EA proved with Madden that it could tailor a sports game to take advantage of the strengths of the Wii. Unfortunately, it has proved the exact opposite with NBA Live 08. It's ugly, the controls are terrible, and the game is nearly unplayable.
Like Madden, NBA Live offers "family style" controls that require only the remote, as well as "advanced play" controls that utilize both the remote and Nunchuk. Both styles are equally bad. If you select family style, the game controls all of your players' movement. All you do on offense is press A or the D pad to pass to whomever is highlighted, then flick the remote sideways for a layup or dunk, or flick it up and then down to take a jump shot. On defense, you move the Wii Remote up and/or down to block and rebound. (We don't understand it either, but that's what the manual says.) You can also move the remote left or right to steal, and press B to pressure the ball. With the advanced controls you still do all of the remote-waving nonsense, but now you have (some) control over where your players go on both offense and defense.
No matter what control scheme you pick, you lose.
However, it doesn't really matter what control style you pick because the gameplay is a complete wreck. Players slide all over the court, completely disappear and reappear, don't take shots when you want them to, and can't play a lick of defense. It gets worse. Anyone within about eight feet of the hoop can go from standing still with his back to the basket to a flying dunk or layup with a flick of the remote. Steals are so frequent that you can't even tell what's going on sometimes because the camera is changing back and forth so quickly. Seemingly every time you go to pass the ball, the icon switches and the ball goes to someone else--often to someone who's a foot away. Yeah, that's a great time for a bounce pass. There's more, though. You can make layups from behind the three-point line, and players can pass right through each other. Furthermore, it's pointless to rotate the Nunchuk for different dribble moves, and it doesn't seem to matter when you release your shot--it's probably going in.
But the biggest issue--the erratic motion-sensing--is the icing on the cake. You'll spend most of your time flicking the controller around like an insane person and hoping against hope that something will happen because the Wii recognizes only about half of your controller input. Every once in a while the game will shock you and actually be playable for 30 seconds here and there, but it's not much better than when you were a kid and you used to stand at an arcade machine and pretend you were playing because you didn't have a quarter to actually play the game. You're little more than a spectator to this train wreck.
Hopefully you don't want any sort of dynasty mode because the closest thing Live 08 on the Wii has is a single-season option. You can trade players, but that's about it. There are no contracts to sign, no players to scout, and no practices to schedule. Admittedly, some of that isn't really missed, but the dynasty mode appears in every other iteration of the game, so its omission is curious. There's not even a create-a-player option. There is a superstar challenge mode where you try to recreate great player performances from the likes of Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, and Gilbert Arenas. As a concept it's fine, but it's rendered worthless by the lousy gameplay. Live 08 is also one of the first Wii games to support online play. Considering the omission of dynasty mode, it's not surprising that there is no online league option, and you can play only ranked and unranked games. But the online portion of the game works as advertised--too bad that the rest of the game doesn't.