We all know that Midway’s NFL Blitz was the uncontested arcade football title for all consoles for the past five plus years. Well now Midway’s NFL Blitz has run into some trouble because EA (famous for their Madden titles) has published a new title and it’s called NFL Street - a hard hitting, gut wrenching, arcade football game for your PS2 (also available on Xbox and Cube), and lets just say we have a new king of arcade football titles.
When you look at NFL Blitz it is a game that was much more about the hitting then it was, football. Before and after the plays all you would see were massive hits with little to no strategy whatsoever. So this is exactly where NFL Street went right and they combined the high-flying action with some strategy, and let me tell you they have a winning formula right here.
Well similar to Blitz, NFL Street is not a game that uses a full team, but instead it uses a seven on seven format. This makes the field a lot more open, and gives you the room to pull off a lot more maneuvers that you don’t see every day. One of the more interesting features of NFL Street is that unlike Blitz, where you had thirty yards to go to get a first down, in NFL Street you go by ten-yard increments. But what is so interesting about the system is that lets say you gain three extra yards after gaining the first down you will have a first and seven to start the next set of downs.
NFL Street has a nice list of modes to play through in the game that will keep you busy for quite some time. You have a quick game, pickup game, and NFL Challenge mode to choose from. Basically the pickup game is where you can customize your game a bit more then you can with just a quick game. The NFL Challenge Mode is the main mode of NFL Street where you go head to head against NFL Teams to unlock plenty of goodies along the way. This mode is actually quite challenging and really takes quite a bit of time to get through this mode. Along with all of these modes also comes the online mode, which only available for PS2 version of NFL Street. The online play with NFL Street is really quite fun to play and the arcade style play online works really well. This is one of those games, that really are just a perfect combination for online play, and it would be really hard to not have this combination work.
Honestly NFL Street is much more of a multiplayer title then it is a single player title. EA and Tiburon gave you a lot of options for the single player modes but put a much heavier emphasis on the online play. The NFL Challenge mode can keep you occupied for a while but without the multiplayer this game would just be a simple short title that wouldn’t be worth much at all.
The gameplay of NFL Street is extremely similar to Blitz, except there is a lot more strategy involved in NFL Street. Running the ball has its advantages and shows signs of playing a lot more like a college football title then a NFL one, with the option being widely used. There are a good amount of different runs to choose from with the options, reverses, and of course the different run plays. Passing isn’t as easy but yet can be very rewarding in NFL Street. The game allows you to run a variety of different pass plays that at times can be very effective and at others can be quite difficult to pull off. Either way you go, style is a key ingredient in the process of gaining points in order to receive the all-important Gamebreaker.
The Gamebreaker can be used only when you receive enough points to fill up the style bar. This becomes very necessary later on in games and basically pumps your team up to play at their top level. This Gamebreaker last for one possession and once the ball changes hands your Gamebreaker is up. Gamebreaker’s also can be canceled out if both teams have a Gamebreaker on hand.
NFL Street combines a lot of great ideas with pretty solid gameplay to provide the best playing NFL arcade title on the market today. There are some things I would like to see done better, like more plays to choose from. But for this being the first arcade football title I must say they did an excellent job of putting out a great arcade football title.
The one area that NFL Street could really use some work is in the graphical department, which sadly lacks refinement. Of course with the NFL you really don’t get to see the character due to all of there equipment (aka: helmets, pads, ect.) and therefore in NFL Street you get an up close view of what these players look like, but unfortunately the game doesn’t do a great job of depicting the players.
When I look at NFL Street I just see a game that looks average, it has a lot of things that could be done much better. When I say this, I am putting a strong emphasis on the player models. They all look very scratchy and after a while everything looks pretty standard instead of putting a good amount of detail on each player. I feel as though the developers could have put a lot more effort towards these models to really make it feel as though your playing with actual NFL Players.
The animation in the game is strong, and there is plenty of variety to be found throughout the game. The game runs at a very smooth pace, online and off, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. The game flows very nicely and there are really no complaints when discussing the animation.
Overall the graphics are pretty average (like mentioned earlier), and have plenty of room for improvement. I would expect if there is another version thrown out next year, that we will see a huge upgrade to the graphical engine.
The one category the NFL Street gets a perfect score in is the Fun Factor category. Like mentioned earlier the game puts a lot more emphasis on the multiplayer, which works really well. Online play is truly the best football experience online, and can played for hours upon hours. The game truly strives in this category, and shows that arcade football titles aren’t out of style.
NFL Street is definitely a worthwhile title for any football enthusiast who is searching for something to hold you over during the off-season. For those fans of Blitz searching for an alternative to a falling series, NFL Street is definitely a game you should look at. It’s a game that combines fast paced Gameplay with strategy, which makes it a whole lot of fun to play.
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.