NBA Live 21: Things to improve to catch up to NBA 2K21 – Game modes, cosmetics, commentary & more

EA has a long way to go to knock off 2K Games’ basketball supremacy. But it’s possible if things change.

by Brandon Ridgely
nba live 21

NBA Live took a hiatus last year, but everything points to a return in 2020 with next gen consoles.

NBA Live has always existed in the shadow of the NBA 2K series. While EA may have control of the gridiron with Madden, it’s not really the case on the basketball court.

Here’s what NBA Live 21 could improve to take on NBA 2K21 and compete for basketball sim supremacy.

GET MAMBA EDITION NBA 2K21 HERE!

Game modes

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WITHOUT A DOUBT- The NBA 2K series brings the most extensive alternate game modes to basketball video games, and it’s not even close

When comparing just the basic gameplay of NBA 2K20 and NBA Live 19, there’s an obvious edge to the 2K series. When you compare the two across other game modes however, these series are in entirely different leagues.

For all the tiny flaws in NBA 2K20 across cutscenes, dialogue, voice options etc. NBA Live doesn’t even meet the criteria to compete. With hugely limited game mode selection and very weak inclusions for classic modes like Franchise, NBA 2K absolutely floors NBA Live across all the extracurriculars. 

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Badges wishlist: The overpowered, underpowered, and broken

Cosmetics

DIFFERENT LEAGUES- While NBA Live manages to outdo NBA 2K on some graphics, they come nowhere close in the world of cosmetics

One area the NBA 2K series has massively evolved is in cosmetics. Whether it’s individual shoe designs and sponsors, or customizing accessories, NBA 2K20 took the smaller visual details of basketball to entirely new places. 

Regardless of the fact 2K had an extra year on the last NBA Live game after their hiatus, this discrepancy was even noticeable in NBA 2k19 vs NBA Live 19. 

It may seem tiny in the grand scheme of things, but cosmetics and accessories could go a long way in improving the graphics and customization in NBA Live 21.

READ MORE: NBA Live 21 Release Date: Will EA wait for next gen consoles?

GET MAMBA EDITION NBA 2K21 HERE!

Commentary

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ALL IN THE DELIVERY- That’s right, the series that wrote lines like this manages to outdo NBA Live on commentary. Things need to change.

Perhaps NBA Live’s weakest point as a series has been its commentary. The series lacks a good variety of broadcasting talent, which you’d think help them focus on the commentators they do include. Unfortunately that’s not the case, with commentary delivering little value, mostly serving to ruin immersion with awful conversational flow connecting small surface level insights.

It’s hard to tell whether the writing or long awkward pauses are worse, but both detract from the many things NBA Live does right.

What makes these sting even more is that NBA 2K still has a long way to go on commentary, especially with half time shows, but despite this they still outshine NBA Live here.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21: Is cross platform coming to 2K?

Brandon Ridgely

US Editor - Covering all things sports with a bit of everything else. Current favorite games: NBA 2K21, Madden 21, and Football Manager 2020.

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