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ncaa football 2005
madden 2005

NBA Street Vol. 3 (Xbox) Review

By Phil Poccia - Staff Writer
Published 3/14/2005

Background Info

Xbox Screens(6)

Not all gamers want a simulation style when it comes to sports video games. To them, NBA Live and ESPN NBAís paces are too slow and filled with too much detail. Even people that enjoy simulation style games are not always in the mood to build their franchises. With the new features to the game, including Xbox Live multiplayer, Electronic Arts has made NBA Street V3 the best game of the series.

Presentation/Graphics : 87
Since NBA Street is an arcade style game, realism is not important. Players faces are recognizable to their NBA counterparts, but this is the only aspect of the graphics that comes close to being realistic. The bodies do not have jaggies. The jerseys and shorts show the laid back atmosphere of the game, such as players wearing baggy clothes with jerseys that are not always tucked in.

The animations in the game run well. Playersí tricks are very slow when the moves are not complex, and speed up with more complicated tricks. The game is obviously at a faster pace then simulation sports games since this is an arcade style game and realism is not the focus.

Presentation/Audio : 80
This is one area of the game that definitely needs improvement. One of the main problems if that the announcer is irritating. It is not only his voice, but what he says. It was good to see that there is an option to turn off play-by-play. How the developers continue to use this announcer in every game of the series and think itís a good idea is mind boggling.

The music selection in the game is a variety of new and old-school hip-hop. The best known group is the Beastie Boys, but all the other songs are from lesser known artist. The songs are either real good or real bad, and the song list is very limited. To make things worse, gamers cannot listen to music from their hard drive. It would have also been nice to be able to transfer songs from the game onto the hard drive to listen to in other games.

The sounds during the game is very poor. Fans cheer and yell when crazy dunks are performed. The only other sounds besides that are the ball being dribbled, the rim rattling after jams, and the ball being blocked. This game was not striving for realism and it shows.

Interface/Options : 93
There are many different modes of play in V3, including playing Pick Up Game, Practice, Street Challenge, Dunk Contest, and Xbox Live online multiplayer. The Pick Up game is the basic mode found in any sports game. Pick two teams and versus the computer or your friend. Practice is another standard sports mode where you work on your game with one player that is not playing any competition.

Street Challenge involves creating a baller and making a team with players from the streets and the NBA. Creating a baller is very fun. The amount of customization that can be done is insane. When designing a look, the body type, size of ears, and where your ballerís eyes are can all be chosen. If the pre-designed hair styles and shoes are not to your liking, they can be designed yourself. The shoes are from real companies, like Adidas and Reebok. There is also depth in the clothes. Jerseys from different eras and headbands to match them are all here. There is even 43 different types of sweatbands! To get all of these items, as well as courts, you must win games to earn purchasing points. This level of detail is far higher then ESPN NBA 2K5ís similar 24/7 mode.

If the gamebreaker points are not satisfying enough when deciding if a dunk is good, the Dunk Contest is another option. The real dunk contest in the NBA has been lacking for the past few years, and V3ís mode is too. The real NBA only allows rising stars to be in the dunk contest, but NBA Street V3 limits dunk contestants to top tier stars and created ballers. It is fun to be rated with a score based on the combos performed and the creativity involved, but this mode has little depth. Props can be used when performing dunks, such as a ball rack. This will give you creativity points and it was cool for a little while to be able to do this. Props sounds like a good idea, but the originality wears off fast. Only one prop can be used per dunk, and the only thing that could be done is jump over it. Trophies can be won for winning the contest.

V3 allows gamers to play online multiplayer. Lobbies are broken down by city, with each city having one to three courts to play on. Games can be played with real teams or created players. Matches do not take long to find and is the fastest you could ever hope for in any online game. Courts can be created for online play. Stats are available in a gamerís profile that shows their record and how good their created player is.

Online multiplayer is definitely not flawless. One of the problems is that there is always noticeable lag, even if it seems like both players have excellent connections. This problem would have marred the game more if it happened in a simulation sports video game, such as Madden, which requires more precision. Another problem is that you cannot bring offline created ballers online. A created player has to be made separately for online play. Some people may like this because they would like to see who has the best online created baller that always faced online opponents instead of building a player up offline on a easy difficulty. Online gaming does give more hours of gaming to V3, but it does not have any spectacular modes of play, like tournaments.

There are many different unlockables in the game that are great to have. NBA greats from the past can be unlocked for play, as well as fictitious street legends. New courts can be unlocked to give new life to where the games are played.

Gameplay : 89
If you have played other versions in this series, you will be able to instantly tell that the gameplay is different. Players move slower and less smoothly. At times it feels like player movements are awkward and their movements are not as free as they should be, as if their handicapped in what they can do. In a game with an arcade feel to it, players should be able to do more then what is possible in games striving for realism.

One of the features that differentiates the NBA Street series from other street basketball games is gamebreakers. Each opponent has a bar that they can fill up by doing tricks, shots, and dunks. This game is about crazy dunks and passes, so few gamebreaker points are earned for taking jump shots. A full gamebreaker bar lets gamers take a shot or dunk that is incredibly hard to block in a limited time. Making a gamebreaker adds to your score and subtracts them from your opponent. One of the changes made to the gamebreaker mode is that combos can be stringed together to get more points. Another change is that gamebreakers can be more devastating by doing tricks in the air while performing the gamebreaker. More scoring points can be earned this way. Gamers will live and die in V3 by being able to pull gamebreakers off and making sure that their opponents cannot.

One annoying thing with gameplay is that buttons cannot be mapped any way you want them. There are a few presets for what buttons do during the game. If you do not like the layout, your screwed.

Replay Value : 89
Online multiplayer for sports games is becoming the norm, and it is great to see that it was added to this game. The amount of modes online is lacking though. With so much detail in the create-a-baller mode and the amount of matches that can be played, V3 will not get boring for a long time.

Overall : 88
Certain flaws in NBA Street V3 held it back from getting a better score, such as the gameplay feeling awkward at times and the annoying announcer. In the future, EA should release these games earlier, though they probably want to wait until sales of NBA Live cool down before they bring out another b-ball game. Even though the other two versions of this series are more fun, the incredible customization depth, tons of unlockables, and the addition of online multiplayer make up for the V3ís flaws and make it the best of the three games in the series.

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