NFL Street - Reviewed on Xbox

NFL Street

NFL Street – Reviewed on Xbox

American football - with its set plays and tactical approach has always been perfect for games machines. Since back in the day games developers have been on the case perfecting the sport for consoles with the two major players being Madden NFL & Sega's newly named ESPN NFL Football. Now EA's Madden team at Tiburon take the game “back to the street” for a more arcade style 7 man-a-side adrenalin fuelled experience. NFL Street is very much in-line with EA's other games in its “Street” series and features many similar elements to NBA Street .

EA's NBA Street franchise was a massive success so who can blame them for trying to branch the Street name out into other sports. Although when playing NFL Street you get the feeling that EA have got a better grasp OF THE “STREET” element of the game than they do of the doctored rules that they have added. Still, on the whole, NFL Street can be fun to play.

Game - NFL Street – Reviewed on Xbox

Games in NFL Street don't take place in football arenas, instead the settings are various urban locations scattered throughout the US . As such, EA Tiburon has taken some liberties with the basic rules of football to compensate. Downs are measured by down markers spread 10 yards apart across the playing field e.g. if you run for a first down but also gain an extra two yards past the down marker, you get that extra yardage added onto the next set, so you'll start at 1st and 8, rather than 1st and 10. Extra point conversions after touchdowns are also handled differently, because there is no kicking game in NFL Street . You start a few yards out from the end zone, and by running the ball in, you can gain one point, or by passing it in, you'll get a two-point conversion. Because there is no time clock, the winner of the game is based on a set winning score determined at the beginning of the game, so, depending on what you set the winning total to be, you'll have to strategically pick your point conversions throughout the game to come out on top of your opponent. In a strange way this does affect your gameplay strategy and can add more tactics & also make for closer scoring.

NFL Street 's gameplay is truly arcade, relying mainly on fast-paced action and constant turnovers, with no sign of penalty kicks or any players ever picking up injuries. Whether you're running or passing the ball, much of your success weighs on your ability to master the player moves. Offensive players can spin, jump, juke or power their way past defenders, as well as pass the ball out to other teammates.

The pitch function is the most useful move when you're on the offensive, pitching will help you keep a play going for as long as is necessary to get to the end zone. When on defense, you can rip the ball away from your opponent, catch or deflect passes & do diving tackles; there is also a turbo button that gives your controlled player a serious burst of speed to power forward. All of these moves are kind of standard to any football game, but they're have all been given the Street flavor - tackles are much more crunching than the real thing, jukes and fake-outs are more funky, and turnovers happen all the time. However, two elements more than anything else in the game set NFL Street apart from your average football game: style moves and gamebreakers.

In NBA Street your home boys get to express themselves by performing some ultrastylish dunking maneuvers. In NFL Street this quality feature has been replicated with style moves. When in possession of the ball you press the style button and your player “get's his thang on” juggling the ball from hand to hand while running he taunts the opponent and everything gets funky. Calling names and dishing out the insults as he goes. When your team fills up the gamebreaker meter, pressing a button will set off the gamebreaker, this makes your team pretty much unstoppable for a full possession. Gamebreakers can be used while defending or attacking and are equally effective on either side of the ball.

On offense, it becomes near impossible for the other team to stop you from scoring; on defense, your team will become incredibly strong and able to force a turnover on almost all plays. Gamebreakers are an interesting wild card, and managing them adds a bit more strategy to the game.

The Sound & graphics are what make this game. The football is not bad, but cutting rules out of the standard game has kind of limited the gameplay. Playing in a back street with your friends is not so much about the rules, it's about the “vibe” & having fun & this is where NFL Street excels. Borrowing heavily from the ultra vivid hip-hop culture NFL Street is “BAD”. Fat tunes all the way, excellent vocal taunts and expressions mixed with realistic street ambience paint a decent picture of Street life. Graphically the venues are believable, the players individual and likable. Dusty allies to sandy beaches are all rendered with skill. Each player has his victory dance –like in fighting games - When it's cold you can see your players breathe and the fast-paced action is easy to understand and nice and clear. Overall if you like arcade sport and have a soft spot for street culture then you will love this game. If you are looking for the ultimate American football sim then there is more on offer from other titles.

8 out of 10


Click Here to view NFL Street Screenshots

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