NBA Video Game Shootout

The best basketball games to play

By Laurence Scott
|  Wednesday, Oct 21, 2009  |  Updated 7:52 PM EDT
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Let the trash talk begin as NBA 2K10 and NBA Live 10 battle for position in the paint.

Laurence Scott

Let the trash talk begin as NBA 2K10 and NBA Live 10 battle for position in the paint.

For online play and the inevitable trash talk that goes along with it, NBA video games offer perhaps the most opportunities to get up in your opponent’s grill. While for a decade, you’ve had two options as your go to guy -- the NBA 2K series from 2K Sports and NBA Live from EA Sports.

We start with the team to beat, NBA 2K10, which last season was the top-selling and top-rated NBA game; mostly it seems because 2K Sports has tapped into the signature styles of individual NBA stars while consistently delivering fluid and fast-paced action. Though, in an age of hyper-branding, 2K10 is still over the top with its in-game sponsorships.

Coming off the bench is NBA Live 10 with its cover star Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, providing a perfect parallel to 2K10 and its cover athlete Kobe Bryant. All the potential is there for a championship team, but EA needed to make a few tweaks to the roster so they recruited away NBA 2K’s lead designer to deliver a truer simulation -- down to pick and roll controls and late game logic. They actually enlisted real NBA scouts to fine-tune the play sets.

Both games have reality down to the league’s nuances -- from LeBron’s powder shows to Agent Zero’s superstitions at the free throw line -- and for the most part, it’s all a good show. As for which is really better than the other, just like choosing your favorite player, it’s basically a matter of taste. For a look at these games in action, check out the embedded video in the player above.

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