There aren't too many other basketball games on the PC to choose from, but any fan of the sport should give NBA Live 2003 a try.
It was probably for the best that NBA Live 2002 was never released on the PC, because the gameplay mechanics in last year's game were in serious need of fine-tuning. Fortunately, EA Sports has almost completely reworked the NBA Live series for 2003 by quickening the pace of the game, adding a new "freestyle" control system, and generally making NBA Live 2003 play more like the classic 16-bit console games that helped start the series. The result is an incredibly fun, albeit unrealistic, game of basketball that anyone can pick up and immediately start to enjoy. In addition, the PC version unquestionably has the best online features of any of the game's versions, since it lets you create clubs and track various stats online.
Live 2003 still offers many of the same modes found in previous games in the series. The franchise mode returns in 2003, and while it's not quite as in-depth as the one featured in Sega's console game NBA 2K3, you still get to perform all the basic functions of an NBA general manager. At the beginning of a season, you can adjust your roster by trading and releasing players and signing free agents. The trading system is similar the one found in previous games in that players are given point values. In putting together a trade proposal, the point value of the players you want to trade for has to be within a certain range, otherwise the computer will reject it. You'll also get to pore over different sets of statistics, including overall team stats, individual player stats, your personal user stats, and the league leaders in different statistical categories. Also included in the franchise mode is a GM's desk option that lets you go behind the scenes to the business side of the NBA. You'll see information on player contracts, injury reports, MVP candidates, player progression, and a list of upcoming free agents.
At the end of a season, the game will hand out awards such as League MVP, Sixth Man, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. The game will also name its All-NBA team, All-Defensive team, and All-Rookie team. While the off-season may be celebration time for some teams, for others, it marks one of the few opportunities to make significant changes. First, you'll see a list of retiring players, so you'll know what holes, if any, you will need to fill via the draft, free agency, or trades. You'll also have to take care of re-signing players if any of them are coming to the end of their contracts and you want to keep them on the team for a few more years. Unfortunately, when you make it to the rookie draft, there really doesn't seem to be enough information to make an educated choice. After completing the draft, you can sign any remaining free agents, make last-minute trades, and then begin a new season. Again, it's not quite as in-depth as the franchise mode in Sega's console game NBA 2K3, but it also won't be as intimidating for some, and it seems to fit well with the new gameplay style.
The other modes in NBA Live 2003 aren't nearly as involved as the franchise mode. the game features straightforward exhibition, season, and playoff modes, as well as a practice mode that lets you move around the court with a single player. Live 2003 also features a one-on-one mode in which you can select any two players in the league and pit them against each other to see who's better.
Whichever mode you select, you'll undoubtedly notice how much faster NBA Live 2003 plays than the games that came before it--or, for that matter, any other five-on-five basketball games currently available. Though there are differences between them, every player on the court is relatively quick even when you're not using the turbo button, making it much easier to execute fast breaks or create a path to the basket.
- Player Reviews: 7
- Game Universe:
- NBA Live 2001 (PS, PC, PS2),
- NBA Live 2002 (PS2, XBOX, PS),
- NBA Live 2003 (PS2, PS, PC, GC, XBOX),
- NBA Live 2004 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- NBA Live 2005 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- NBA Live 06 (XBOX, GC, PS2, PC, PSP, X360, MOBILE),
- NBA Live 95 (PC, SNES, GEN),
- NBA Live 96 (PC, GEN, PS, GB, SNES),
- NBA Live 97 (PC, PS, GEN, SAT, SNES),
- NBA Live 2000 (PC, N64, PS)
- Number of Players: