Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Buy On
  1. NBA Live 09's gameplay has again seen some improvement, but there are still a few rough edges.
  2. NBA Live 09’s gameplay improvements make this the best game in the series. If more care would have been taken to the new modes, it might have unseated the 2K franchise.
  3. A solid step up for the franchise, adding a cool new online community element and the great NBA Live 365 element is a pretty revolutionary element not just for the franchise, but for the sports genre as a whole. Unfortunately, there are some shortcomings that hurt the overall experience, like a barebones Be A Pro mode and a few on-court technical issues.
  4. For me, I chose NBA Live 09. Not only has EA brought legs back to this franchise since struggling its first two years out on next generation platforms, but they have delivered a very strong outing last year and now this year as well.
  5. If you're looking for just one NBA title to satisfy your sports itch this year, I'd honestly have to suggest NBA 2K9 over NBA Live '09 this time out. While the latter has the better presentation and better roster update system, 2K9 was just more fun to play.
  6. 75
    Live 09's made significant strides, particularly in terms of innovation, but like the Houston Rockets exiting in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, it's the same old story here. NBA 2K9 continues to be the dominant basketball title, hands down.
  7. 85
    The inclusion of Dynamic DNA and NBA Live 365 are two of the most important innovations in sports gaming this year. Combined with all of the other enhancements EA Canada has provided and you are looking at the most feature-rich basketball title to come along in some time.
  8. If pro hoops was a one-man video game gang this year, we’d be pretty happy with Live. Luckily for us, though, competition is king and Live falls a couple of free throws short of the superior "NBA 2K9."
  9. NBA Live 09 for Xbox 360 and PS3 offers a similar experience with respect to its previous version, but with a series of improvements and features, making it more competitive. It's getting better year by year, however, still stands second to its big rival NBA 2K9. Though it´s not the best among the basketball games, yet a nice alternative with great repertoire in terms of dazzling options choices in videogaming.
  10. As for the heads up matchup with the 2K Sports series, NBA Live sinks the buzzer beater as time expires to steal the win this season. Live’s play mechanics and in-depth gameplay features surpass the competition in the heated battle for hoops supremacy in ’09. Without much debate Live ‘09 delivers the best all around NBA game this year.
  11. NBA Live 09 is not a bad game. In fact, it's a relatively good game, if a bit incomplete.
  12. 80
    The new features aren't exactly earth shattering for this year's installment, but the game is fun to play and a noticeable improvement over "NBA Live 08."
  13. NBA Live 09 is the real deal when it comes to a great video game basketball experience. There isn’t a new mode that takes the game over the top, or a new feature that makes it best out there, but it is the combination of a vision and the hard work to get through some rough years to get to this game which is by far the best NBA Live game I have played in a long, long time.
  14. Like the New Orleans Hornets of the videogame world. It performs surprisingly well this season, and with a little more experience next year, it could be a title contender. [Nov 2008, p.70]
  15. The new season of the NBA has started, and EA Sports offers us a great way of having the best basketball of the world in our homes. After several years of improving, NBA Live 09 achieves what we wanted to see in a next-gen basketball game. Great visuals, good gameplay (arcade-driven) and a lot of game modes, including the NBA Live 365, which updates constantly in the game.
  16. Live 09 is leaps-and-bounds above its HD-era predecessors. With that said, it’s hard to imagine anyone but the sturdiest of pro-level B-ball critic not being able to find a clinical dosage of fun on the silvery surface of NBA Live 09’s disc.
  17. Big improvement over previous games and the new features add masses of depth. This offers basketball fans the best way of following and playing the game. [Issue#37, p.85]
  18. It’s hard to understand what happened this year. While the developers have been able to successfully incorporate so many new features into Madden 09 and NHL 09, the same winning recipe can’t be found on NBA Live 09. Nonetheless, fans of the franchise will find fit to their shoe on what we can label as a good NBA Live game but not the best we’ve seen.
  19. Unlike NBA 2K9, you don't need to read the game booklet to perform sweet looking ankle breakers or run the reliable pick and roll, but there's more exciting features here than just playing exhibition.
  20. Regardless of some of the stumbles in NBA Live 09, this year’s game is definitely worth a purchase for the first time in years.
  21. As far as NBA Live 09 on the Xbox 360 is concerned it continues to fall short of being considered an elite basketball game.
  22. Some elements seem to finally be "complete" for the Live series, but for everything the game does right, four things are in obvious need of more work. On paper Live 09 sounds great; in execution it's the same story as usual.
  23. The game builds on the solid fundamentals of NBA Live 08, while making the game play more like an NBA broadcast.
  24. NBA Live 09 is a massive step forward for the franchise, and, in some ways, for sports games in general. It looks better than 2K’s excellent hoops game, and plays just as well, too. The massive gap in quality between the Live and 2K series has finally shrunken to the point where either option will give you a solid basketball experience.
  25. Live 09 is fun to play with friends. But some annoying animations and controls stop if from reaching its potential. Maybe next year?
  26. 360 Gamer Magazine UK
    Things aren’t getting any simpler in EA’s sporting conquest, and new features tapping into resources we’d never dreamed of leave us dribbling. NBA 365 and the Dynamic DNA system are two such additions guaranteed to give you more basket for your buck and you’ll be hard pressed to find a slicker, more accurate representation of the sport anywhere.
  27. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    Despite being a fantastic game, we can't say we are totally satisfied with NBA Live 09. We are sure that the EA team has the talent to make a better game and taking the series to a really groundbreaking level, as they show with the NBA Live 365 functionality. [Oct 2008]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. TonyAube
    Oct 17, 2008
    I was a longtime 2k fan until this year. For the first time since the inception of the 2k series, I've returned 2k9 for Live 09. II was a longtime 2k fan until this year. For the first time since the inception of the 2k series, I've returned 2k9 for Live 09. I can't believe it, but I actually prefer it and am flat out just having more fun playing it. 2k9 has a lot of depth as diehards know, but the gameplay is too bogged down with various things I won't get into depth here about, since this is a Live review. I've only played about 5 or 6 games but I prefer the defense in live and feel their lockon is easier to apply and you don't get penalized as harshly for not having it locked in - 2k9 makes Derek Fisher into Tiny Archibald if you aren't locked on. Live is just better balanced and provides a more free flowing and realistic (IMHO) flow to the game. The gameplay feels like 2k used to feel (2k6 and 2k7) in the way driving and kicking is satisfying. But the difference I'm finding is that unlike those older options, it's not a dunkfest like b-ball games of a couple of years ago used to be. I find the presentation to be much better in live and it's a breath of fresh air to leave the Harlan/Kellogg/Miller team and upgrading to Marv Albert and Steve Kerr (he must've had some spare time in the offseason?). NBA Live 365 is an awesome addition and I love the detail in the player tendencies effecting gameplay the way it does. The graphics and animations aren't to the level of 2k which does animations better than in any sports game...that went to a whole new level in 2k9 where the players feel more like the real-life counterparts moreso than live. Because of that and the little nitpicking things I won't go into bc of space I've taken off a point and rounded up from a super solid 8/soft 9....I can't believe I'm saying it but 'hats off to EA'. Full Review »
  2. NBAOz
    Oct 9, 2008
    Improved slightly over last years NBA Live 08, but still has a long way to go if it ever wants to be in the same league as NBA 2k series.Improved slightly over last years NBA Live 08, but still has a long way to go if it ever wants to be in the same league as NBA 2k series. Player likenesses are horrendous, numerous bugs such as players going straight through other players, players get stuck in animations sequences which is annoying, the game just doesn't feel as responsive as NBA 2k9 and it looks like the game is being played in a cave as the lighting is just too dark... I noticed that NBA Live now has realistic jersey/short cloth animation which is good to see, however the 2k series has had this for 3 iterations now. Overall this game is above average and NBA 2k9 takes the crown yet again this year for best hoops simulation. Full Review »
  3. RogerM.
    Oct 6, 2008
    Compared to retail (full) version of 2K9, the graphics IMO are sub par. The player models have an awkard build and the faces are off 95% of Compared to retail (full) version of 2K9, the graphics IMO are sub par. The player models have an awkard build and the faces are off 95% of the time? i.e: Dirk Nowitzki looks like a Norse comic book character, Kobe and other players, well lets just say, "who is that!?" Presentation and commentary leave 2K9 standing still. 2K9 re-used almost all of Kenny Smiths commentary with the "new guy" repeating the same script. Controls/ gameplay are fluid, although it can get "glitchy" at times, ball physics get too speedy, i.e: shooting a buzzer beater can cause the ball to zip up and over to the hoop not to mention the super fast & funny looking release. Or getting fouled can cause you to rise awkardly high in the air along with your opponent. (bleh). If you've never played the 2K series all of what i just stated is irrelevant to you. In other words, You WILL like this game. Good stuff. Full Review »