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NFL Street 2 Unleashed Review

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Developer: EA Sports Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: March 24, 2005 Also On: None

EA Sports BIG’s third street-based football game, NFL Street 2 Unleashed, takes all of the action of the console version, NFL Street 2, and jam-packs it into a single UMD with all of the features of the big-brother version and more. The result shows a few ported flaws, but NFL Street 2 is just as much fun as ever on a handheld.

Exactly the same as the console version is the NFL Challenge, Own the City, and NFL Gauntlet solo modes. Challenge lets you create a team of players, perform specific tasks (like a 99-yard pass for a touchdown), and use the credits you earn to improve your team. Own the City is a little more unique, where you gather up talent throughout different areas and form a team. Last of all, NFL Gauntlet is simply a mode where you play every team from the NFL and try to beat them. These gameplay modes were a lot of fun on the console, and the fun factor remains.

The series is known for its wild tackles, taunting style moves, long-range passes, and the like. Street 2 Unleashed carries over this tradition pretty well. The on-field action is almost identical to the other versions. The over-the-top wall moves (sorry for the pun) still upset the balance of offense and defense, but “street-based” sports games usually don’t have much of a balance in the first place.

However, I have a few gripes with how the game handles on the PSP. First of all, I personally had a problem using the left trigger to do style moves because the analog nub is placed too far down. Playing this game with the digital pad isn’t much fun, either. Also, because the game is a little harder to see on a 4.3-inch screen, I found myself squinting to see fumbled balls or even individual players at times.

The rest of the technical translation manages to impress, but has a direct effect on a few things. The graphics are slightly downgraded from the PlayStation 2 version, but still look amazing on a handheld. The music quality is also something to brag about. Unfortunately, all of this high-quality stuff takes quite a toll on the PSP’s running speed, therefore making loading screens last for up to a minute.

Also, you might as well turn the music off while you’re browsing through menu screens–the music makes the cursor move ridiculously slow. It actually took me 45 minutes to create my team when I turned the game on for the first time, simply because the music was running and the cursor moved so slowly.

Fortunately, the lag doesn’t show up in the game’s wireless mode, which plays rather well and is a welcome addition to the game. The multiplayer utilizes both forms of PSP wireless capabilities–Ad Hoc and Infrastructure–so you’ll be able to play “online” at any wireless hotspot if there are other players available.

Still, those few gripes don’t keep NFL Street 2 Unleashed from what it manages to be–a fun, action-packed, handheld version of the exact same console game. I loved the previous games, and I was naturally interested in this when I saw that it would be coming to the PSP at launch. Aside from a few mini-games, Street 2 Unleashed is identical to the other versions, and that’s a good thing. Having a fun sports game to take on the road is never something to complain about.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.2
Written by Cliff Review Guide