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iPhone  header logo

NBA Elite 11

For: iPhone


Product: NBA Elite 11 | Developer: EA Mobile | Publisher: EA Mobile | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0.1
NBA Elite 11 iPhone, thumbnail 1
Just as a team trains hard in the off-season to beef up its game for a shot at the title in the next cycle, so too is it the job of developers to step up their game from year to year.

NBA Elite 11 must have skipped out on training because it's the laziest, most insignificant annual sports instalment on iPhone and iPod touch yet.

EA Mobile offends with this re-release of last year's NBA Live. High-resolution graphics are meant to charm you into thinking this is a whole new and improved ball game. Instead, nothing has been done to address a shallow defensive game, multiplayer remains absent, and calls for a more involved Season mode have gone unanswered.

Double trouble

It's not that NBA Elite 11 is unplayable - on the contrary, it remains on par with last year's effort. That's the problem. Rather than offering a unique game worth buying, EA Mobile is more or less asking for you to pay for last year's game a second time.

Three - count 'em, three - things differentiate NBA Elite 11 from the 2010 model: the graphics, the addition of a shot indicator, and the introduction of a three-point Shootout mode. Only the shot indicator impacts gameplay, although it's a minor addition that clears up a mechanic that existed in last year's game.

Shots taken with a tap of the offensive red button are now easier thanks to an icon that appears above your player's head.

As you hold the red button, the icon moves in relation to the probable success of the shot. It's a nice improvement since the previous game offered no indication of when to lift your finger from the button to sink the shot.

On the defensive

Visually, NBA Elite 11 is a major step forward, but it's difficult to argue for high-definition graphics and improved animations as a primary reason for purchase. Pretty graphics contribute to the experience, but it doesn't actually make the gameplay any better.

The defensive game is still incredibly shallow. No noticeable changes have been made to defensive plays, which means you're stuck jamming on the blue button in hopes of stealing the ball or getting a rebound when the opposing team misses a shot. Play calling via the clipboard in the upper-right corner is useful, though less effective than when used on offence.

Things are tighter on offence and games are generally more fluid, yet such nuanced improvement could have been released as a free update to NBA Live than as a standalone game.

Where's multiplayer?

Throwing in a three-point Shootout mini-game mode certainly doesn't justify a new instalment, particularly when the demand for multiplayer and more robust single-player modes is strong. There's no reason for local multiplayer to have been left out and its omission is characteristic of EA Mobile's laziness with regards to this year's game.

Aside from graphics, NBA Elite 11 fails to distinguish itself from last year's instalment. The unwillingness to include multiplayer and failure to address the lack of depth in defensive play make it difficult to recommend.

NBA Live may have been a decent start, but NBA Elite 11 fails to develop it.
NBA Elite 11
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 8 November 2010
A lazy effort that adds little value in relation to last year's instalment, NBA Elite 11 offers only superficial improvements that fail to move the ball forward in terms of gameplay
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