NBA Live 15

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
NBA Live 15 Game Poster Image
Hoops sim makes upgrades but still needs more time in gym.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the fundamentals of basketball, including the inner workings of the NBA and play basics, thanks to the required tutorial and supplemental practice sessions. Kids interested in the sport can learn terminology and concepts before moving to more complex court strategies. They'll also dive into the league by playing seasons with their favorite teams, making trade and draft decisions as a team GM, or creating a player and follow his career. For fans of basketball, NBA Live 15 does a decent job of presenting the sport in a way that should keep them entertained for hours.

Positive Messages

Focuses on the competitive nature of basketball, presented in a fun, positive light.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nothing highlights why NBA players and prospects should be looked to as role models.

Ease of Play

Mildly complex controls. The game automatically places users in a tutorial for shooting, dribbling, and other moves. Plenty of practice options for players who want extra time to learn.

Violence & Scariness

Shoe sponsors like Adidas, Nike, and Michael Jordan's Jumpman. ESPN boasts a heavy presence as official broadcast partner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NBA Live 15 is a standard simulation of professional basketball. Players choose one of the NBA's 30 teams, then guides them to victory in single games or toward multiple championships in dynasty modes. Players also can create their own budding superstars and lead them to glory. Controls are mildly complex, but players are automatically placed in a tutorial to brush up their skills and have the option to keep practicing. Nike, Adidas, and ESPN feature prominently, and there's unmoderated multiplayer, so kids could be exposed to inappropriate comment.

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What's it about?

NBA LIVE 15 is a simulation of the professional basketball league. Players step on the court and enjoy hoops in a variety of ways. There are standard exhibition games, as well as dynasty modes in which players can control a team for one or several seasons, managing rosters and leading them to championships. Or, if you like an individual approach, there's a Rising Star mode, where you create an athlete and guide him to professional success. The game also boasts challenges tied to the real-world NBA season. For example, if an athlete pulls off a significant feat during the season, players can try to match or beat that feat in the game. 

Is it any good?

Although NBA Live 15 has made great strides since the previous iteration (NBA Live 14) -- from improved physics to higher-resolution graphics for player appearances -- it's tough to recommend it when the superior rival NBA 2K15 offers so much more. That said, the broadcast presentation sponsored by ESPN gives the feel of a real-live NBA game, and controls are simpler compared to NBA 2K15, which could make the transition smooth for players new to video game basketball. But NBA Live 15 still struggles to accurately showcase the flow of the game through its animations. Players look stiff and almost robotic at times when they switch between moves. It's not as frequent here as in the previous version, but it's still notable.

NBA Live 15 also misses some little touches, such as not recreating every single player's shooting style. It also lacks the subtle nuances in Dynasty mode that add an extra tinge of realism, such as choosing whether or not to fly your team via private jet to conserve their energy during long road trips. Although NBA Live 15 has done a lot to improve, its lack of depth and inability to portray fluid player movements relegates it to the bench.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how well NBA Live 15 compares to real-world basketball. What does the game get right or wrong?

  • Discuss consumerism in sports games. Does including corporate and clothing logos add to a game's realism? Why, or why not?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Themes & Topics

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