For online play and the inevitable trash talk that goes along with it, NBA video games offer perhaps the most opportunities to get up in your opponent’s grill. While for a decade, you’ve had two options as your go to guy -- the NBA 2K series from 2K Sports and NBA Live from EA Sports.
We start with the team to beat, NBA 2K10, which last season was the top-selling and top-rated NBA game; mostly it seems because 2K Sports has tapped into the signature styles of individual NBA stars while consistently delivering fluid and fast-paced action. Though, in an age of hyper-branding, 2K10 is still over the top with its in-game sponsorships.
Coming off the bench is NBA Live 10 with its cover star Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, providing a perfect parallel to 2K10 and its cover athlete Kobe Bryant. All the potential is there for a championship team, but EA needed to make a few tweaks to the roster so they recruited away NBA 2K’s lead designer to deliver a truer simulation -- down to pick and roll controls and late game logic. They actually enlisted real NBA scouts to fine-tune the play sets.
Both games have reality down to the league’s nuances -- from LeBron’s powder shows to Agent Zero’s superstitions at the free throw line -- and for the most part, it’s all a good show. As for which is really better than the other, just like choosing your favorite player, it’s basically a matter of taste. For a look at these games in action, check out the embedded video in the player above.