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NFL Street Package Art
†GENRE
††Extreme-Sports
†DEVELOPER
††EA Big
†PUBLISHER
††Electronic Arts
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-4
†CONNECTIVITY
††no
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NFL Street

EA Big has taken the formula that Midway pioneered in the arcade sports world and brought it into the new millennium. By adding ďstreet credĒ via cool soundtracks, style to spare and more to their line of snowboarding, basketball and now football, EA Big has created a line up of titles that are selling like toilet paper in communist Russia!

NFL Street is the latest in EAís Big line and it is decidedly the best of the bunch. This game is deep and fun... a multiplayer orgy of fun with loads of character and style.

Would I trade my Madden in for NFL Street? Not on your motherís life. Although both games are about football they are totally different from each other. Madden is still the demi-god that to which I make my virgin sacrifices. Madden is so deep and challenging that itís incredibly fun. Meanwhile, NFL Street has plenty of play modes to deepen its fast paced, easy to jump into experience. So what Iím trying to say is that there is more than enough room on any gamerís shelf for both of EAís tremendous spins on the hype machine that is the NFL.

visuals

I have to first note that the loading screens are stunning. Nope, itís not what I usually mean by stunning. These screens look like graffiti art pieces but they really are gorgeous stills. I applaud EA for having such gorgeous art work that differs from the norm of loading screens in there. Itís a pleasant change of pace.

As for menus, unlike the myriad screens in Madden, this title has an effective, ergonomic menu structure that still delivers the goods in terms of street style. Thereís nothing quite like seeing Barry Sanders on the opening screen of any football game is there?

As for the in-game graphics, the players are modeled in an over-the-top fashion to accentuate different body types. The animations are really fluid and well executed as well. Also, the movement on the field is what youíd expect from an arcade experience in that it is fast and furious!

If I have one complaint itís that the ball can sometimes become lost in a mess of players after a few deflections and itís difficult to pick it up. I think EA should have highlighted the ball somehow.

In terms of visual accents, I created my entire roller hockey team (the RWO Rockets) and I had no problem making the exact characters on my team. Itís a ton of fun to see them out there so well represented. Also, when you catch a gamebreaker the screen will turn a shade of dark blue and the movements of the players will have a slight motion blur to them. This looks really cool and definitely beats the stale ďon fireĒ look.

audio

Trash talkiní! Everywhere! And for a street game, EA Big made all the right choices on the smack delivery out on the field. I find myself laughing at some of the wicked lines that come out of the players' mouths.

As for a soundtrack, thereís a solid variety of tuneage for the menu screens and the X-Ecutioners provide a solid in game soundtrack that thankfully doesnít feature any voice work. This is a very smart move by EA Big as any music with vocals wouldíve drowned out the smack talkiní on the field. Also, the fast-paced GameBreaker sound track really gets you in the mood.

Every hit, pass, dish, deke, and dive is accented with an over-the-top sound effect. An overall excellent audio experience.

gameplay

I have one complaint right from the beginning. The switch of controlling players is done all wrong. First and foremost, whether youíre on D or O, the A button in any sports game always controls the player switch. Here you have to use the X button to switch to another player on your team and in the heat of battle that just doesnít work. Also, if the quarterback on either side of the ball dishes out, the control should automatically go to your center back or your wide receiver. Instead, the computer controls the player and you have to tap X in order to get control of the targeted player. This makes no sense because the camera zooms right into the action of the one on one play down the field and therefore the user has no option but to control that player anyway. Also, if itís an arcade game, the user wants control and EA Bigís assumption that the player would want the AI to adjust for the catch or deflection is too much of a Madden thought process. What I donít like is the disjointed feeling from the release of the QB to his receiver or your attempt to stop a play as a CB. It just doesnít feel right and affects the play for me.

As for the control scheme, itís laid out quite well (with the exception of the X player switch mapping). Y button leads to laterals and in this game you can lateral like a rugby team if you want. Also, the "style" button is way easier to get into than NBA Street. To style a pass, just press the L button. To perform certain taunts while running, just hold L and an alternate button. Plus, all of the jukes, spins, and such are in a good spot.

I also like the mash option whereby when you lock horns with a defensive player you have to smash the A button to try and overpower him.

As for game play, thereís no clock other than a play clock. You get four downs and subsequent first downs on a short field. The play books for both defense and offense are simple but not limited in any way. There is a ton of flexibility in your play calling and you can have a blast in the trick play section of offense as well. Also, as you progress in the game you unlock other plays in your playbook. This is an excellent idea. Another great idea is no kickers and their perfect hair dos. You have to earn an extra point by running the convert into the endzone or pass it in for two points. Nice!

There are ladder, challenge, and quick play modes. All of these are better served if you create a team and build up their attribute points. The game takes on an RPG element in that way. As for on the field action: it is fast! Youíll find action happening around you at a break neck pace, although never so much that you can't recognize a defensive set and audible out of your existing call.

For non-football fans out there, youíll have a lot of fun getting a grasp of the game with NFL Street. This game doesnít dumb down the sport, it just uses the K.I.S.S. rule and hammers you with the fundamentals of excellent play calling with a short bench. And the players you choose will have to play both offense and Defense which is a very cool twist.

This game is fun first and football second as youíll be rewarded for styling during a play or hot dogging when youíre streaking down the field wide open. As you style you build up gamebreaker points that when activated lead to an almost automatic score on offense and a guaranteed turnover on D. But think of saving that Gamebreaker because you may need it to negate the opposing AIís own gamebreaker attempt. Also, be warned that styling and hot dogging will, just like in real life, lead to trouble in the way of a fumble.

There are a lot of gameplay modes to work through, an excellent amount of pick up and play control with a lot of depth to master, and an incredibly fun experience waiting for you in multiplayer mode. I can only imagine how fun this game would be with online play. Damn you Nintendo!

multiplayer

WOW! This game is a boatload of fun. Last night I had a couple of buddies over and we first took turns playing offense then defense. Then I broke out the wavebirds and the over the top, through the stone wall hits started flying like mad. My living room was jumping withÖ ďooooohhhh! Did you see that?! And, oh, fumble! I got it!! Damn! Pancaked!Ē This game is a piss to play with friend whether they are sports fans or not.

overall

Thank God for EA. I think all of the best titles for the GameCube this past year have been from EA Games, EA Sports and now EA Big has gotten into the act by perfecting the street formula.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, NFL street is definitely a must own for those of you Dojo Disciples who like to entertain. The multiplayer modes alone are worth it. Add to that a high level of game mode depth, gameplay excellence, and stunning style and youíve got one fantastic game. NFL Street is far better than NBA Street in my opinion. So go score a touchdown and check out EAís latest top shelf title.

final score 9.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
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"Lost like tears in rain"


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