NFL StreetElectronic Arts(PS2, XBox, Gamecube)
The crowd is quiet as the Dolphins prepare to convert a fourth down play. With 25 yards to go the chances of a successful conversion seem dim. Jay Feidler takes the snap, and he hands the ball off to Ricky Williams who makes a defender miss at the line of scrimmage, runs over a linebacker, jumps over another, annihilates a wooden crate, and is finally hit hard by the opposing safety.
The force of the hit sends Williams crashing into a cement wall near the sidelines, but he regains his balance and continues trotting down the field taunting and dancing the rest of the way into the endzone.
Sounds impossible, eh? Scenes like this one are all too common in EA Sports’ latest football title NFL Street. This seven-on-seven action packed football extravanganza epitomizes the term “controlled chaos.” Unlike its counterpart, Madden 2004 (also created by EA sports), NFL Street moves away from the popular “simulation” style football, instead priding itself on the unrealistic arcade genre of the sport.
Arcade football was once made popular by the release of the NFL Blitz series from Akklaim, but make no mistake, NFL Street is much more then just a Blitz clone — Street is Blitz on steroids.
The goal of NFL Street is to be the first team to reach 36 points. A touchdown is worth six, and because kickers aren’t tough enough for this game, the ball is placed at the five yard line where the offensive team can attempt a conversion.
A run is worth one point while a pass is worth two. Knowing when to go for two becomes a crucial strategy deeper in the game.
What separates this game from the rest is that winning and losing are no longer based on wether you score or not, it becomes abou how pretty you looked doing it.
For those who are familiar with the Street franchise it will become obvious that the point system is translated from NBA Street to NFL Street. When a team fills their “style bar” a “gamebreaker” is earned … and when the opponent has the “gamebreaker,” you better move out of the way.
NFL Street is best in its multiplayer mode. A player may either choose the 7 players from his or her favorite NFL team or pick a unique squad from a list of randomly generated superstars, both current and past.
The fast paced gameplay and style of play have the opponents at each others throats from start to finish.
Let’s not forget, with NFL Street taunting is not only encouraged but rewarded.
Like any game Street has its flaws especially when it comes to the single player mode. This mode the player to start with a group of seven and play his or her way to Street stardom. This is achieved by completing different challenges and tasks against other NFL teams. In theory, it sounds fun, and for a while it is. However the mode can seem lengthy and repetitive.
As far as the gameplay, the passing game is extremely diffucult to execute and playing defense is almost non-existent. Forget what you think you know about football, NFL Street doesn’t play by the rules. You’ve heard the term defense wins championships, but in this game its all about the O, baby.
Graphically the game is a gem, the character models are slightly exxagerrated but are otherwise dead ringers of their NFL counterparts. The unique enviroments are detailed and extremely well designed, which adds flavor to each game.
In the overpopulated gerne of football games, only the best will prevail. One thing that remains a constant is EA sports as the king of the sports genre. And NFL Street solidifies the company’s position at the top; because after all, it is in the game.
RATING: 8.5 out of 10