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NBA Street Homecourt Review

Developer: EA Canada Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: February 19, 2007 Also On: PS3 and Xbox 360

Silky smooth. While Homecourt has loads of improvements over Street V3 (albeit with less game modes) the most easily recognizable and, surprisingly, deceptively complex and rewarding is the new animation system. I cannot remember an instance in which the animation appeared jerky or jumped from the middle of one animation to another. Mix that animation engine with next-gen visuals and you have an amazing foundation for an arcade style hoops game.

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None of that matters if it plays like crap, right? The good news is that it doesn’t. Far from it, actually. The developers were purposefully moving away from V3’s trick stick and technical controls for a more streamlined experience (think Street Vol. 2) and the works shows. Like the Tony Hawk series in its hayday, Homecourt is extremely easy to pick up and play but will take some work to dig into the game and truly excel.

Like I touched upon in my Homecourt preview every aspect of the game has a second layer of strategy involved that ultimately boils down to a standard risk/rewards system. You have the option of building up your gamebreaker meter by doing tricks before scoring but this increases the chance of a turnover. You’ll have the option to score an extra point on a dunk if you hold the dunk button right up until hitting the rim but held a split second longer and you’ll blow the dunk (especially entertaining during multiplayer matchups).

The main game mode is Homecourt Challenge, a campaign mode designed around leveling up your created baller and beating an assortment of NBA stars. The games played while in the campaign mode will also differ slightly from the usual first to 21 wins. Some games are dunks or shots only and some will be won (or lost) when one team wins by five points. It adds some variety for a campaign mode that would otherwise grow tiring after an hour or so.

The presentation is spot-on. The players closely resemble their real life counterparts and everything moves at sixty frames per second with only the very occasional hiccup. The visuals are truly worthy of being considered next-gen and the previously mentioned animation system melds the two beautifully. Aurally, the game isn’t a letdown at all. Players are constantly chattering amongst themselves and the soundtrack, even for those of us that aren’t fans of hip-hop, is great.

Luckily, Homecourt doesn’t grow old after just a round of playing. Because nearly every aspect of Homecourt is a game within a game it doesn’t begin to feel stale after only a few minutes. From building up your gamebreaker meter on offense to the defensive steal/push to the potential double dunk lurking underneath every slam. This game is a gem. It’s also the first fun arcade sports title to hit the next generation of consoles.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.9
Written by Chris Review Guide