'ESPN NBA 2K5' vs. 'NBA Live 2005'

In the contest between rival basketball games ESPN NBA 2K5 and NBA Live 2005, things are as lopsided as a San Antonio Spurs-Chicago Bulls tilt. San Antonio (NBA Live 2005) by 20. Much like the Bulls, Sega's NBA 2K-whatever franchise was in the past a mighty contender, but oh, how the mighty do fall. Once at the top of their field, Sega's basketball series has become as ugly as a Pacers-Pistons matchup (Ben Wallace even graces the cover of this wretched attempt at hardwood happiness). This year's model is pretty much an unplayable mess. Poor graphics, poor gameplay, and basically poor everything else sum up ESPN NBA 2K5. Don't be seduced by the low retail pricing: Put those ducats toward EA Sports' vastly superior NBA LIVE 2005. As the Spurs dominate all competitors with a solid defensive mindset, Tim Duncan's inside presence and MVP abilities, and the gutsy team-first play of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker, so, too, does NBA Live 2005 with strong, realistic graphics, a satisfying Dynasty mode, and the best gameplay on the market. The improved Dynasty mode is the way to go here. General manager, owner, coach, and player are the positions you fill here, and all must work in tandem to bring your hometown the coveted NBA Championship trophy. See how well you can handle the salary cap and re-sign free agents as you lead your squad into the future. While not quite as addictive as EA Sports' ultra-successful Madden franchise, this hoops game will keep you red-eyed and bleary all through the night.

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