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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Big

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

December 2004

 

 

- Online support
- Adds new game modes and features for more varied gameplay
- New Hot Spots unlock a roster of football legends
- New mini-games to break to monotony of the standard street football game that is the core of NFL Street 2

 

 

- Doesn't match the overall playability of EA's NBA Street franchise
- Using typical football strategy doesn't even come into play
- Game's A.I. can be fooled with play action too easily

 

 

Review: NFL Street 2 (XB)

Review: NFL Street 2 (GC)

Review: Madden NFL 2005 (GC)

Review: NBA Street Vol. 2 (PS2)

 

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NFL Street 2

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Growing up a sports fanatic in a big city, if I wanted to play football, there weren't too many places besides the street to play. Sure, there were the local playgrounds and some open, abandoned lots throughout my Philadelphia neighborhood, but it was in the street where we would play our urban football wars the most. Cars could be used as blockers, and marked the endzones. And on the side streets filled with row houses, traffic wasn't too much of a hassle. During the heat of battle, each of us would envision ourselves as some sort of gridiron superstar.

 

nfl street 2 ps2 review          nfl street ps2 review

 

Of course, we weren't insane enough to be tackling each other on asphalt, but the same spirit of those fall afternoons throwing around a football on the Philly streets is what pervades though EA's NFL Street 2. The game was inspired by the extremely successful NBA Street franchise and follows up on last year's well-received NFL Street. Urban football, albeit in an over-the-top, arcade-oriented game style is found in championship form in NFL Street 2, which improves upon the original with added content and bonuses, and online play.

 

Following in the tracks of the first game, NFL Street 2 again brings the game of street football back, this time with some new game modes and gameplay enhancements. In addition to the standard pickup game of football pitting you against another squad of rough-and-tumble street footballers throughout urbanized locales, and NFL Challenge, where you square off against NFL players, NFL Street 2 has Own the City, NFL Gauntlet, and Street Event modes. Own the City has you create your own team of city ballers that try and dominate one neighborhood at a time. NFL Gauntlet squares you off against each and every NFL team to prove your ball skills. And Street Event mini-games such as Crush the Carrier are fresh, but prove nothing more than minor diversionary undertakings.

 

Another new element this year is the "hot spot," which are billboards on the fences and walls on the sidelines of the field that, if you do a wall move on the particular hot spot, will unlock a NFL legendary player like Jack Lambert, Barry Sanders, or Bo "Bo knows" Jackson to use in pick-up games. You can also get the hot spot by tackling an opponent right on the spot (and your opponent can conversely claim the hot spot for themselves with a well-timed tackle, although the A. I. won't get the advantage of an unlocked player as a benefit).

 

Wall moves, a nice new touch, are extensions of the trash-talkin' style moves that give you points to generate Gamebreakers that can mean the difference between taking a slow, disgraced El ride home following a humbling loss or a jubilant chest-puffing walk through the hood proclaiming your football might.

 

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Gamebreakers are again a prominent feature, and they really do come into the strategy of playing NFL Street 2. Once you pull off enough style moves to collect enough points to get a Gamebreaker, you can activate a Gamebreaker or the much more effective Gamebreaker 2 before your opponent has a Gamebreaker usually the result is a touchdown for you on offense or a turnover on defense. But if your opponent (real or A.I) has a Gamebreaker, he can negate yours by activating theirs at the same time. That works in your favor too, if you want to counteract an opponent's Gamebreaker.

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Gameplay doesn't quite hit the mark of "street" action as its NBA Street big brother. Football and its need for well-coached tactics and repetitive practice to be successful just doesn't have the same spontaneous nature that is at the heart of the street roots of basketball. And bedsides, a lot of the strategy of football in NFL Street 2 goes by the wayside for some Arena football-type scoring fests. The A.I. isn't the toughest to handle, so fans of offense will love the scoring in a typical NFL Street 2 contest. Defense isn't NFL Street 2's strong suit, as it's quite easy to fool the A.I. with simple play-action calls, creating wide-open receivers for your QB to hit with an easy pass.

 

nfl street 2 ps2 review           nfl street 2 ps2 review

 

Controls are excellent, especially considering how many specialized style moves are in the game, although the PS2 controller directs the action a bit better than the Xbox controller. Tackling doesn't fare as well as offensive moves, but NFL Street 2 handles smoothly overall.

 

Although the character models of the players are far from realistic and more cartoonish in nature (including a shiny, plastic Toy Story look), the game does look very good overall, although the PS2 version isn't as far below the Xbox in the visual department as you might imagine. It's a little ironic that the players have a more animation-style appearance when NBA Street Vol. 3, the franchise that inspired NFL Street, has turned towards more true-to-life player models.

 

The soundtrack blasts you like a 40-megaton bomb with a bombastic assortment of hard-and-heavy rock with a generous sampling of hip-hip. The music hits hard, but in a game that hits equally hard in its gameplay, provides a perfect adrenaline-pumping beat for game-time.

 

Just like every other EA sports game, online play is available. I only was able to play the game online with the Xbox version, but smooth and lag-free games are the norm over Xbox Live so the expectation should be the same on the PS2. And while you may be king of the urban football jungle in your own household, it isn't as easy to dominate NFL Street 2 online.

 

Don't' come to the Street looking for a Madden-type of strategy-first football game. This is pure fantasized urban jungle over-the-top football. It doesn't have the same high quality of the NBA Street series due to the more urban roots of street basketball versus street football, but for a good adrenaline rush of smash-mouth football, look no further than NFL Street 2.

 

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(February 17, 2005)

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