'Hut one, Hut two, Hut Hut...' screams Peyton Manning as he rips the ball off a 300 pound lineman, in a middle of an urban playground.
NFL played in The Projects. Could it get any better?
NFL Street 2 follows one year after Electronic Arts' original effort, and it's lost none of the brutality. The NFL Street series takes the complexity of American Pro Football, flips it on its head and turns it into a arcade mash fest.
Cover 2, 3-4 formation, middle vs outside linebacker: usually, getting to grips with the NFL requires a PhD. The beauty of NFL Street 2 is you don't need to know the ins and outs of this ridiculously complex sport. The pick up and play aspect will draw in the most NFL-averse gamer, and there's none of the glitz and glamour of the National Football League either. It's just straight hit 'em up American Football, right back to the essence of the game, mates coming together to biff round a ball.
Well, to showboat, taunt your opponents and to biff round a ball...
The game begins with a quick playable tutorial from West Coast hip-hopper Xzibit. In no time he'll be coaching you with the help of his all-star team on stiff arming through to stylish off the wall receptions. It quickly becomes clear that this isn't a long-term strategy-fest like Madden, not by a long shot. The arcade style of the game rules over strategy and stingy defenses, your passes are going stick rather than being incomplete, and the whole play experience is offense dominated.
That's not to say that NFLS2 is simple: there's much more to it than just running into the endzone with the ball. Aside from racking up scores, the most important and strategic element of play lies with the Gamebreaker.
The Gamebreaker meter fills up slowly with players using a variety of taunts and special moves. There two different Gamebreaker levels to reach, the first making you virtually impossible to stop for one play, both on the offense/defensive side of the ball. Giving up the first level and continuing to build up to a level two Gamebreaker comes with an added reward: once you trigger your level two Gamebreaker you'll launch into an in game cinematic that will show your players doing some gravity defying acts, from players leaping off a teammate's back for that big interception or breaking tackles at will.
Options wise NFL Street 2 brings the house. There's a wide variety of choices, all continuing the theme of pick-up-and-play Football, from mini-games through create a character and challenge modes: plenty to keep you happy.
Over the years the EA Madden Series has defined what a sports game should look and sound like. So it's no surprise that NFL Street 2 carries on the tradition. Though the first edition of NFL Street looked pretty damn sharp, developers Tiburon have still pushed the envelope to make the visuals look as smoother than ever.
The detail of the players is uncanny, you'll recognize your favorite NFL players straight off the bat. Terrell Owens, Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis look like their real life counterparts with some tongue and cheek added to the mix there're gold chains and porkpie hats everywhere.
The in game sound effects are great. 'When I get ya, you'll know I got ya boy...' Hearing a defensive lineman telling you implicitly he's not only coming, but he's also bringing a world of hurt? priceless.
The sound effects are crucial and serve as a guide to let you know what a player is doing off-screen. The sounds of juke moves, wall moves and other special moves add great value to the game, especially within the singleplayer modes.
Most EA sports titles have a roster of musicians even the Big Day Out would proud of, and NFL Street 2 is no different. The game features many of todays top artists from Xzibit, Mase through to Papa Roach. Xbox owners will be pleased to know that you can upload tracks to hard drive to customized soundtracks. You'll be listening to your favorite tunes whilst enjoying knocking the stuffing outta big sweaty men.
While beginners will rejoice in NFL Street 2 short learning curve, there's an undercurrent of potential for people to master the game. The NFL Street 2 controls hold true to the original title, but more is added with all new system of wall moves. Though walls were a part of gameplay in the original, now you'll be using new moves for even bigger gains and bonuses throughout the game.
Playing multiplayer World Cup '98 on the Nintendo 64 at my student flat, outplaying each other brings back fond memories. NFL Street 2 follows in the same vein, in no time you'll be playing 2 on 2 and talking trash. It's an important element, so often lost in the technology-driven age of online play: mates getting together: mates getting together to see who has the skills around the TV on a Sunday afternoon.
NFL Street 2 is no different and follows the formula of arcade type experience and adds whole new value to genre of American Football. Gamers that necessarily don't need to know quarterbacks from linebackers, just a 10 min tutorial and you're away!
The Street franchise has added even more depth to the bulging Electronic Arts stable, and NFLS2 continues this. It's great if you're weary of the bright lights and endless playbooks of the Madden and NFL 2K games, and has the pick up 'n' play aspect down perfectly. Single-player will give you hours of enjoyment, but the game's real strength lies in the multiplayer aspect and mini games.
Whether yo'?re a hardened NFL sim junkie looking for another fix or the sports gamer that has never quite summoned up the courage to walk over to the NFL side of town, give it a go. Cross over the tracks and step into NFL Street's territory.