Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 89
    In one year, Live has really transformed its 5-on-5 game into more of a sim without losing the fun and flash of previous seasons, Dynasty mode has been revamped completely, and the AI across the board, from the trade scenarios to how players behave on the court, is far superior to any basketball game EA Canada has ever put out.
  2. Plays a solid game of basketball, but even the flashy new features can't hide the fact that it isn't a huge step up from last year's edition.
  3. Fans of the series will find everything that originally made them fans, while newcomers and casual fans will find a game that should satisfy their basketball needs with its depth and relatively short learning curve.
  4. In terms of visuals and pace, Live runs circles around rival "ESPN," but the gameplay is still a distant second in terms of execution. [Nov 2004, p.142]
  5. 90
    A deep Dynasty Mode and some cool new gameplay additions ensure that you'll be playing the game for months to come, and while we can't say yet if the game will be able to gain ground on its biggest rival, we can say this: NBA Live 2005 is the best EA Sports basketball game ever.
  6. 90
    The slam dunk matchup is a slick game within the game, but let's not forget what got you to the gym in the first place. NBA Live 2005 is an all-pro caliber b-ball game that continues to show improvements. [Dec 2004, p.140]
  7. While some gamers will be turned off by the lack of total simulation, they still may be intrigued by the extras EA threw in for good measure such as the deep dynasty, slam-dunk contest, and three-point shootout.
  8. Freestyle control is the same as it ever was, which is a good thing as it still trumps "ESPN" as the better, more responsive control system.
  9. 90
    There isn't much to complain about in NBA Live 2005. And with the addition of the Slam Dunk Contest, the replay value is huge.
  10. Outside of the problematic issues that hinder the Slam Dunk contest, dynasty mode and hiccups with gameplay, NBA Live 2005 still manages to deliver a decent basketball experience for fans of all kinds.
  11. For this year's game, EA has taken freestyle control to a whole new level. A level so out of control, it's going to change the way you play basketball games...forever. [Oct 2004, p.89]
  12. Live gets the nod from me this season, partly 'cause of its extras, which include a three-point and surprisingly deep slam-dunk contest. [Bryan; Dec 2004, p.158]
  13. A fun basketball title, but this isn't one of those "must-have" years, unless All-Star Weekend is something you absolutely can't live without. EA just didn't bring its "A"-game for '05.
  14. It does such a great job of mimicking the flow and feel (albeit a little faster) of basketball that you really can't go wrong. [Nov 2004, p.140]
  15. Live doesn't have as many online goodies as "ESPN," but create-a-player mode is jaw-droppingly detailed and All-Star weekend is cool. [Dec 2004, p.78]
  16. The gameplay is improved a good deal from last year, giving you more of a realistic feel while maintaining a fast-paced arcadey kind of feel. The fight has been taken right to the competition, and EA might just be catching up in the Basketball department.
  17. 55
    Last year, I was absolutely incensed by "NBA Live 2004." The game that became the gold standard for basketball games back in 1995 had thrown up a brick...Another year, and I find myself looking back at my NBA Live 2004 review a cut and paste text for this year's review. They fixed virtually nothing; it’s practically same game.
  18. A great basketball game with excellent gameplay, and the addition of the all-star weekend is a nice treat.
  19. A last-second shot that splashes down for victory. [Dec 2004, p.118]
  20. The game is nearly identical to last year’s game, with only a few improvements to speak of. The inclusion of the All-Star Weekend is a nice touch, but it doesn’t really provide anything revolutionary to the genre.
  21. Sure, Live has the reputation of being a more fastbreaking, high-scoring game; in many ways it still is, but in trying to take a step with realism, the game lost its arcade appeal.

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