The NBA is officially BACK — well, at least when it comes to virtual gameplay. We still have a few weeks before the NBA preseason tips off. NBA 2K19 and NBA Live 19 were both released recently, and I have already spent a decent amount of time playing both games to give you more genuine feedback on how both franchises did this year, especially when it comes to comparing the graphics of a handful of Dallas Mavericks players. But before we get into that, I’ll give you my brief overall reviews for both games.
NBA Live 19 Review
Pros — NBA Live has come a long way with this year’s edition, in my opinion, especially when it comes to gameplay and crowd atmosphere. It just has a very smooth feel to it when you playing. The courts looks good, the crowds are realistic, and from a distance, you really can’t tell it apart from 2K that much. Oh yeah, and having an ESPN broadcast is pretty cool, too. They use the same format for halftime and postgame that’s used on SportsCenter. To give you a visual of what I’m talking about, here is a postgame stats screenshot and a brief clip of Luka Doncic driving to the basket for an “and-1” layup.
Cons — Although this has been the most enjoyable version of NBA Live that I’ve seen in a long time, there’s still some areas that need to be cleaned up. Even though the in-game play looks great, when you zoom in on the players, there’s a lot of flaws in their graphics (you’ll see what I mean below). And then, for guys like Jalen Brunson, Kostas Antetokounmpo and Ray Spaulding, there’s not even a face-scan for them, meaning that they’re generically made up and look nothing like the real thing. All things considered, I wouldn’t give up on NBA Live just yet. A few tweaks here and there, and they’ll be on to something.
NBA 2K19 Review
Pros — At this point, it seems like 2K will always be superior when it comes to detailed graphics. They obviously have the technology and the bandwidth to make pretty much every player look as authentic as possible. Unsurprisingly, the gameplay is as good and fluid as ever.
The MyCareer mode (where you create your own player and attempt to go from overseas, to the G-League and eventually to the NBA) has a really fun and well thought out storyline as usual. Another thing I like about this year’s game, is that it now features G-League teams. Have at it, Texas Legends fans!
Cons — Really, the only thing I can consider a negative is that 2K19 didn’t really change much from a gameplay perspective. Given, they didn’t really need to. One other thing I’ve noticed (and this may just be a personal issue) is that the CPU is crazy hard to play against. Anything on “All-Star” level or higher and your opponent just might shoot 70-percent for the entire game.
Without further ado, here are some screenshots of some of the Mavs players from both games:
Dennis Smith Jr. — advantage, 2K19
Maybe I could have taken a better screenshot of Smith Jr. in NBA Live 19 where his mouth wasn't doing something weird, but regardless, 2K19 did a better job with body style and facial features here.
Luka Doncic, advantage 2K19
This one is actually closer than I expected it to be, but Doncic’s hair and detailed tiger tattoo on his left arm in 2K19 gets the win. If you squint really hard, you can a little bit of what might be a tattoo under Doncic’s arm sleeve in Live 19, but my guess is that the sleeve is there for a reason.
Wesley Matthews, advantage Live 19
Anyone who plays 2K consistently knows that Wes Matthews’ look has been the exact same since about 2K16. For whatever reasons, 2K just doesn't seem interested in giving Wes one of his more realistic hairstyles. NBA Live, however, nailed this one.
Harrison Barnes, SUPER advantage 2K19
<Insert Michael Scott “Oh God, Please No!” gif>
I know Barnes is a pretty big 2K supporter, but man, Live 19 did not have to do my guy like that. The reaction on Barnes’ face in the 2K19 screenshot says it all.
DeAndre Jordan, advantage 2K19
Detailed facial features FTW again.
Dirk Nowitzki, advantage 2K19
If we’re being honest, all video games have failed over the years to truly capture Dirk. However, 2K19 Dirk actually looks reasonable, while Live 19 Dirk’s hair is weird and looks like he hasn’t slept in weeks.