Review of NBA Street
EA Sports BIG those little rascals that brought us one of the best PS2 titles to date, SSX, are back with NBA Street.
Taking their cue from the arcade basketball title NBA Hoopz, EA has thrown out all the stuff that was bad about that title (and there was a LOT to throw out) and worked their own magic to deliver what has to be one of the most enjoyable sports titles ever released.
Everything from the controls and gameplay to the overall execution of the title screams quality and ease of use. Getting into a game is simplicity itself. Select three authentic NBA players from your initial roster; pick one of the two teams that you initially face and then head on down to the court. The overall object is to defeat all of the NBA teams and also win the special challenges that are thrown in after every six NBA games that you play.
Controls have been kept simple and straightforward. You can choose between the pad or the left thumbstick to maneuver the players. The action buttons control the shooting, jumps, ball handling and steals while any of the shoulder buttons give the player a momentary turbo boost. Using some of the action buttons along with the turbo will deliver special moves.
Typical games are played to 21 points with the victor having to win by a margin of 2. An additional trick points system is in place for pumping up your create-a-player and are granted and tabulated for pulling off fancy hand and foot work or pulling off outrageous shots. There is also a Gamebreaker meter that fills up as you rapidly accumulate points. Pull off a shot when this meter is full and the reward is 50,000 trick points!
The game has a large volume of bits and pieces to unlock within the various gameplay modes. As you win matches and accumulate points, additional NBA players become available for you to choose from, special boss characters, additional create-a-player items, b-ball courts, etc. The modes are broken out into City Circuit, which is the story mode that players progress through to unlock NBA players and courts. Hold The Court mode challenges one or two players to beat the winning streak and trick point totals for each court played on. Winning in this mode unlocks additional create-a-player items.
The nice thing is that right from the onset of the game, the create-a-player option is available and gamers can go right in before starting their road to success and make a player to take along for the ride…developing him or her as the games progress. While this is nothing new in a videogame, it’s a nice feature nonetheless.
Getting back to the actual gameplay, NBA Street totally rocks. It has been a long time that a sports title has grabbed the attention of the entire office and had our staff members so thoroughly captivated. The sheer amount of moves that can be pulled off is impressive and squeaking out a come from behind victory is a real white-knuckled event. Everything about the game flows so nicely that it makes playing loads of fun…unfortunately only two people can play at a time though. If ever a title SCREAMED multi-tap this one is it. EA really missed a golden opportunity here by excluding the option for 4 or 6 players.
NBA Street looks friggin’ gorgeous too…no two ways about. From the player models to the highly detailed and animated backgrounds, Street is a fantastic game to look at. The street courts are based on real-life locations and feature little details like crumpled up paper blowing around in the breeze, fully animated 3-D crowds, traffic such as cars and trains, etc.
Being that there are only three players per side, character models feature much more polys and detail compared to NBA Live and other 5 on 5-player basketball titles. Player movement for the most part is accurately depicted and includes some “over the top” moves like jumping 6 feet over the rim to block a shot.
The visuals are also crystal clear with no shimmering or aliasing. Good use of textures is also readily apparent on both the players and the backgrounds. Like I said, the game looks mighty fine…
About the only downside that I could find visually with this title is the transition animations of the players. When changing sides after a shot or occasionally during a fast break the movements of the players are a bit out of sync and look sloppy and jerky. I also noticed that when players unwind with ¾ court long shot the action freezes for a split second to allow the screen to re-adjust and find the basket.
The music in NBA Street sounded suspiciously similar to other EA sports titles to me. While the tunes are certainly different was just something strangely reminiscent about them. At any rate, the music was fine and played out nicely within the structure of the game. The sound effects are sweet. We get treated to everything from trash talking players and announcer (which gets a little redundant after awhile) to finely duplicated b-ball and nothin’ but net sounds. The crowd also plays a big part by cheering when a spectacular shot if pulled off.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'NBA Street' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 18 NBA Street in-game screenshot slideshow
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