A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Products & Purchases
The game incorporates the league's two major sponsors: Sprite and T-Mobile.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a straightforward professional basketball simulation. The game is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for children under age 12.
Is It Any Good?
On the court, the action has been simplified in subtle ways. Playcalling now moves to the shoulder buttons for easier access. Each play is mapped to a specific star player. So, if you're playing as the Spurs, you may have a post move for Tim Duncan or a screen play for Tony Parker. Pick-and-roll has been greatly improved as well. Holding down the left trigger, a computer-controlled player will set the screen. When you let go, the player will move toward the basket or away from defenders for an open shot. As for presentation, it's perhaps the best of any NBA title, with nearly photorealistic player models and loud, vibrant arenas.
The action is pretty enjoyable, but lags in two areas: smoothness and tempo. Animations are solid but players often don't look very smooth transitioning from one move to the next. Computer-controlled teammates also aren't very effective at running the fast break. Instead of charging to the basket, they'll often stop near the top of the 3-point arc. This forces you into playing a half-court style offense almost all the time. Once these issues are addressed, you may encounter a new champion in the NBA circuit. When trying to decide between NBA Live 09 and NBA 2K9, here's the bottom line: choose NBA Live 09 for younger players and those new to the game, and NBA 2K9 for seasoned hoops gamers.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate