2K Sports has been killing the game with its NBA series. To level the playing field, EA Sports is giving gamers an early crack at NBA Live 18 with a free demo. You can check it out now via your Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus account starting today. Here’s my fresh take after playing it for a couple of hours.
In the NBA Live 18 demo, you’ll play through The Rise, a prologue to The One, a new feature for players to carve out their legacy. Your choices influence how that legacy plays out. Playing through the demo mode’s feature The Rise is a tough grind. Your player is making his comeback after a devastating college injury. You’ll start out just above mediocre making for tough challenges when trying to guard Isiah Thomas in pickup games.
My immediate reaction is this is a more engaging than usual basketball game. The One storyline gives Live 18 a greater sense of investment and encourages regular play. One game is fun, but it’s somewhat addictive to find out how a few more games can boost your stats to at least get to a Matt Barnes skill level.
I dig the story mode, which adds some historical perspective and importance of locations like Holcombe Rucker Park and Venice Beach. Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith add another compelling element with their First Takes on your player. I love their energy as they definitely didn’t mail it in with a lethargic performance. These segments are done in studio and further blend the reality/video game lines.
As far as game play goes, EA is closing the game with 2KSports. That’s a good thing for EA. The player models are almost at a 2K level and that gap is very narrow now. Some of the animations still feel a little stiff and players are a tad to slow to react, but there’s no major graphic hiccups. The sound is good with strong crowd background noise and player communication.
During the demo, gamers can take part in specially-timed Live Events. These weekly occurrences include special rules, rewards and characters.
Everything you accomplish during the demo session will carry through when the game is released Sept. 15. That’s a savvy move on EA’s part since some folks who play the Demo will want to build on their efforts. Pre-order NBA Live 18 and get 33 percent off the normal retail price of $60. That’s not a bad deal.
To wrap up the free demo you can play a rematch of the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the world champion Golden State Warriors.
Also new this year is the addition of the WNBA teams. That’s a cool feature and something that’s long overdue for WNBA fans. You can play from all 12 teams on official WNBA courts and use stars like Elena Delle Donne, Sue Bird, and Nneka Ogwumike.
If you’re an EA Access member, you’ll get an additional 10 percent discount when you buy the digital version of NBA LIVE 18 on Xbox Live.