NBA Live 09 offers new features designed to enhance the controls and on-court action you'll experience while managing your favorite pro basketball team. One of the more distinctive additions is "dynamic DNA," which focuses on real-life behaviors or tendencies of teams and individual players. Statistical data on each NBA game is transferred to NBA Live 09 on a daily basis. If a player goes on a cold streak in real life, his ratings will be adjusted within the game. If a player prefers to shoot from a specific spot on the court, his behavior will be reflected in his digital counterpart.

To take advantage of this dynamic DNA feature, which is optional, you have to be connected online. Other Xbox Live features include five-on-five online play, which supports ten players on ten separate consoles, and custom leagues, which feature drafts, trades, and a single-elimination playoff structure. Users can also record footage of their most impressive slams or buzzer-beaters and upload the highlights to the publisher's EA Sports World service. Those who aren't interested in online play will notice several tweaks in the game's controls on both offense and defense.

Pick and rolls can now be implemented by controlling both the ball handler and screener via on-court cues. "Quick strike ankle breakers" involve faking out defenders by tapping the turbo button and nudging the analog stick, while "lockdown control" improves defense by giving you the option to shut down a leading scorer. NBA Live 09 also continues the role-playing like "Be a Pro" mode first offered in NHL 09. As in the hockey title, you play a single athlete on the court while gradually building his stats and abilities over time. Rounding out the feature list is an interactive practice facility called the NBA Academy and an expanded FIBA tournament with 24 national teams. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide