NBA Live 18 has made lots of improvements over last year and has become the most accessible title for players of all abilities.

You are quickly thrown into NBA Live 18, where you’ll play a quick match that will show you the ropes. Straight from the off you feel like you aren’t going to be overwhelmed with over complicated controls and within seconds you’ll have pulled off your first slam dunk, which always feels great.

The AI seems to make some odd decisions, I often noticed players losing possession far too easily, or losing control of the ball at the slightest bit of contact from other players. You could also question some of their shooting choices too. There was never anything too game breaking though.

Presentation wise, the game looks great. You’ll quickly pick up on the realism of the NBA’s biggest stars, movement seems fluid and you’ll notice individual playing styles too. Thanks to the excellent lighting, each venue you play in feels like you are watching from courtside. No doubt next year will look even better when the game moves away from the Ignite engine. However, the game is let down by the commentary, more so the lack of variety. It’s not long before you hear the commentators repeating themselves.

There are plenty of game modes for you to take part in, with the return of Dynasty Mode, Rising Star and Franchise, where you can manage your own NBA time, dealing with contracts, training players and leading them to glory. In Ultimate Team, you’ll be building a hand-picked squad of players from past and present.

As you play and complete challenges you’ll earn coins that will give you the chance to purchase more players, coaches, uniforms, and stadiums, adding strength to your roster. It’s a real time sink, but if you really want to build a dream team then this mode will be right up your street.

The pick of the bunch is the career mode titled ‘The One’ – The story sees you create your own player and make your way up to playing in the NBA, all while making choices to help or hinder your career. You’ll split your time between playing in the NBA and in street tournaments, earning skill points to upgrade your player and hopefully become a permanent fixture with the side you get drafted with. At first, as a rookie you won’t get many minutes, but if you do get on, you’ll need to play well to get noticed, as you improve, you’ll get more time to on the court and eventually if things goes well you’ll become a starter. As you play on the streets, you’ll find yourself competing in tournaments, playing first to 21, it’s a nice distraction from playing in the big league and you can earn points towards upgrades.

NBA live 18 features the WNBA, giving you the chance to play as some of the biggest female teams, although it’s disappointing you can create females players, or even play as a female in The One. Hopefully next year we’ll see a bit more integration.

I was quite surprised at how much I like NBA Live 18, being able to use a simplified control scheme makes the game much more accessible for players like me, who don’t spend too much time playing Basketball games. More experienced players may prefer more detailed gameplay like in the NBA 2K titles. There are plenty of things that can be improved but like most EA Sports titles, over time things will definitely come together to make for a great experience.

Thanks to EA and Xbox for supporting TiX