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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Black Ops

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2006

 

 

- Represents with real-world street basketball meccas and all the AND 1 Mix Tape Tour stars

- Despite not working to its fullest potential, you can design your own moves for your very own created player

- Has bonus clothing ands shoes to outfit your player in, and Mix Tape movies to unlock

 

 

- I know this is street ball, but where’s the defense? It’s hard to effectively play any type of successful defense

- Physics take a timeout and ride the pine, as the ball seemingly “Houdinis” right through defenders

- Rather dull and sometimes unsightly graphics, considering how far into the Xbox’s lifecycle the game makes its debut

- Created by the same developer of the tepidly mediocre Street Hoops that featured many of the same players before the Mix Tape Tour blew up in popularity

 

 

Review: Street Hoops (XB)

Review: NBA Ballers (XB)

Review: NBA Street V3 (XB)

Review: NBA Live 06 (360)

 

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AND 1 Streetball

Score: 5.5 / 10

 

Hot Sauce. Sik Wit It. The Professor. Escalade. Half Man, Half Amazing. And a homeboy of my hometown of Philly, AO. To anybody that’s a fan of street basketball and its urban-centric culture, these are the names of the best of the best of street hoops in the asphalt jungle. They’re given star status throughout the U.S. because of the explosion in popularity of basketball shoe and clothing maker AND 1’s Mix Tape Tour seen on ESPN and in arenas playing to packed houses, displaying their Globetrotter-like skills. Many of these same players first made an appearance in the decidedly mediocre Street Hoops videogame in 2002 before they became famous. With newfound esteem in the street hoops world comes another appearance in a basketball game, this time using the AND 1 branding in AND 1 Streetball.

 

 

and 1 streetball          and 1 streetball

 

But while theses players’ street-and-court game may have improved in the last four years, their videogame hasn’t. The same development team that’s responsible for Street Hoops was unfortunately used by new publisher Ubisoft to create AND 1 Streetball.

 

Despite some new features, (especially the “good idea, bad implementation” create-a-move), AND 1 Streetball still retains too many of Street Hoops gameplay 

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flaws (with a few new ones because of the jumbled and uneven I-BALL controls needed to use the game’s 130-is-100-too-many moves) to come anywhere close to seriously challenge the quality of the two much-better street basketball franchises, NBA Street and NBA Ballers.

 

What’s supposed to be the ultimate draw of AND 1 Streetball is the ability to not only 

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create your own player, but to be able to create your own moves for that player. The game boasts having 130 moves in its arsenal to use on the court, with each respective AND 1 player has their own select signature moves. But the biggest problem is the lack of responsiveness with the game’s overall controls, especially when trying to pull off moves (even ones you’ve created) during the heat of streetball battle. It’s just too hard to get the game to respond in a desired way, because the moves are not mapped to the controller’s buttons.

 

Instead, it’s analog stick-based, which means that one little slip of the analog stick in a slightly different direction than the one intended, and you’re not going to be able to use the move you’re trying to implement. It’s a crapshoot as to what move your analog stick will actually unleash on the court. This lack of solid control causes the gameplay to dramatically be affected in the negative. What’s supposed to be fluid and precise control is anything but.

 

On top of the schizophrenic controls are the otherworldly physics at play. When you’re trying to uses certain “humiliation” moves such as dribbling the ball around one side of the player to the other, the ball defies the realms of physics, seemingly passing right through opposing players (and you, too, on defense).

 

AND 1 Streetball’s gameplay isn’t totally awful, but because of the above-mentioned flaws, especially the uneven controls, AND 1 Streetball can’t even step foot on the same gaming court with NBA Street and NBA Ballers. You can still find some fun in the single-player mode as you unlock items such as new sneakers and clothing for your players to wear and secret Mix Tapes, and with slo-mo dunks and “Gamebreaker” style features (that borrow from the two better streetball titles). There’s even OK online play if the difficult and sometimes unpleasant nature of the game’s controls don’t turn you off to AND 1 Streetball altogether.

 

and 1 streetball          and 1 streetball

 

Defense takes a seat on the bench in AND 1 Streetball. The game’s totally geared toward the offense, with highlight-reel dunks getting all the attention instead of the “D” garnering any respect. Even if you try and dedicate hard effort on defense, forget it, because it’s going to get frustrating. Despite looking like you’ve got the perfect position for a block, you’ll almost never send a shot into the seats. And don’t even try to reach in against an offensive player to knock the ball away for a steal. Even if your player’s hand seemingly is in the right spot for the steal, there’s not too many times you’ll actually knock that ball loose.

 

Much like today’s pro game of the NBA, shooting isn’t exactly many of these players’ strong suit. Dunking is definitely encouraged at every opportunity, and you’ll have to continually rattle the rims with dunks if you want a chance to win any.

 

As AND 1 Streetball is based on the aged Street Hoops title and seemingly the same graphics engine, the visuals are noticeably dull and sometimes unsightly (but that has more to do with the somewhat awful and mostly unrealistic movement animations of the players). AND 1 Streetball doesn’t come close to matching the better visual appeal of both the NBA Street and NBA Ballers franchises. At least you’ll get to visit real-world locales on the Mix Tape Tour, and while the player animations and graphics aren’t more than mediocre, the environmental visuals bring back respectability to AND 1 Streetball’s graphical performance.

 

If you want to ball street-style, both NBA Street and NBA Ballers offers a much better urban hoops experience, with NBA players from the present and past. Despite having the “new” breed of basketball stars (street hoopsters with mad hops, skills and ball-handling wizardry) that have become famous on the AND 1 Mix Tape Tour, there are too many flaws in AND 1 Streetball, particularly in the too-many and too-difficult-to-fluidly-use moves that the game’s developers boast as a “selling” point. You have available online play the counteract some of the game’s negatives (bad graphics and animations, frustrating lack of effective defensive ability and a been-done-better gameplay aspect of AND 1 Streetball’s single-player romp up and down the virtual court), but that’s not enough to recommend AND 1 Streetball to the serious streetball gamer.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(September 11, 2006)

 

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