of points while leading your team to victory. Another scenario will have you in control of Steve Nash, and you'll need to pile up some assists in the last few minutes of a Suns game. Successfully doing the scenarios in superstar challenge will unlock special jerseys and all-star teams.

As far as multiplayer goes, PSP NBA Live 06 will support both ad hoc and infrastructure networking for two players. Online leaderboards and rankings will let you take on and compare skills with portable hoopsters around the country. NBA Live 06 for PSP is scheduled to ship in November 2005. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more info on the game as it becomes available.

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