Review – NBA Live 19

EA’s 2017 was so outright disgraceful I was even able to write a list with everything they did wrong last year, but if there’s one thing they did right, it was bringing NBA Live back from the dead. The franchise’s previous iterations prior to the ’18 edition weren’t great, but given how NBA 2K‘s monopoly over the basketball market became detrimental to consumers with Take-Two’s exploitative microtransactions, I was glad to find Live making a comeback. I was happier when I liked NBA Live 18 more than any game in the franchise. I had high hopes for this year’s version, and for the most part, I was very satisfied with what I got.


Yo Dirk!  What’s wrong with your face?

I had the chance to play NBA Live 19 back at E3 2018, and my praise of the controls and gameplay remain. NBA Live 19 is slightly easier to play when you don’t have the ball with you. Stealing the ball doesn’t feel like a game of chance anymore, and one-on-ones are less of a hassle to the person without possession. It’s still far from perfect, as the ball physics aren’t the best when compared to the competition. The taunt mechanic lets you play with your opponent’s mind depending on how you celebrate your points is excellent as well.

Given how NBA Live 19, unlike the FIFA series, isn’t known for a wide variety in teams to choose from, the real treat here lies in the variety of modes to choose from. My favorite mode from NBA Live 18, The One, is back with a few improvements, such as the option of playing the entire career as a female athlete. While the mode is fun and the progression system is fair and devoid of shoddy microtransactions, I didn’t feel it was as enjoyable as last year’s mode. Watching real-life pundits talking about my feats will never get old, but this year’s emphasis on showcasing progress measured as if I was an internet influencer didn’t connect with me very well.


I’ll take down Curry any day of the week.

Besides The One, there are two brand new modes added to this game, one of them being cool and the other being an unfortunate inclusion I was already expecting. Court Battle is a completely bonkers turf war mode of sorts. You can create your own court with the most ridiculous decorations you can come up with, write unique rules that will remain attached to said court, assemble a team comprised of both male and female players, and then partake in online matches, either defending your turf from “invaders” or invading other courts. Each one has its own set of dumb but amazing rules that make it .

Finally, there’s also a brand new Ultimate Team mode, also known as EA’s way of milking their cows dry until they’re too skinny to withstand a light breeze. It has everything you’d expect from this mode: loot boxes, microtransactions, you name it. It’s a bummer, but to be fair, that’s the only mode plagued with microtransactions in this game, unlike the NBA 2K games. Yes, you read that right: NBA Live 19, an Electronic Arts game, has less microtransactions than its competitor, and it’s the most consumer-friendly of the two.


The One, still the star of the show.


NBA Live 19 has a lot more content than what last year’s iteration had, and it’s better in terms of additional monetization methods than Take-Two’s 2K series. But I didn’t enjoy every new addition to the franchise, such as EA’s staple Ultimate Mode. Did it deserve to cost twice as much as NBA Live 18 used to at launch? Most certainly not, but it’s still without a doubt the best basketball series around.

Graphics: 8.0

The graphics felt just like last year’s iteration: pretty realistic, excellent character models, robotic facial animations.

Gameplay: 8.5


Feels easier to play. Defending is a bit simpler, stealing occurs more frequently. The new taunt mechanic is a great addition.

Sound: 6.5

A brand new collection of hip hop songs for you to add to your Spotify library. The commentaries are a lot less vibrant than last year.

Fun Factor: 7.5

NBA Live 19 has more content than its predecessor, but not everything that has been added this time around justifies doubling its price. Plus, Ultimate Mode.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on Xbox One.
NBA Live 19 is available now on PS4, Xbox One.