NBA Live 21 Career Mode: Gameplay, features, wishlist, release date & more

NBA 2K20 have been dominating the world of offline story modes, so what will be EA’s response?

Phil Pangalos by Phil Pangalos
nba live 21 career mode

It’s fair to say that 2020 is an exciting year for gamers, with the upcoming releases of next-gen consoles, Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

However, after NBA Live 20 was cancelled, hopefully we’ll finally see EA’s basketball title come back with a bang!

With NBA 2K20‘s offline story mode setting the bar high, what can we expect from NBA Live 21’s Career Mode?

 

Strong Foundations

NBA Live 19 featured a very impressive career mode.

Their ‘The One’ story-lined career mode was similar to that of NBA 2K and whilst it wasn’t the most original idea, it was certainly effective.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE: The last career mode on NBA Live 19 was a success

If NBA Live can incorporate some fresh ideas and a well-written storyline into their 21 title, it could be a game-changer.

READ MORE: Everything about NBA Live 21 – Release date, graphics, rosters, trailer and more

However, it’s going to take a lot to rival NBA 2K20’s recent offline efforts.

Rivalling NBA 2K20

It’s no secret that NBA 2K20 take their offline Story Mode extremely seriously.

In fact MyCareer was so good that we labelled it the best story mode to ever come out of a sports title!

MyCareer’s success is largely down to the game’s partnership with SpringHill entertainment – a major player in the movie industry.

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SpringHill Entertainment’s influence over the story mode is evident, as the depth of each character is incredible.

In addition, NBA 2K bring in high profile names to bolster their story mode (as if it needed it).

idris elba 2k20 nba
HIGH PROFILE: Idris Elba starred in MyCareer as your player’s coach

Famous celebs such as Idris Elba have featured in the offline mode and NBA 2K16’s story mode was even directed and written by Spike Lee!

It’s fair to say that NBA Live 21 have big boots to fill.

What we want to see

So we’ve made it fairly obvious that NBA 2K MyCareer has stood out from the crowd. But how can NBA Live 21 go about matching 2K’s high standards?

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As we’ve mentioned, EA did a pretty good job with ‘The One’ in NBA Live 19. But, a major shortcoming was the off-field experience.

Improving the off-field experience

Admittedly, it would be hard for NBA Live to find new ways of adding significant depth off the field without looking as if they’re copying what 2K does.

However, this simply has to be a top priority.

READ MORE: Absolutely Everything we know about Xbox Series X

The One was a huge step for NBA Live but it still lacked depth and the progression is too linear. 

Added Realism

Typically, NBA Live have struggled to make accurate and diverse body types and the jerseys almost look painted on at times.

In addition, 2K’s physics and ball mechanics are simply superior.

KEEP IT REAL: Improved physics and mechanics would create a more immersive experience

NBA Live’s lack of realism leads to an arcade-style game, detracting from a more immersive story mode experience.

Create a more difficult AI setting

NBA Live’s gameplay heavily favour offense.

As a result, there is an arcade feel to gameplay, which allow beginners to compete easily, but may fall short for devoted basketball gamers.

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To ensure they hold on to devoted basketball fans, NBA Live should look towards introducing a more difficult AI setting that balances the game out, offering more of a challenge for the player.

Release Date

Whilst an official confirmation for the game has not yet been made by EA, looking at past releases we expect that any potential release would hit the shelves in September time.

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However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see EA miss out the current consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) and develop NBA Live 21 exclusively for the PS5 and new Xbox upon their release.

To read more about NBA Live 21, including its cover star, graphics, rosters and next-gen, head here.

Phil Pangalos

First Console: GameBoy Color / Favourite Game: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood / Currently playing: UFC 3