|NBA Live 2004 continues EA SPORTS' basketball series with a renewed emphasis on control within the paint and an updated graphic engine. Continuing the Freestyle Control introduced in NBA Live 2003, players can modify moves, dunks, passes, and more in real-time while driving toward the basket. Team sets like the pick-and-roll or triangle can be switched at the press of a button, and the defense has been addressed to make it as crucial a part of the game as the offense. New computer AI, animations, and rebounding controls are designed to help balance out the gameplay on both sides of the court. As in previous installments, players will be able to choose from 30 NBA teams, albeit with new 3D player models and more detailed stadiums complete with championship banners, retired jerseys, and sideline activity.
Marv Albert handles the play-by-play announcing for this version, while Mike Fratello provides the color commentary and analysis. An enhanced Dynasty Mode lets players take inexperienced college athletes and turn them into NBA superstars over consecutive seasons. Each facet of the in-game action, from the frequency of turnovers to a team's blocking ability, can be tweaked using a series of AI sliders that help customize the experience according to a player's preferences. Players can also take the action online for one-on-one competition against a friend, with user statistics and worldwide rankings saved for posterity. NBA Live 2004 also features the "EA SPORTS Bio" found in the rest of the company's 2004 sports lineup, which tracks milestones and how long the game is played so various bonuses can be unlocked.