NBA Live 07 First Look

We drive to the hoop in our first look at the Xbox and PS2 versions of NBA Live 07.

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It's interesting to hear the producers of EA Sports NBA Live series refer to last year's game as a "dunk-fest." Of course, they aren't completely dismissing NBA Live 06. While the freestyle superstar controls introduced in last year's game were an appealing control scheme designed to show what the league's elite are capable of, the producers realized the limitations of the feature. Or more specifically, they realized the lack of limitations players ran into when using freestyle superstar controls. For NBA Live 07, one of the first things the development team at EA Canada addressed was the freestyle controls. We got a chance to see the current-gen version of game for the first time during a recent trip to EA's offices in Vancouver to see how the company is refining the game's approach for next season.

In NBA Live 07, you'll be able to switch your player's role on the fly to take advantage of skilled superstars like Corey Maggette.

While driving to the lane with Kobe or Lebron was more or less a guaranteed basket in NBA Live 06, one of the first things the development team wanted to add was traffic--particularly traffic in front of the basket to clog up the shooting lanes. After all, opposing teams don't make a habit of opening up the lanes for Kobe and King James to dunk at will, and neither will the virtual teams in NBA Live 07 anymore. Adding more collisions under the basket essentially means the computer-controlled opponents will be playing tougher defense than in previous entries in the series, but it also has some interesting consequences for the animation. Consider your standard dunk animation--this year, if you're flying toward the rim and an opposing player gets in your way, it won't necessarily end your chance for scoring. Instead, the development team has been working on ways to gracefully transform that dunk into a layup animation.

Beyond the traditional roles included in the game--including scorer, playmaker, high-flyer, and so on--NBA Live 07 is also introducing the concept of the X-Factor player. Each game will have an X-Factor player--a guy who isn't a full-time superstar but is able to rise to the occasion at the right moment. Think of Robert Horry in basically every crucial playoff game he's ever played in, and you'll have a good idea of what an X-Factor player can bring to your game. Bringing that player into the game at the right time and getting him on a hot streak will allow him to temporarily raise his game to superstar levels, and then you can ride his skills all the way to victory. The boost won't last forever, however, so you'll want to sub him in wisely and make sure he keeps his hot hand as long as possible.

Defensive animations have been improved this time around as well. The team is working on what they refer to as "scenarios" between players on the court, which are all the minute physical dramas that happen hundreds of times during a typical NBA game. Instead of a defending player stepping in front of a driving offensive player and impeding his momentum, that player will now attempt to lock up the other player and stick with him. It's a little reminiscent of the shutdown defense featured in last year's March Madness game, except that it happens automatically--a defender runs in front of the player with the ball and makes it tough for him to get around and continue his progress to the basket.

When it comes to the freestyle superstar controls themselves, a tiered system has been introduced to separate the standard superstar controls from the more-advanced controls. Specifically, the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game will feature three levels of superstar control: regular, star, and superstar; while next generation versions of NBA Live 07 will add one more level of control above that to create some truly spectacular moves. By mixing the right analog stick with the trigger button, you'll have a wealth of NBA-caliber jukes, shots, and blocks at your fingertips. Another important tweak to the system is that dunks and layups are now assigned to different buttons on the controller: X for layup and Y for dunks on the Xbox controller.

Expect to run into tougher defense during the transition game in NBA Live 07.

How players contribute in a game depends largely on their role, and in NBA Live 07 the idea of playing roles has been tweaked for the superstar players in the game. Specifically, NBA Live 07 will allow the game's elite to play more than one role on the court. Everyone knows Lebron James is more than a great scorer. He's also able to pull off amazing playmaking passes on a regular basis and has been known to dunk the ball once or twice. NBA Live 07 will take this into account as well, and the best player in the game will be allowed to play all the roles he is suited for in real life on the virtual court. By pressing the trigger button when in control of a player, you can cycle through his multiple player roles. You can take Lebron up for a big rebound, for example, and then switch to his playmaker icon, make a great pass down the court, then get the ball back to James once he's in the lane, switch to high-flyer and rock the arena with a rim-rocking dunk. It will take some quick fingers to make the most of the on-the-fly role-switching, but we suspect it will soon become an integral part of most folks' game.

Previous EA Sports titles have introduced the idea of momentum in games, but in NBA Live 07, this concept is referred to as "intensity." As teams play in this year's game, you'll be able to detect shifts in intensity, which will change depending on the specific situation. After all, how a team plays in a second quarter during a midseason blowout is dramatically different from how they play in the fourth quarter of the deciding game in a playoff series. As a result, rivalry games, games between division leaders, and playoff games will feel different from your standard Tuesday-night matchup in November. As intensity increases so too will crowd noise and the pace of the game, and as it reaches its peak, players will begin making big shots to ratchet the crowd up even further. At the highest levels of intensity, you'll feel it in your controller, when a heartbeat rumble kicks in to signify the most important shots in the game.

Nowitzki shows Haslem what's what. Too bad he couldn't have played like that in the real thing.

In dynasty mode, the most important addition is the idea of scheduling off-day events. Now, instead of simming directly to the next game on the calendar, you'll be responsible for making sure your team is prepared by scheduling events such as team practices, workouts, press events, or team events on days when no game is scheduled. Another new addition to the game is the assistant head coach. By default the head coach will handle most of the off-day stuff if you want him to. His most crucial role will be in researching various player rumors that crop up during the season and advising you on the best course of action. Say a rumor pops up that your star center is looking to get dealt to a team in a warmer climate--you'll want to send your assistant head coach to look into it. He'll report back on whether or not there's any truth to that rumor and then it will be up to you how you deal with it. Here's the catch, though--your assistant may be wrong and provide you with incorrect information. Over the course of the season, you'll get a feel for how often your assistant head coach is right or wrong, and you've always got the leeway to can him if he doesn't have his finger on the pulse.

The concept of team chemistry isn't new to dynasty modes, but NBA Live 07 has made some nice tweaks to the system to help give you a better idea of how your team gets along. Certain menus in the mode give you a complete look at your player's satisfaction across a number of different team-related subjects--market, roster stability, winning, playing time, team talent, bench order, and so on. You can also see how that player feels about every other player on his team and, when it comes to making a trade, how your team would feel about having an opposing player join their team. As you might expect, players who "like" one another will usually play better as a unit on the court, which is something you'll need to factor in when it comes time to pull the trigger on a trade.

Vince Carter posterizing yet another hapless victim.

From a presentation standpoint, we liked the new menu system in the game, with its clean lines and white background, and the new press box camera on the court, which has a slightly higher and angled vantage point to give a clear view of the entire court, especially the corners at the bottom of the screen. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr return this season in the commentating booth, and their voice work seems just as smooth and varied as in previous years.

It's important to note that while the developers of NBA Live 07 have made steps to ensure the game isn't a "dunk-fest," moving to a more sim-styled basketball approach doesn't mean the game won't be fast-paced and fun. Instead, the team is looking to balance the realism of the game with the freestyle controls that let players take control of the best in the basketball business. That balance will be the essential ingredient in NBA Live 07's success. We'll be bringing you more on the game in the coming months as we lead up to its release later this year.

Discussion

38 comments
KdOdom7
KdOdom7

like both the series but I play NBA Live more...why? Because you don't have to play 10-12 minute quarters just to get a realistic score. I mean come on, I like video games but I have a life. With Live you can play 5-6 minutes and have a fast paced game or a slow down game. NBA 2k6 just dosen't have that fast-paced action. It seems like yor playing a half-court game the whole time even if you have the Suns. I don't use the shot stick, blah. 2K6 does have a much better dynasty mode. But each game has its plus and minuses and I will get them both so it dosen't matter. I'll also get NBA 07 The Life. It had a cool concept but bad gameplay and graphics *EDIT*

KdOdom7
KdOdom7

I like both the series but I play NBA Live more...why? Because you don't have to play 10-12 quarters just to get a realistic score. I mean come on, I like video games but I have a life. With Live you can play 5-6 minutes and have a fast paced game or a slow down game. NBA 2k6 just dosen't have that fast-paced action. It seems like yor playing a half-court game the whole time even if you have the Suns. I don't use the shot stick, blah. 2K6 does have a much better dynasty mode. But each game has its plus and minuses and I will get them both so it dosen't matter. I'll also get NBA 07 The Life. It had a cool concept but bad gameplay and graphics.

zosam
zosam

The main problem for me in live 06 and 2k6 was in the dynasty mode. it is really easy to create a team full of stars just by trading them. there are a lot of ways to outsmart the ai of the game.. imagine me getting pau gasol for josh childress and tyrone lue.. man no one in their right mind would allow such a trade.. im glad that EA in live 07 added an on team chemistry which may solve that, also its deeper dynasy mode is something to watch for. but why can't they still make it a posibility to pronounce computer generated players names. it gets so annoying. when i was at the 2010-2011 season imagine how many rookies starting from the 2005-2006 season got imported. That-B-Guy this is for u: all you need to do is switch your center to the small forward spot using a substiturion.. coz every after a timeout or dear ball situation, automatically the smallforward will inbound the ball. hope this helps..

lougs
lougs

exited about the gameplay ea is talking about hope they deliver a great basketball game

lougs
lougs

i hope its gunna be better and make it much harder 2 score to make it more realistic looking forwrd to a better baskrtball sim...

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

I love the basketball games and EA has ruled the basketball scene but the live series has been trampled on and beaten for the last 2 years. The 2k series has reigned supreme. It seems that EA is not really trying to get their game on. I will of course play it and i cant wait but i wont for out 60 buckaroos for this. Unless its good ...... You ever wonder how hard it is to talk like that Partyarty post. I mean to even try and spell that talk is amazing in it self. hehe h

originaldblazer
originaldblazer

Well first off, I think this needs to be said. No offense since I like 2k6 and Live 2006, but you 2k fanboys and Live haters need to simply step the **** outta here if you can't be positive or optimistic about a game that hasn't been released yet and you've only seen footage of but haven't played a minute of. The article says the game is no longer a dunk fest, and I admit, that was last year's major problem, I just hope that they aren't lying. The only things that I really see that may be wrong with the game is the fact that cpu generated player names still aren't pronounced by the announcers, they still haven't brought back the ability to import graduates from March Madness, the game's player-to-player contact recognition needs to be fixed from last year so that we don't have players running, dunking, etc. through each other (I mean limbs, etc. actually going through another player... swatting at the ball for a block or steal and the hands go through the ball without making contact, but this is something 2k needs to tweak a little too, though not as much as Live) as well as players magically getting tangled up when you are about 3ft. away from each other in midair, crossing up defenders but not able to go around them, etc. But the main thing that EA needs to fix but don't seem to realize are simply the graphics and mechanics of the game. Like i'm pretty sure someone else out there other than me has had an occasion where you were out on the fast break with A.I. and somehow Shaq of all people happens to run you down AND get in front of you before you reach your own 3pt line which makes no sense when you compare their speeds or Jason Kidd outleaping LeBron James and actually blocking his dunks, which is a mechanics thing that they need to fix about the ratings of course. But i'll just go out saying, if they don't bring back a little respect with 2007, they'll have another year to work and should be able to get a clue on 2008.

baltimoreravens
baltimoreravens

First i am 100% 2K fan... i would just like to say that this is pretty much VERY clear now, 2K owns Live. i mean... if u get all these crap from 2K fans in the Live forum, that means something doesnt it?? So good luck Live fans... u will soon to be buried under the enormous 2K fan base, sry........ Live sux cuz EA doesnt know how to make a good bball SIM, they were good until NBA LIVE 2001.

partyarty
partyarty

yo da main thing da plauged live wazz GRAPHICS, DATZ ALL.....yall see graphics and automatically yall beleev its a better game, live has bin a pioneer fo yeerZz, alot of da things in 2k6 originated from live....HELLOOOOOO, and yeall talkin bout streetball, nba jam..superstar controls should b tossed...FO WAT those superstar controls gave star players a personality fo once....in 2k it isnt as ez to tell da good players from da badd but in live u no from da start and i also think yall r xhaggerating it becuzz i dont remember one tyme dat da superstar controls got me a score on EVRY BASKET, if it wazz too ez fo u den put up da difficulty so seriously we spose to b talkin bout da game live 07 not 2k if u wanna talk bout dat den go to dat game and lets stop wit da hatin

boondocksss
boondocksss

not only am i an nba live fan but im also an Ea sports fan look at how good live, madden, fight night, and those hockey games are

tendymartiansya
tendymartiansya

I agree with joms, that's true that NBA2K is much more better than NBA Live series....!! Actually I'm a big fan of NBA Live Series from 1995-2005 but when I try to play NBA2K6...WOOOOW all the last 10 years of NBA Live seems Nothing Maaaaan, really I'm not jokking. From now on I will play only NBA 2K series. EA must wok harder than this.

joms
joms

i'm also a big fan fun of EA's nba live series, but when i played 2k6 men u can instantly tell what is the big difference between the two. just take for instance the dribbling animation of nba live 2006 from 2k6, 2k6 is more realistic. so my point is EA must do what they must do!

darock78
darock78

Live compared to 2k is like comparing legends of wrestling to wwe smackdown vs raw 06! There is no comparison Live is to much of a arcade game while 2k gives you the simulation you are looking for. Oh and as far as graphics Live cannot compare, 2k's team VC (Visual Concepts) are by far the best graphics I have seen to date. But don't take my word for it, I work at a EB Games/Gamestop store and I get to see and hear everyday what people are complaining about with Live or 2K or any other game for that matter. For my money I go with 2k anyday, besides if I wanted to play an arcade basketball game I would much rather play, Street, NBA Jams, or (taking it way back) ARCH RIVALS!!!

TalenTakaSuN
TalenTakaSuN

I've seen preview videos for both Live 07 and 2k7. Being a Live fan I'm partial to it but to be honest, in the trailers 2k7 looks much much better. I'm a real big fan of signature moves and 2k7 looks to be full of them.

sparco_21
sparco_21

i've played 2k6 and live 06 and man 2k6 got the cool graphics but it irritates me when im performing an alleyoop cuz you have to push two buttons but i still like the allstar weekend in live 06 but in game u have to replay the freestyle moves only, y is that?and it is so conquering! u can be overplayed by those freestlye moves even if u have shaq in front of a high flyer. i was a live fan until 2k6 arrived and im getting to get used to it so EA better make some big improvements in live 07 and please do something with the out of bounds thing when ur under ring trying to do a layup..ok

barn34
barn34

man, oh man....i remember back when they were boasting about the superstar controls during the 06 development stating that they were putting huge ammounts of time into making sure they were balanced and that those certain players didn't create yet another cheap way for players to cheat the gaming system into easy points....well, we all saw how well those efforts went as i returned my copy of 06 less than 2 hours after first popping it into my ps2. EA is killing live and it makes me sad....how great were the ps1 lives and how crappy are the ps2 versions....good god, EA, how the mighty have fallen. all i can do is sit here and pray for a damn good basketball sim this year....either from EA or 2k, i don't care, just make one of them damn good is all i ask...

That-B-Guy
That-B-Guy

I've been a Live fan for years, back when they had Jordan on the roster, but could not actually put his name on it. Personally, I was really hoping that EA would toss the superstar moves on this years game instead they add more and allow you switch them on the fly, huge mistake. This game is supposed to be a basketball sim not a street game, however I did love NBA Street Vol. 2 not so much Vol. 3 though... A feature I was really looking to return is the fatigue factor and easier substitions that come with it. Fatigue is an easy way to balance the over-powered superstar moves because we all know that Shaq should not be able to run down court and power a dunk down on Jermaine O'Neal 20 times in a row. Yes, I know that fatigue is already in the game, but as it is the player has to experiment with sliders and it's not default, so no one plays with it. Also, it interupts the flow of the game to have to go to the substition menu after pressing pause. One last thing, add a way to choose who is going to inbounds the ball after a timeout. I hate having my 3 point shooter go to inbounds the ball with 1.4 seconds left when I need a 3 to tie. It's completely idiotic that I can't pick a center to inbounds after a timeout in that situation.

liljcbaby2323
liljcbaby2323

there is no way dat nba live is better thank da 2k series.....2k is way more realer and better than live.....dont get me wrong i like like and i play it wen i can since my 2k6 is broke but no way that live is better!!!

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

EA have pretty much killed the NBA Live series to me. It hasn't been good since 2000. I went over a bud house last year to see what the NBA Live 2006, and I couldn't stop laughing! What a absolute joke! I couldn't believe how far that series has digress since I last played it. It was almost too hard to watch. I had my buddy come over later that week to see 2KSports NBA 2K6, and within a day, he went out and bought that. I think EA has lost another customer.

badjames
badjames

All talk about 2K or EA being better is pointless. its not gonna bring the nfl 2k series back. EA's got that franchise and they are killing it themselves. just give it time. Its not gonna change the fact that the live series is the #1 selling franchise even if the 2K series is good. instead of saying which franchise is better (which is not what this is about) you guys should discuss how you think the features are gonna work, if you think its gonna work, and what features you would like to see among other things. just telling it like it is.

Hot_Sauce3
Hot_Sauce3

no offense to any 2k fans here but why do u like it?...let me state why it pisses the hell out of me. first of all whts with the stupid tapping sh*t for a jump ball...in live u just press triangle..and whts with the glossy look to the players...it makes it look like they oiled themselves...also whts with the stupid streetball sh*t...and the in-game ads piss me off coz they're so pointless..and the shot stick is alright but it irritates me sometimes when im trying to do a dunk or a lay-up..other than that sh*t its alrite...but i prefer the Live series...i think 07's gonna be crazy...so sry if i offended anybody with my comments regarding the 2k series

quest2reign
quest2reign

I must say that I have not been a live fan since the 2K series began and I have had a hand in converting at least 10 die hard Live fans over. The live series is a joke. Its like playing NbaJam. 2K7 will completely destroy the remainder of the Live fanbase except for the few who are gluttons for bad gaming. EA know this as well thats the whole reason they underhandedly got rid of NFL 2K series which was quickly becoming superior to Madden. 2K fan until they become EA.

dominican_fines
dominican_fines

Wow i think EA is trying alot to improve i can't wait for this game ima buy it like 2 days or 3 days later wow with all these new defence pressure and stuff there going to shut up all these haterz mouth up.

GrandTheftLive
GrandTheftLive

I like Live and hope they make much more improvements

baltimoreravens
baltimoreravens

Wow, why is EA even trying. They should understand by now that they suck at making basketball simulations. 2K just owns EA at making sims period. I WANT MY NFL 2K BACK!!!! but i like EA sports Big's game tho.

rl_41
rl_41

This is so stupid... superstar controls were already cheap and unbalanced, and now they're just multiplying it. Live is slowly transforming into Street...

saiyanman5215
saiyanman5215

Deecrutch, I agree 100% with that "number xx" crap. they should have fixed that crap by now right? gotta admit though it funny as heck sometimes, especially when it's names that are easy as crap to pronounce and FCC approved........

younglynk
younglynk

if this will be better than the 2k series then im all for it. 2k6 is a pretty good game and gives u a challenge. Hopefully the creation mode will be alot better than it was last year cuz it was ugly!

tmizzac6991
tmizzac6991

06 did suck. The graphics were horrible and the tempo was too slow. it was pretty bad. Im jus waitin for 2k7

Harvester_0009
Harvester_0009

I don't think that they should have that thing where they're switching to playmaker or high fligher or stuff like that they just have be able to do those things regularly unless you can only do those things so many times per game.

king_tim
king_tim

ya i agree tmac? they should have put lebron in there, i think this game will flunk again

DonC_
DonC_

I just don't believe thatthey will succeed in this.... In fact I don't believe them all because last few years showed us that Nba Live series are going down in gameplay compred to other titles IMO

rustman911
rustman911

I'd really like to know how the hell Tracy McGrady got the cover. I no longer consider him a huge threat in the NBA any longer. He was actually thinking about ending his career short this year due to major personal issues. Yeah, 100% HORRIBLE mistake by putting him on the cover. Dirk from Dallas, Lebron from Cleveland, Nash from Phoenix, and many others were great choices, but T-Mac???????? That was a curve ball, haha.

kungfuj0
kungfuj0

All this sounds nice, but if they don't address some of the other things that have plauged Live for the past few years, then this traditional EA guy will be a 2K guy during 2007. Note to EA...it is 2006 and will be 2007 in a few months. In this day and age, we, the gamers, should NEVER have to hear 'number xx' in regards to our created players, drafted players, or players already on the default rosters. GET THIS **** FIXED once and for all or start losing customers. It's that f'n simple.

ThaSaint21
ThaSaint21

this better be good cuz my man tmac is on da cover and all them new features

etmaul
etmaul

could be interesting...

whackedjob213
whackedjob213

06 sucked i'm a 2k6 fan now thi better be good to pry me away