NBA Live 2003 Review
NBA Live 2003 is a highly enjoyable but slightly unrealistic simulation of NBA basketball.
The latest in a long line, EA Sports' NBA Live 2003 plays much faster than any of its 3D predecessors, almost to the point that it seems to mimic the 16-bit installments in the series, which were some of the most entertaining basketball games of that era. You won't find an incredibly realistic half-court game in this latest NBA Live, but you will find a lot of run-and-gun-style offense with plenty of fast breaks, dunks, fancy passing, and cuts through the lane. Even the post-up game has received a boost in speed, as it only takes a split second to back a defender down underneath the basket. This new style of gameplay is topped off with a new ballhandling control scheme that lets you perform some NBA Street-like moves by using the right analog stick to control the direction of your dribble. It works very well and ultimately helps make NBA Live 2003 a highly enjoyable but slightly unrealistic simulation of NBA basketball.
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 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 NBA 2K3's franchise mode, 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.
The shooting percentages seem a little out of whack out of times, but not necessarily in the bad sense. With the default settings of the game, it's not unusual to have two or three players on your team hit at least four three-pointers over the span of a single game, and you'll rarely ever miss shots that are within five or so feet of the basket. When you increase the difficulty, the computer will score on almost every trip down the court if you don't keep a defender on each of its players.
- Player Reviews: 6
- 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: