NBA Legend on Facebook: A fine simulator, but where's the hoops?

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Nba Legend
When we heard that the NBA was launching their own Facebook game through Lionside, we were cautiously optimistic. And now we're thankful that we approached NBA Legend this way. While there is not much the game does differently than sports Facebook games like FIFA Superstars and Madden NFL Superstars, it sure emulates them well. However, it's hard to say that Lionside knows what works when these two sources of inspiration haven't exactly won any championships.

Find more of our NBA Legend impressions after the break.
Locker Room
Let's just get one thing out of the way. NBA is unique from its predecessors in that players assume the role of both the coach and one player. You will need to suspend disbelief somewhat to look past that fact, because it makes for a slightly deeper experience. Upon opening the game, players are asked to create an avatar, its position and the team he plays for. All of this can change at any time, but we doubt your loyalty will sway too far. Players can customize their avatar with unique uniform additions that will improve stats. Many of these enhancements cost Lion Bucks, the game's paid currency.

Your home court gym is where you will practice Drills. Much like training in other sports games, these timed events will increase your players' stats and chances of winning in games. Wait too long to reap the rewards and they will disappear. To guide you along, you will receive missions from your avatar's smartphone via text messages. Many of these missions will involve you practicing with NBA pros, which increases Chemistry. This stat is almost a wild card in that it generally increases your chances of victory in games, but it needs to be maintained by practicing with the professionals. In your final preparation for games, you can buy Boosts with coins or Lion Bucks that will temporarily increase a stat in games like block percentage.

Simulating...
The strategy behind NBA Legend is enormous. Choosing just the right players, which are added by practicing with pros or making friends, is essential to winning games later on. In fact, compensating for your team's weaknesses through player switching and choosing the right Boost is a game within itself. But it's too bad that the actual games are nothing more than a simulation. Literally (see above). When a game is chosen, all of which are against real gamers, sounds of rubber soles rubbing on wooden floors and buzzers ringing fill your speakers. Before your excitement can grow, two teams' logos grow larger as points on a counter rack up. And the game is decided. You can't even watch your team play the game much less skip the simulation.

And this is the major issue with not only NBA Legend, but all Facebook sports games. This game has strategy in spades and looks darn good doing it, but there's no action. And when it comes to it, that's what sports are all about: the thrill and rush of playing. And if 3D is possible on Facebook, surely it's possible to create an action-oriented sports game. Frankly, this is most likely the reason sports games aren't doing well on Facebook at the moment. Games like NBA Legend are smooth and gorgeous uses of Flash, but until some action is thrown in, the majority of fans likely aren't going to hop on board.

Click here to play NBA Legend on Facebook>

Have you tried NBA Legend yet? What do you think of sports games on Facebook? What do you think can be changed? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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