September 26, 2005. Die-hard bball fanatics have this date marked. This is when software publisher extraordinaire EA Sports releases the latest installment of the greatest basketball simulation franchise in video game history: NBA Live 2006.
Can’t you tell we’re fans?
Just as they wowed us with their patented Freestyle Controlâ„¢ in 2005, EA Sports is adding yet another dimension to this year’s version: Freestyle Superstars. It is hoped that by bringing in the concept of superstars, players with unique athletic abilities will stand out more from regular players, raising the game’s visual and gameplay experience. With Freestyle Superstars, you can do what your favorite NBA player can do, with impunity. Shaq can obliterate the defense down low and Jason Kidd can hit the behind-the-back, no-look bounce pass to a cutting Vince Carter. Some teams are blessed with more than 1 superstar, others aren’t so lucky.
These superstars are divided into 6 different player types:
- Playmakers – think Steve Nash or Jason Kidd; player can do different types of passes like bounce passes through traffic or no look dishes
- Power Players – think Shaquille O’Neal or Amare Stoudamire; player can do powerful spin moves leading into strong two-handed throwdowns over a physically overmatched defender.
- High Fliers – think Jason Richardson or Josh Smith; player can go sky high and dunk on defenders late to the challenge.
- Shooters – think Kyle Korver or Damon Jones; player can hit outside shots with consistency, or fake a pass and then put up a shot
- Scorer – think Rip Hamilton or Manu Ginobili; player can hit double clutch or floating shots in traffic, and up and under scoops when going baseline underneath the basket
- Stopper – think Bruce Bowen or Ron Artest; player can do quick steals, powerful shot blocks, and have the ability to wrap around behind a driving ballhandler and poke the ball away.
On top of this, EA Sports also did improvements on 1) the visual gameplay via a brand new graphics engine, 2) dynasty mode via added realism in player skill/attribute development and 3) online gaming. With these enhancements, EA Sports NBA Live 2006 will definitely be one of, if not the most anticipated sports simulation game titles next month.