I mentioned in my full review of NBA Live 10 that I would be posting some more detailed thoughts on Dynamic Season Mode in the near future. That time has come. I’ll be skipping over some of the basics as I’m sure most people are aware of what Dynamic Season entails at this point. For the uninitiated, you may want to check out the entry for Dynamic Season in the NBA Live Wiki but in a nutshell, Dynamic Season in NBA Live 10 involves playing the games of the 2009/2010 season for any team you desire, using the daily lineups and DNA data. Users may also choose to use the NBA Rewind feature to replay games (over and over again, if you wish) and any games they do not play use real life results and statistics, which are merged with the data the user has produced.
In my review, I stated that I’d like to see this feature return in NBA Live 11 and beyond and I stand by that. I like the concept of being able to play along with the real season and opting for maximum realism with the stats and results coming directly from real life, except for the user’s influence. With the daily lineup and roster updates, hot and cold streaks and real life statistics, you can’t get much closer to mimicking exactly what’s happening in the current NBA season and that’s something a lot of people have asked for in the NBA Live Wishlists over the years. The way real stats and results are merged with the data produced by the user is impressive, as is the game’s ability to make adjustments to the stats produced by shorter quarters. The dynamic commentary which acknowledges real life streaks, injuries and “storylines” is also very cool and adds greatly to the atmosphere. A lot of the bases have been covered in the mode’s debut.
However, the one thing that Dynamic Season cannot replicate is the depth of the Dynasty Mode experience. When playing Dynamic Season, you’re bound to reality and while that’s an interesting change of pace and certainly capable of being fun and challenging, it’s not always as immersive an experience as being able to make your own trades, scout rookies and perform other GM/front office tasks. While discussing Dynamic Season in the Forum, the simple question of “What is the point?” was raised and the truth is, there’s not that much more to it than playing the games of your choice during the 2009/2010 season – basically to alter the outcome as you see fit or replay memorable games – then playing through a potentially different NBA Playoffs at the end of the regular season.
In that respect, Dynamic Season is kind of like playing a string of meaningful exhibition games, especially as you can go back and replay a game if you want to change the result again. That’s not to dismiss it as a useless mode as I believe it has a place in the game but I think it does demonstrate why Dynamic Season could never – and should never – replace Dynasty Mode as NBA Live’s chief single player mode. There’s just so much more you can do with Dynasty Mode that can hold your interest and make every player’s experience unique in its own way. Dynasty Mode and Dynamic Season cater to two different tastes, arguably two separate factions within the target audience, thus they should co-exist rather than stand alone. It’s also why improving Dynasty Mode should be one of the focal points of NBA Live 11 as Dynamic Season has more or less been implemented as it should be on the first try. Much less needs to be done with it compared to Dynasty Mode.
A couple of improvements and additions to Dynamic Season do come to mind though. The first would be an option to clear/revert data, both for individual games and the season as a whole. Suppose you changed the outcome of a game but found the result undesirable. Currently you may replay the game but some users may prefer to simply wipe their influence from the books and proceed with the real life result instead. A reset option would cater to this need. A complete “reset to real life data” option would save users the trouble of going through each day’s games and undoing their changes one by one, if they wanted to revert all the games they’ve played to real NBA data and start over from the current point in the season, using NBA Rewind as necessary.
The ability to start a new, separate Dynamic Season game and run two or more different Dynamic Seasons concurrently, if at all possible, would be just as good as an overall reset switch on the mode. And although you can restrict yourself to using just one team in Dynamic Season if you so choose, the ability to lock yourself to one team if desired may also be a worthwhile addition. Aside from those things, however, there’s not much that desperately needs to be changed or added to Dynamic Season mode. As it is, it serves its purpose as an alternative to Dynasty Mode.
On the whole, NBA Live 10 is a little light on game modes and has some serious Dynasty Mode flaws that bring down what is otherwise a pleasing step forward in the series. Looking ahead to NBA Live 11 and beyond, significant upgrades need to be made to Dynasty Mode, the All-Star Weekend needs to make a return, a full Be a Pro mode (or a single player career mode by any other name) is a long overdue addition in the eyes of many fans and standalone single season and Playoffs modes must be kept to ensure a good variety of available gameplay modes each year. However, NBA Live 10 has a good addition in Dynamic Season, one that in my opinion should definitely be retained for future releases.