The NBA Street series by EA Sports BIG studio was an instant hit, combining the feel of street basketball with big stunts and over-the-top gameplay. While the original NBA Street was good, Vol. 2 added so much to the game that it became a critical and commercial success.
Not long after NBA Street Vol. 2 was released, NFL Street came out on all the consoles. Combining the feel of a pick-up football game with tricks and trash-talk, NFL Street gave arcade football players a new game to enjoy.
Now less than a year later, NFL Street 2 has been released. Does this game pick up the rock and bring it in for a touchdown, or does it fumble and have to scramble for the ball?
Street 2 isn’t a bad looking game, but there is room for improvement. First of all, the game looks almost exactly like NFL Street. There are some tweaks to the interface and menu options, but if those were removed, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two games.
The detail on the different characters is impressive close up. The logos of the NFL teams are often visible on the clothing worn. The faces of the NFL players are fairly distinguishable from their real-life counterparts. However, the further back the characters are from the camera, the less detail there is and the more indistinguishable they become.
Finally, the game suffers from jagged character models. While the box says that it supports 480p, you’d be hard pressed to believe it. Also, when characters get close to each other, it’s difficult to determine who is where.
NFL Street 2 uses the EA Trax system which is commonly found in other EA games. The game features Xzibit in the game, and he is prominently featured in the music as well. Those who don’t care for rap music can thankfully use the custom soundtrack feature on the Xbox version, although the number of tracks you can use is limited.
Some sound effects for the game are as over-the-top as the gameplay. The tackles sound big from the hits given. There is some trash-talking going on during the game, which is expected. However, sometimes the voices used just didn’t seem to match the player on the screen. Also, the same phrases get used over and over again. A little more variety would have been appreciated.
Other special effects are included. A warning sound goes off when the Turbo meter runs low. Running off of a sign causes it to explode with fireworks. Trick music is played while doing them. However, the sound effects are rather sparse overall.
The control is done relatively well for the game. The left analog stick and the D-pad control player movement. Y pitches the ball, B jukes and spins, X hurdles over players or dives for extra yards, and A gives a stiff arm on offense. The right trigger activates turbo while the left trigger does style movies. The right trigger combined with the buttons will do style moves like a style pass, style hurdle, or style spin. On defense, the Y catches or deflects the ball, B switches players, X dives for the player or makes a hard hit, and A does a spin move. Using the right analog stick makes the player do individualized style moves.
The control is tight, but at times the context-sensitive controls can make you do something that you don’t want to. Also, the passing makes you anticipate a little more than what I’d care for, but it’s not bad.
NFL Street 2 features a game of street football. The games are seven-on-seven, with four downs to get a first down. Getting into the end zone scores a touchdown for six points. A one-point conversion is attempted from five yards away, and a two-point conversion is attempted from ten yards away.
During the game you can show off your skill by doing style moves. These style moves show off to the other team how good you are with the ball. However, style moves also increase the chances of fumbling the ball. These style moves increase your style points. Once you reach a certain amount of points, you can call a GameBreaker. GameBreakers cause your players to shake and pretend they are The Incredible Hulk. These will end either when the other team calls for a GameBreaker or when the ball is turned over. A new addition to NFL Street 2 is the GameBreaker 2. If you wait to call the GameBreaker until a second bar is filled up, you can call a GameBreaker 2. When a GameBreaker 2 is called, the play starts automatically, but it usually results in an easy score on offense or a turnover on defense.
Another addition to NFL Street 2 is the ability to do style moves off of walls. These moves range from a style wall dive to a style wall catch to a style wall jump. Also, Hot Spots are posters on the wall that rack up huge style points when style moves are done on them.
There are many modes available in NFL Street 2. The first is the Quick Game, where you choose your two teams and play a regular game. Own the City has you create a player and try to put together at team. As you beat teams, you build up street cred and are able to recruit better players. The NFL Challenge has you take a scrub team up against NFL teams in a tournament. Before you enter the tournament, you go to other fields and complete challenges to increase your team stats. The NFL Gauntlet has you choose an NFL team and then you go up against other NFL teams, fighting your way up a ladder against all of the teams until you reach the top. The Pickup Game has you choose players from a random pool of players until you have seven players and then play against another team made of random players.
Besides Street games, there are Street Events. One of these events is Crush the Carrier where you try to hold the ball for the longest time and increase your skill points. Another one is a 4 on 4 game where you have five seconds to get rid of the ball and the passer can’t run. These Street Events are a nice diversion from the regular games.
The Tutorial this year is a big improvement over the original NFL Street tutorial. In the Tutorial for Street 2, you actually practice the moves instead of being told only how to complete the moves.
The manual for the game is actually more like a reference card. It weighs in at about 11 pages, but the information within it is scant.
When loading NFL Street 2, the game checks for other EA save games on your hard drive. You get bonus points for unlocking extras by having save games for EA games on your hard drive, so save as many EA save games on your hard drive before putting this game into your Xbox.
The game on the field is fun, but if you’ve played the original NFL Street, you have played NFL Street 2. While there are a few new game modes, and the addition of the GameBreaker 2 and wall moves, there just aren’t enough differences between the first and the second.NFL Street 2 has a lot of replay value in that you have several different modes to complete. Also, EA has added Xbox Live play to NFL Street 2. This adds plenty of replayability, and a title like this will stay popular for a while among the football crowd.