Although it isn't the title feature this season, The Life makes a comeback in NBA 09: The Inside
. The mode is basically a story mode, though unlike the MLB
's The Show, The Life isn't that interesting. Although you can follow three different players, each plays out the same way: take a young player and turn him into a star. Although the stories are reasonably interesting, they are incredibly short and can be completed in about an hour. Worse still, there isn't that much game to the mode; some feature only one or two games and even then your time is limited. The rest is made up of rigid objectives that remove most of the fun of playing a sports game.
One good thing about The Life is that you can take your character and use them in other modes, including online. The Create-a-Player Mode isn't incredibly deep, though there's still a lot you can do to him. As you play through the game, you'll earn credits that are used to upgrade player attributes, buy new equipment (which can further enhance your player) and extras like classic jerseys and arenas. Even the player creation system has flaws since you can easily max out a character, quickly making him one of the best in the league.
Franchise, which should be one of the more entertaining modes outside The Life, is a few seasons behind the other two basketball franchises in terms of what you can do. Trades are limited and there's no way to shop players around to other teams and you always get first rights to players when they come up.
Similar to the PSP version, NBA 09 features a number of mini-games, though unlike the PSP games, none are particularly entertaining. The same goes for NBA Replay, which is held back by the same rigid structure as The Life. Finally, there's Online, though I had a hard time finding people to play.