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XBox Reviews: NBA Live 2003


NBA Live 2003 Screenshots

The Final Say!

NBA Live 2003 - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 23 December 2002
Review Score: 9.0/10 
Distributed By: EA

"EA's latest basketball game on the XBox, NBA Live 2003 is the new King of the Hill in the highly competitive world of basketball games! With a new graphic's engine and improved gameplay, there's not much to be faulted in this awesome title!"


It's common knowledge that the NBA franchise from EA had become stale and that the last few versions of the game were just updates over their predecessors. Gamers around the world had voiced their opinions and EA had listened. NBA Live 2003 is a hybrid game that merges arcade action into a true basketball simulation. 


The gameplay is NBA Live 2003 is quite straightforward and is extremely easy to learn once you have spent a good hour learning the basics of the game and finding out where all the buttons are on the dreaded XBox controller. I would highly recommend that gamers have a Controller-S when playing this game, unless they want to have sore hands after a good gaming session. The analog stick is used to move your characters around the court and players can perform all the right basketball movements from real-life such as spins, dribbling, dunks and passes to name a few.


EA have also introduced a new addition to the game that is called the Freestyle mode and lets players have full control over their characters. In laymen's term, the freestyle mode lets you have full control over a player's dribbles and is an ideal addition to multiplayer games where you can perform a variety of different dribbles. 


Unfortunately when playing against the XBox AI, it's quite difficult to maintain an effect freestyle mode. Another addition to NBA Live 2003 is the introduction of cutscenes that actual show a variety of aspects of basketball games that you do not see on television such as coaches talking to their players or various players on the benches, truly a great addition to the game. 


One of the most dramatic changes between NBA Live 2003 and 2003 is the introduction of a franchise mode that spans over 10 seasons and lets you perform a variety of functions such as signing players, trading and salary cap management that makes this basketball game one of the most in-depth games around. The only downside to trading is that the XBox tends to be quite greedy and aggressive but every now and then you are allowed a great trade. The franchise mode also includes a modified version of the NBA's real draft pick that also helps add to the realism of the game. 



NBA Live 2003 features some truly awe inspiring graphics and is probably one of the most realistic basketball games around. The first thing you will notice with NBA Live 2003 is the highly detailed character models that actually now have changing facial expressions and some of the smoothest and realistic animations in gaming history. Unlike other games that dramatically change between various changes in the game (i.e. moving from a run to a shoot), the characters in NBA Live 2003 flawless change between actions perfectly. Apart from the great looking character models, NBA Live 2003 features some of the nicest stadiums to ever grace an EA sport's game and feature some realistic crowd effects. Although the stadium still looks quite flat, the stadiums now have a realistic feel to them. 


One of the most impressive features in the game is the reflective floor surfaces and lighting effects that is pure eye candy. NBA Live 2003 on the XBox does have a few flaws when it comes to graphics such as the annoying camera angles and every once in awhile, the gameplay suffers when there is too much action happening at once and the frame rate takes a dive. Fortunately, the frame rate is steady throughout the majority of the game and there are a variety of different camera angles to fix the annoying camera angles but you really shouldn't have to do this.


Musically, NBA Live 2003 sounds like something out of a hip hop album and features a variety of different songs that include rap, pop and urban hip hop. EA have even managed to get music greats like Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and Just Blaze to help with the upbeat tune of the game. As with all EA sport games, the commentary is exceptional and everything flows together perfectly without any unacceptable pauses, repeats or delays.


NBA Live 2003 isn't just a good game but a great basketball game for the XBox and features some super fast gameplay, amazing graphics and great presentation that is sure to become a favourite on the XBox. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a decent basketball game and want something that is not just a stock standard console basketball game. Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com