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NBA Elite 11 Review: More Street than Pro

Basketball season has just started, with the LA Lakers taking the storm yet again (sorry for all you other basketball fans out there, but LA is ready to take that championship title again).  But not being much of a basketball fan, playing only in the form of virtuality, you could call me a casual gamer in this aspect.

Having been disappointed with most of EA Sports’s offerings so far though, I honestly didn’t have many high hopes for this one.  Madden 11 was an epic fail, NBA 10 wasn’t too good, and FIFA is still in need of some improvements to catch up to other alternatives on the App Store.

But NBA Elite 11, while essentially quite similar to NBA 10, has gotten me a lot more hooked into the game and the atmosphere.  The 3-point shootout mode is quite enjoyable, the controls seem to be spot on, and overall, it’s just a ton of fun to play.

But be warned, it’s far from hardcore.

Likes

Controls: I don’t remember them messing up on the controls for NBA 10, and I don’t think they’ve messed up on these ones either.  Passing and shooting are extremely simple and easy to execute, and even the dumbest of people should be able to figure out how the game works.

3-point shootout: The new game mode is intense and a ton of fun, although an online leaderboard to compete against would be nice.  Still, I’m glad EA added something into NBA Elite 11, and I’m glad that it’s enjoyable; it almost feels like playing a $0.99 casual game on the App Store.

Graphics: I thought I would never say this for a sports game from EA, but I just did.  I thought that EA Mobile did a great job with the character models.  While it feels like the court doesn’t seem to belong and doesn’t fit in well with the character models, overall, EA did a great job.

Dislikes

Animations: This is a problem with most sports games in the App Store, and a giant like EA, even with all its resources, is still having problems after a year of thought to improve on their NBA game.  The animations are still absolutely terrible, and graphical glitches don’t help its cause.  These include the arms moving forward looking as if they were passing forward, only to be passed to the man right next to him.  Everything seems really choppy too, from the shooting motion to running from one side of the court to the other.

Lack of tricks: Some in-between-the-legs tricks would be cool and whatever other tricks there are when it comes to basketball.  Right now, it seems quite simple with either pass or shoot, along with steal and jump when it comes to defense.  Lay ups are rare, and slam dunks are sort of a pain, as you need to get through the defense and get almost right under the basket for your player to dunk it.

NBA Elite 11 is surprisingly one of the EA’s best sports titles yet.  Hopefully this type of fun continues in all of their future titles, and while the animations still leave a lot to desire, the overall game is enjoyable for the casual basketball player.  I’m not sure how it will settle with more hardcore basketball players though, as you can’t really execute tricks, and there’s only three game modes: Season, Playoffs, and 3-point Shootout.

NBA Elite 11 was developed by EA Mobile, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $4.99.




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