Imagine buying a beautiful new house, but when the day came to move in, all that was there were a solid foundation and a roof. That's NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360. To EA's credit, this is a completely different experience from the current-generation versions, rebuilt from the ground up in every conceivable way. One complaint you certainly cannot level against the game's creators is that they're charging you $60 for a prettier version of the current-gen NBA Live 06 released just a few months ago.
However, Live's 360 arena clearly isn't finished. Gone from this version are the dynasty mode, All-Star Weekend events, Freestyle Superstar moves, controllable instant replays, and everything else not called "play now" or "season mode."
Despite this, what's here is incredibly fun, and though perhaps some of your fun is influenced by a graphics-induced haze, you probably won't care. This is an absolutely stunning videogame whose incredible detail (literally down to the last drop of sweat) would never be confused for an Xbox or PS2 offering - an HDTV and a copy of this game are all you need to become the envy of your friends.
Unfortunately, that envy may turn into anger when you start exploiting Live's major gameplay flaw at your buddies' expense. As with previous years, Live 06 features the deep yet simple and intuitive freestyle control system, whereby you can perform dribble moves with the right analog stick.
On 360, though, where the game speed has been considerably lowered from current-gen versions for a more realistic pace, pressing up on the right stick while moving forward initiates a spin-and-turbo-forward move, letting you blow by your defender and get an open jumper or clear path to the basket 99 times out of 100. This is a huge hole in the game, plain and simple.
As a result, it's hard to recommend NBA Live 06 for purchase just yet. It's almost certain to be a must-buy monster in future years when the exploit is fixed and the feature set is restored, but you'll have to decide if a drop-dead gorgeous game with only a season mode is worth your 60 bones in the meantime.