NBA Jam, circa 1993, I was 11 when this game first came out, and I remember how many quarters I would waste on this game. There was just something genuinely entertaining about this game. Whether it be the “He’s on fire!” or the “The nail in the coffin!” there was always a good time to be had on the NBA Jam machine. In 2001 EA Sports Big released NBA Street, and much like NBA Jam there was nothing but fun to be had while playing it. Then there is the sequel, NBA Street Volume 2. Everything you loved about NBA Street is back with so much more it is frightening.
First off the rosters are as accurate as you are going to get, everyone from the 2002-03 season is in there, along with a huge assortment of old school players from the past like Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, or one of my favorite players, “Pistol” Pete Maravich. There are also a number of street legends waiting to be unlocked. But more on them in bit.
The core gameplay has remained the same as the first NBA Street, first to 21 wins and you must win by 2 points, no rules except for the 24 second clock. So pretty much anything goes. Gamebreakers are still present although this time they have been tweaked for a bit of balancing issues. First off there are now two levels of Gamebreakers. The first level of a Gamebreaker can still be blocked or flubbed if you shoot from too far out or your shooter has weak dunking stats. Now the level two Gamebreaker is truly the money shot. It is completely unblockable, a can’t miss sure-fire shot that will devistate your opponent. Level two Gamebreakers can be attained by storing a level one Gamebreaker, however your opponent can cancel the stored Gamebreaker by sacrificing one of their own.
The graphics have been improved over the last game, and the difference is pretty noticable, you’ve got new locations that look fantastic and the player details are top notch. There is also a ton of different character models out there, you’ll notice a good number of them while playing the Be a Legend mode as you work your way through the game, you can even customize your pre-made baller for Be a Legend mode, giving him throwback jerseys of old NBA legends, new shoes, different hair colors, all kinds of stuff. Also the crowds look much better and no longer have those pointed arms where their hands should be.
The trick system has also received a bit of revision. A good number of the moves from the last game have been preserved however there is a lot more that you can do now. There is the kick pass which is good for building up trick combos. Or there is a cool new move that lets you regain your dribble in case you’ve done a pump fake and want to move. It is called Off the Heezy, and you basically bounce the ball off the defenders head then you’re back on the move. Then there is another move called Back to Papa, this move can help you go a long way when it comes to combo points. You toss the ball off the back board to yourself, or if there happens to be someone going for an alley-oop then they will catch it and score a massive number of trick points.
As for the actual tricks while on the dribble there are a number of new additions. Some characters even have their own specific moves, and once they become unlocked that special move can be assigned to any player. Dunks can also be assigned to players in the same manner. Also when assigning moves there is a little video short that actually shows you the dunk, or trick in question, which is very helpful if you’re looking for the flashiest moves on the block. But beware, a new move called the trick counter has been implemented. If you’re character is doing a trick and gets countered not only do you lose the ball but a hefty amount Gamebreaker juice as well.
The sounds of the street are some of the most vibrant and exceptional pieces of music I’ve heard in a game. You want to talk about a good soundtrack then NBA Street Volume 2 is the place to go. Never have I enjoyed hip-hop while playing a game until now. There are tracks from Nelly, MC Lyte, Eric Sermon and more. The tracks also come in the vocal variety or instrumental variety. If you have the announcer turned on the the game will default to the instrumental tracks, and if you set your music to the vocal section then the announcer will be done away with. Speaking of the announcer, Bobbito Garcia also known as DJ Cucumber Slice does an excellent job at providing the in-game commentary. He gets a little off the wall at times, like when just randomly starts saying “IIIIIIIIICE CREAM IIIIIIIICE CREAM, we alllll love ice cream!” Needless to say once I heard that I shut him up good, but after giving him a second chance I must say that he is an integral part of the experience the is NBA Street.
Now lets talk about Be a Legend mode. This mode takes you from the humble beginnings of street ball to the very top of the mountain. You start out by making a character, and then you pick a team, then you are ready to go. You start from scratch with only the local recreation center open to you. As you win pick up games your street dred grows and you gain access to new areas. Also depending on your performance during the game, trick points, game breakers, all the gets factored in at the end are you are awarded points that are used to enhance your custom baller. You can also unlock more points through the rewards section from the main menu.
The number of things that can be unlocked in this game are massive. Most of the stuff can be unlocked by playing pick up games with friends. But for those out there that are impatient you can unlock stuff while playing the game by earning points through playing in the NBA Challange mod. In NBA Challange you take on all the teams in the NBA including some teams featuring some old NBA Legends. Points that are earned call unlock new courts, new players, and old jerseys worn by some of the game’s greatest players.
If there is anything negative that can be said about NBA Street Volume 2 it has to be the sometime inconsistent shot clock. Sometime you can bat a shot away as the shot clock reaches zero and the opposing team will get a fresh clock. But it never seems to work on the opposite end. Also it appears that the home team will always win the tip off. It’s not really a major deal, but it would be nice to win a tip off every now and again.
NBA Street Volume 2 is the pinnacle of street ball games, and it manages to beat out a lot of the current sim basketball games as well. If you’re looking for a fun arcade style basketball game then you have no further to look than right here.
More On:NBA Street Vol. 2
Streetballinâ€™ hits a new high with the latest effort from the EA Sports BIG label. No other street basketball game can compare to this.