EA has done a fantastic job of broadening its horizons from taking complete dominance of the simulation sports games, and making its way into the arcade sports realm. This genre was previously pretty scarce, and outside of NBA Jam and NFL Blitz, there wasn’t much in way of competition or depth. Then came big old EA, who decided that going along with the status quo just wouldn’t cut it. They then released NBA Street, which has started this sports arcade revolution for EA, and now has taken it into the next generation with NBA Street Homecourt. The hope for this title was to take the series further then it had been before taken it to the roots, the "Homecourt". So does the soul searching NBA Street Homecourt leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside? Read our full review to find out!
In the past we have seen a few different versions of the NBA Street games, which have continued to improve on each outing. However the core concepts of the game have not; do insane tricks, rack up the points, continue to do even more insane tricks, rack up even more crazy points and repeat. It’s not a very complicated system, however the game has always done a nice job of rewarding experienced players with the highest flying and even more satisfying moves on the court. NBA Street Homecourt continues all of this keeping much of the fundamentals in the game the same, only changing the outward appearance of the game and also the setup. Does that do enough to warrant a new type of experience?
NBA Street Homecourt does change things up a bit in terms of controls, which to me was surprising as I thought that would be the last thing to change. In NBA Street Homecourt the controls have gone backwards in some sorts, as the right analog stick is actually not as useful, and instead much of the action has been placed back to the face buttons. The controls actually look me a little to get used to, but the overall experience still manages to be extremely accessible and rather easy to pick up and play.
You still have the career mode, which for me was a big hit and miss, and unfortunately started out with a complete miss for me. You start off by creating a character, and unfortunately in this case you have very limited options, and the whole grand scheme of things makes for a rather unfortunate and disappointing experience. I would have much rather had a standard create a player feature than what was offered here. The lack of options and often weird results from this make you feel less at the control than you should. Following creating a player you will go into the core of the career mode, which at times feels like they wanted to be different from previous games however still feels like there is room for improvement.
The career mode tries to throw some different goals and objectives at you, and you can see at times that the career mode wanted to go for more. Unfortunately though, the final career mode doesn’t give you that new or exciting feel that I was expecting. In fact, NBA Street Homecourt doesn’t really add a whole lot in terms of new content to the table. The ideas could really have amounted to a much deeper and rich experience that would have made "Homecourt" a title that feeling used its name. As mentioned before, the game flirts with using its ideas, but doesn’t come all the way through.
The rest of the modes of NBA Street Homecourt continue the same sort of predictable path, which isn’t a terrible thing but doesn’t keep you as excited as it should. I did have a good time online with NBA Street Homecourt, as the games were free of lag and offered up some fierce competition. I wish they would have offered more in terms of modes online to give more action online. The standard modes work here, but more would have been very beneficial.
So thus far we have been mainly discussing the shortcomings of the game, but it in the end you have to look at the actual mechanics of NBA Street Homecourt, and that is where the game really moves does succeed. NBA Street Homecourt improves with some more moves and even steadier animations than ever before in a NBA Street game. The gameplay doesn’t revolutionize the way we play an NBA Street game, but yet does enough to keep you interested and coming back for more.
The visuals of NBA Street Homecourt for the Playstation 3 really do have that "next gen" look that I believe many are hoping for in their PS3 titles. What really stood out to me in this game are the character models, which are heavily detailed and give the game a really nice look. The areas in which you play do help to give the whole "Homecourt" feel, however the variety in the environments could have been better. I also did notice that the animations were solid almost all the way around, except for some occasional frame rate glitches.
As much as I wanted the actual modes to be deeper in NBA Street Homecourt, it is still an arcade basketball game, and with that being said it all comes down to the gameplay. With NBA Street Homecourt, the experience is taking what we have seen in previous NBA Street titles and taking it even further. The controls are new and refined, and although took me more time than I am used to to get the hang of, still are rather simplistic. NBA Street Homecourt is a great looking and playing game, and had they put more work into the modes themselves, we could be talking about a huge slam dunk.
Some may wonder why my overall score is an 8/10 when for a lot of the review I was exhibiting a lot of anger and disappointment. That is mainly because the bar has been set very high for this game, and what seemed like a great idea in the whole "Homercourt" scheme really didn’t pan out too much. With that being said, the actual arcade basketball experience is strong enough to still give a top notch score.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.