Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release Date: December 22, 2004
Are you ready for some football? NFL Street 2 snaps you back into your favorite football action, street style. If you are a fan of the original NFL Street or if you’ve never played at all, then you are in for a real treat with the latest edition. Now you can play hard-hitting football with your friends in the house, and your mom can’t say anything about it. Catch a copy of NFL Street 2, fire up your system, grab your controller, and get your game on!
Although this game is not much of an improvement over its prequel released around a year ago, it does manage to give us everything that we enjoyed from the first game, along with a few added bonuses. The game is nicely polished and the gameplay is fun, as would be expected from a developer like Electronic Arts.
Gameplay in NFL Street 2 hasn’t changed much since the first title. Eight man teams, style moves, bonus points, easy to use playbooks, and game breakers are all still part of the game. However, a few minor adjustments were made, basically advancing features that were already a part of the first title. Gamebreakers (a.k.a. – kick the other team’s behind no matter what) come in two styles now, Gamebreaker and Gamebreaker 2. Also new to the game are wall jumps and field hot spots.
Accumulating bonus points and filling the gamebreaker bar attains Gamebreaker mode; however, not using your gamebreaker and accumulating more bonus points will get you to Gamebreaker 2. This mode is definitely worth the wait: whether you are on the offensive or defensive side of the ball, the game breaks to a cutscene, and your team does whatever it takes to get the ball into the endzone. However, if you use your Gamebreaker 2 and the other team also has one, they can choose to use it once you execute yours, and they will be the team to score.
Wall moves play a major role in getting you the bonus points needed for Gamebreakers, in addition to getting you the touchdowns needed to win the game. There are several wall moves to help you move the ball down the field. Wall moves are basically stylish looking normal moves that take place near a wall, fence, or any other field boundary object. To perform a wall move, you must be near a wall, press and hold down the style button, and press either the jump or juke button. This will make your character take an extra leap for a deep pass, give an extra spin to a juke, or just jump over an opposing team member to avoid a tackle. You can accumulate massive style points while using these new moves and even more so if you manage to land in a hotspot. Hotspots are basically bonus multipliers that are set across each field of play and are a great way to quickly increase your style points. However, if you are in a hotspot and a defensive player tackles you, they get the bonus.
With the amount of style points gained by using hotspots, a player can have multiple Gamebreakers per game, which can make the game very one-sided and unbalanced. Be sure to learn how to use hotspots and concentrate on getting as many style points as possible. Additionally, Gamebreaker 2 mode can quickly shut out an opponent if the other player is not good at accumulating style points. With Gamebreaker 2 being an option, some players can opt to save their style points for a chance at getting a sure score. When you are on defense, this is your chance to strike back and take away some of those points by performing big stops.
NFL Street 2 still has some of the great features from the first title, like the NFL Challenge and the Pickup game. In NFL Challenge mode, you take a team of wannabes and turn them into champions. This is accomplished by competing against top NFL teams in different challenges like winning a game by only using running plays or sacking a quarterback a certain number of times throughout the game. After each challenge is complete, you get to upgrade your characters’ attributes to make them unstoppable street football veterans. This mode takes place in a training period that lasts 150 days. It sounds like a short amount of time to take a bunch of rookie players from sissy to stardom, but it is a more than adequate amount of time. In fact, you will have so much time with this mode that you might become bored with it, just as you could have in the first NFL Street. It’s still a fun mode to play, and after the training period, you can use your team to devastate your opponents and make them cry for mommy.
Also new to NFL Street 2 is Own the City mode. This mode is a lot like NFL Challenge mode, but instead of training a whole team, you are responsible for training one player: yourself. You meet up with Xzibit (the guy from the cover), and he takes you through a brief tutorial of the game. After completing the tutorial, you and a bunch of other punks go around the country playing other randomly-generated characters and teams. Beating these teams at pickup games and other random mini-games will get you through this mode in which you own the city.
Customizing characters is pretty big in NFL Street 2. You can unlock all kinds of clothes and accessories for your character by gaining credits after completing different parts of the game. There are all kinds of items to make your character look like a guy straight out of a rap video.
The mini-games add a new spin, and you can even play them by yourself or against your friends across the ‘net. One mini-game is of “smear the ummmm happy guy” (the guy with the ball). This one is fun, although very simplistic. You run around the field with the ball, looking on from a somewhat aerial view, and everyone tries to tackle you. While running, avoiding tackles to accumulate points, and the first one to reach the limit wins. You also gain points by tackling other ball carriers and by using your style button to perform fancy moves while running or tackling.
The online aspect of NFL Street 2 has to be the biggest makeover for this title for the Xbox (time for a big thank you to EA and Microsoft for allowing me to play EA-made games on Xbox Live). I played this on Xbox Live and was very happy with the performance; I played several non-ranked games and never noticed a problem with lag or any other sort of glitches. The game lobbies are set up rather nicely and are sorted by rank, from what I can figure. I could only hang out in the main lobby and not access the other lobbies, which I’m guessing has to do with the fact that I only played non-ranked games, and those lobbies were probably for players of higher rank.
All in all, this was a fun game, but if you played the first, you played this one. To me, the minor additions do not justify going out and spending your hard-earned cashola. While I don’t think that the developers rushed this title at all, I do feel that they didn’t give this game the love and nourishment that it deserved. If you never purchased a copy of the first NFL Street, I would say to go out and pick up a copy of NFL Street 2. However, if you already own the first game, do yourself a favor and play this puppy at a friend’s house. At the very least, go rent this title and make sure it is your cup of tea.
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