NBA Street: Homecourt - 360 - Preview
While there have been many imitators over the years, EA’s NBA Street series is the premier street basketball series. Three entries strong, the series shows no sign of slowing, presenting a great mix of easy to grasp controls and deep gameplay. Now, EA is looking to bring that magic to next-gen consoles while upping the ante with wilder moves and more added features, plus the requisite HD graphical boost. NBA Street: Homecourt is the next entry to the series, and presents more than just a superficial graphical boost. The game’s gameplay mechanics feel a lot smoother, and the moves that you can perform are some of the craziest yet. NBA Street fans take note, it’s time to bring it home.
NBA Street Vol. 3 did things a little differently as far as controls were concerned. The game used the analog sticks as a means of tweaking dunks and performing moves. Homecourt removes the analog controls from the tricks, instead utilizing the X and Y buttons to do your moves, and the shoulder buttons to tweak them. This frees up the second analog stick and lets you use it for passing, which gives it a better dynamic.
The game is certainly not short on new moves either. For starters, you can perform a variety of dunks depending on how long you hold down the shot button. Tapping it will allow you to perform a simple lay-up, while the longer you hold it down the more complex your dunks get. If you hold down the button for the correct length of time, you’ll perform a Repeater, where you dunk the ball, grab it in mid-air, and then dunk it again for a second point. Also in your move repertoire are three man alley oops, some play calling, and a bunch of other new and unique moves.
The controls and on-court gameplay are pretty solid, but the game’s different modes are pretty impressive as well. The Create-a-player system has been revamped both in terms of editing your player’s look and how they play the game. When you’re determining how your player plays the game, you have to choose between a set of three skills, each with a pro-baller in mind (in fact, they each say something along the lines of ‘Play like LeBron’ underneath). Also, when editing how their face looks, you actually choose between three professional players in order to make a facial composite.
Once you’ve created your character, then it’s time to take the Homecourt Challenge. In this mode, you build your character’s street rep up by taking on a variety of opponents starting in your personal homecourt and then working your way up.
Graphically the game looks great. The action is as fluid as it has been in previous entries to the series, while the added animations make the game look even better. The character models are also eerily uncanny when held up to their real-life NBA counterparts. The courts also look great and have an increased sense of personality, especially compared to the somewhat sterile appearance of most pro-basketball games.
While still in preview form, NBA Street: Homecourt presented some great improvements over previous entries in the series, but still retained its classic feel. Look for it next month.