Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 100
    A basketball technician’s dream. Games against the CPU realistically mimic a real game, while scrimmages against friends received a boost of energy thanks to sped-up gameplay and better shot blocking. ESPN NBA Basketball 2K4 retains the top slot by just a hair.
  2. Features a fantastic franchise mode and a completely different 24/7 mode, making this game the two best basketball games available in one neat package.
  3. Minor gripes aside, Visual Concepts has elevanted its game to an untouchable level. "Live" really has nothing on it. [Nov 2003, p.170]
  4. 92
    Not only is the gameplay tight, but the addition of 24/7 mode adds a whole new level to the term "must buy"... Overall the best playing basketball game this season.
  5. When you face a player, it's almost like a fighting game: who will execute the proper move first? [Nov 2003, p.104]
  6. In the end, EA's got the player control, but Sega's got the online play and more realism, so that may be the difference-maker for you. [Dec 2003, p.153]
  7. Until the developers master the riddle of team A.I. (players here don't always respond properly in certain situations), work remains undone. Even so, this year's model is great.
  8. A unique gameplay mode called 24/7... is so addictive, it's likely that many players will spend more time in 24/7 than playing standard games. If you are planning on buying only one basketball game this year, ESPN NBA Basketball is the one to get.
  9. Every so often a rare title comes along that is so exceptional, so impressive that it’s nearly impossible to find a flaw. ESPN NBA Basketball is one of those games. For b-ball fans there is simply no other game with this level of depth, and for non-basketball fans it’s an excellent opportunity to learn the game, become acquainted with the players and experience the most realistic simulation of the NBA experience.

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