NBA Live '98

NBA Action gets my game ball,
but NBA Live is worth lookin' at.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Realtime Associates
Genre: Action

Last year was a horrible year for Saturn basketball. Both the NBA Action and NBA Live titles of last season were mediocre at best. The ball was certainly picked up this year, starting with the release of Sega's great NBA Action '98, and the new NBA Live, while not quite up to snuff with Sega's offering, has improved significantly for the 1998 season.

The problems of last year - choppy framerate, pixelated graphics - have been ironed out this season, thanks to Realtime Associates, developers that are familiar with the Saturn's 3D hardware. The game has a cleaner, more fluid look and feel-- it's just easier to follow the action and play the game. NBA Live 98 still isn't quite as fast-paced or elaborate as NBA Action '98, but it does offer a few small options that aren't in Sega's game, like a slick three-point shootout for up to 10 players.

What's missing in NBA Live '98 is the intensity -- sound effects are muted and the color commentary is sparse at best. At least the full-motion video is energetic, because not much else in this game is.

The golden ball definitely goes to NBA Action '98, but NBA Live is definitely worth a pick-up game or two.