NBA Live 18’s career mode, ‘The One’ is very different from Long Shot from Madden and The Journey from FIFA. There’s no voice work for your main character, most story beats appear to happen via ESPN talking heads like Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman (which is awesome), and it’s…pretty obvious EA Sports didn’t invest the same resources in The One as it did in its other career modes.
But NBA Live’s ‘The One’ has something on Madden, FIFA, and NBA 2k18 don’t. History lessons. In ‘The One’ you find yourself partaking in multiple street games throughout the country; and each location comes with a heart-pumping, reverent, silky smooth video package that feels right at home in an ESPN 30-for-30 Documentary. Check it out:
As a result, you actually learn things about the NBA, basketball, and what certain regions of this country are known for, hoops wise. From Harlem to Venice Beach to Seattle Washington, each of these locations comes with a bevy of names you may not of heard of, spoken in a way that makes you want to learn more.
NBA Live 18, in many ways, is like Nate Robinson trying to dunk on Shaq. NBA 2k has dominated the virtual court for long there’s an almost constant question in the mind of many gamers as to why, exactly, NBA Live 18 should exist.
So taking this approach to the premiere mode is a great way to do ‘more with less’ as it were – and validate the game’s existence by coming at things from a unique angle. Instead of investing millions in wonky motion capture, EA invested in production, writing, editing, and narration and gave gamers something they haven’t seen since Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour: Masters’ Edition – prestige.
Beyond that, the career mode, so-far is straight and to the point. Unlike NBA 2k which typically has you playing 80 something games in a single season if you want to get the best stats and see all the cut scenes, NBA Live 18 is streamlining in smart ways. Perhaps due to budget, perhaps to appeal to an audience that is often…overwhelmed by the complexities of NBA 2k18.
Time will tell. But for now, I’m heading back to NBA Live 18’s Career mode. It feels like my education has just begun.