Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
Buy On
  1. 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.
  2. It can't quite match the sheer excitement of NHL and the lack of an online mode is unforgivable, but this is still great fun and is well worth checking out.
  3. 70
    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.
  4. 80
    Though it could stand to offer a few more play options, one thing is clear: NBA Live 2005’s got game.
  5. The game isn’t that much different five-on-five style, but the inclusion of online play and cool new game modes puts it over the top. The Dunk Contest in itself is worth the price of admission.
  6. All the elements are here and there are only a few quirks that keep it from greatness.
  7. 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.
  8. Buying the game just for the All Star Weekend probably will lead to disappointment but as a package overall it is a great basketball game.
  9. Live’s game is purely offensive with little regard for defense or fundamentals anything else. And like Carmello, its severely overpriced and offers very little in return.
  10. 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.
  11. But it's tough for us to say that the dunk mode really adds a lot of value to the franchise, and it's also likely to prove too difficult for most casual players to fully grasp anyway.
  12. The controls, while being intuitive, definitely required a little bit of time to adjust to.
  13. Xbox Nation Magazine
    The game's biggest asset is its viscerally thrilling slam dunk contest...The arcadelike nature of dunking makes it an addictive element in an already solid title. [Nov 2004, p.98]
  14. Official Xbox Magazine
    The on-court action is a monstrous, 52-inch vertical leap forward in authenticity and immersion. [Dec 2004, p.88]
  15. 90
    EA did their homework and pulled together a solid basketball game this year. 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.
  16. A great basketball game with excellent gameplay, and the addition of the all-star weekend is a nice treat.
  17. 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.
  18. 88
    The audience, commentary and noises in the game are superb.
  19. I’d rather buy "NBA 2K5" twice for the $40 NBA Live costs. NBA team comparison: 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers – Lots of flash and attention, but in the end it falls short of the title.
  20. Game Informer
    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]
  21. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    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]
  22. In my opinion, Live 2005 is once again the more complete game and while both games are fun, "Live" gives you a great NBA basketball experience without the bugs [of "2K5"].
  23. 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.
  24. Patience and slider adjustment is the key though and depending on your stress threshold, you may actually end up loving it. Be warned, this is not one for those seeking instant gratification.
  25. GamePro
    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]
  26. Play Magazine
    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]
  27. 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.
  28. 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.

Awards & Rankings

#47 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
#57 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. T-Mart
    May 14, 2005
    It is cool, but the shot blocking and steal stuff is ridiculous. it is too easy to block shots or get steals. The All-Star-weekend is awesome.
  2. Simon
    Mar 19, 2005
    This game rules! i played it once at my mates then immediately went out and bought it myself. i never used to like basketball but now i'mThis game rules! i played it once at my mates then immediately went out and bought it myself. i never used to like basketball but now i'm addicted. buy it now! Full Review »
  3. TheButcherAndjelic
    Feb 23, 2005
    Nba 2005 is the greatest simulation of basketball ever to be made on PC, but they say that there are over 10000 dunks on slam dunk contest Nba 2005 is the greatest simulation of basketball ever to be made on PC, but they say that there are over 10000 dunks on slam dunk contest but i can do less than 40 and how the heck do you make the alley-opp. Still its a great game. Full Review »