NBA Street Vol. 2 Review (PS2)
Two years ago, EA Big stepped on the basketball game scene with NBA Street. This game, while not at all realistic, was one of the most enjoyable games out for the PS2. The type of game that you could play with friends for hours. The only problem I had with the original NBA Street was the lack of longevity in the single player game. Once you finished beating all of the NBA teams in the City Circuit mode, there wasn’t much left to do. What you were pretty much left with was a great 2-player game but a coaster as a single player game.
So now EA Big comes back with NBA Street Vol. 2. On the surface, the game looks like more of the same with a few improvements. On the surface, the gameplay looks to be the same with the inclusion of old school players and new moves. Now the only question left is whether the game is a significant improvement from the original or just NBA Street with new moves and rosters.
The player models are improved for Vol. 2. Keep in mind that this game isn’t trying to be entirely realistic with the way players look. While there are differences in the way players like Shaq and Garnett look, most models are really muscular. Players also have a shiny or glossy look intended to make them look like they have been sweating. The player faces are also done well. You will have no problem recognizing your favorite players. This game does a better job with faces then EA’s other basketball effort, NBA Live IMO.
The courts look fantastic and are extremely detailed. If anyone has ever been to the Rucker or the Cage in NY, they will realize that the court and the background look exactly like the courts in the Bronx and Manhattan.
The sound is done very well. It pretty much features everything from trash talk by the ballplayers to hip hop in the background. This year instead of a guy with a bullhorn doing the play by play, EA Big decided to use Bobbito Garcia. Hip Hop Fans will know Bobbito from the Stretch Armstrong Show and his monthly article in Vibe magazine. Bobbito doesn’t really add or subtract anything to the game. He basically trash talks and adds atmosphere to the game.
Producer Just Blaze does most of the background tracks. Just is one of the hottest producers in hip hop right now and much of the music in the background are just instrumental tracks. There are some actual songs including Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You” and Erick Sermon’s “React”. The bottom line is if you like hip hop you’ll like the background music. If you don’t, you wont.
There are three modes in NBA Street Vol. 2, Pick Up Game, NBA Challenge and Be A Legend. Pick Up Game is basically an exhibition mode which lets you play with any players and courts that you have unlocked. In NBA Challenge, you must pick a team and play the other 29 NBA Teams in the league. Your team must beat each NBA team in six regions. Once you have beaten every team in a region, you must play a team of all time greats. Those greats include Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, Magic Johnson and many others. Once you beat that team you are able to put some of the greats on your team.
Be A Legend lets you create a player, add additional players to the team, and play against random teams on different courts across the country. The more you win, the more your reputation grows and as your reputation grows, your team is given the chance to play in other cities. Every time you win a game, you are given reputation points, which you can use to increase your created player’s skills or to buy new accessories for your player. Along with the new modes there are a ton of new moves, the inclusion of a second level gamebreaker, the ability to save gamebreakers for later and an improved create a player.
Let me reiterate that this is an arcade game. There are not many elements of a sim in the game. With that said expect a lot of dunks and super blocks when playing this game. 60 to 70 percent of the points are scored by dunks or lay-ups. One thing I would like to see in a future version of NBA Street is more team specific tendencies. While I know this isn’t supposed to be a sim, I would like to see Dallas constantly shooting threes while seeing San Antonio constantly trying to take the ball inside. My biggest problem is that all of the teams seem to play the same style, which is constantly attacking the basket. That allows the player to just sit back and wait for the computer to drive and block its shot. Don’t get me wrong, if you play off the computer and dare them to take a long distance shot, they will take it occasionally but just not enough for my taste.
While the teams may not play like their real life counterparts, the old school players do. Each old school player has his own signature moves. For example Jordan has several dunks that are specifically for him. The same goes for Pete Maravich and Dr. J.
While I loved the original NBA Street, I felt it had a problem with longevity in single player. Once you beat all of the NBA teams and unlocked all of the courts, there was really no reason to play. Longevity isn’t as much of a problem in Vol. 2 because of the Be A Legend mode. Taking your created player threw all of the tournaments and pickup games needed to complete this game can take weeks or months. This is the type of mode that can change a game from a rental to a must buy. The game is still incredibly fun to play as a two-player game. I have already spent hours playing this game against friends. One last problem I have is that the game is not online. Online would have made this one of my all time favorite basketball games. Without online…aww who am I kidding, Vol. 2 is still one of my favorite basketball games of all time.
If you’re a huge basketball fan, you need to have this game. If you’re not a huge basketball fan, you should still get this game. For the hardcore basketball fans, NBA Street Vol. 2 is a great change of pace game. When you are tired of playing your franchise in Inside Drive 2003 or NBA 2k3, you can pop this in and just have fun. For the casual fan, Vol. 2 is an enjoyable multiplayer game. It’s one of those games that is perfect for when you have friends over or parties. Fun is the best way to describe NBA Street Vol. 2 and it’s the main reason you should buy this game.