NFL Street

Review

posted 2/16/2004 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Before I get into the review, I need to tell you that I’m an old school football guy. I’m not a fan of all this crap with cell phones, sharpies, and pre-printed signs in the end zone. I’m a “toss the ball to the ref and pretend that I’ve been there” kind of guy. Sack dances? Please, you don’t see the lineman getting up and doing a pancake dance do you? With that out of the way, I will admit I’m a big fan of big bone-crushing hits, jukes that leave defenders staring into space, and blinding speed. When EA Big announced NFL Street, I was interested to see how much different this game would be from Midway’s classic NFL Hitz series. While the there are some similarities, NFL Street brings some new concepts to the table.

NFL Street is not your standard football game. It’s a seven on seven affair where all of the players play offense and defense. The game leaves out special teams play so you don’t have to worry about being held back by having a kicker on your team (there are certainly times I wish the NFL had this setup…seriously, don’t you hate it when a hard-fought game is determined by a kicker?). The other big change is how first downs are handled. Rather than gaining a first down and then only having to go another ten yards, there are specific first down markers on each field. So if you complete a long pass down the field, you could run past two first down markers and end up with only four downs to put it in the end zone. If you’ve ever played adult flag football, you know what I’m talking about. This took a bit of time getting used to and certainly adds something of a strategic element to the game. This combined with the clack of special teams is a double-edged sword though as you’re hosed if you don’t get that first, first down. Between this and how first downs are handled (more on that later), the battle for field position is critical to the game.

The main emphasis is style. The game reeks of it and in order to succeed at the game you’ll have to swallow your old school roots and embrace the culture of the game. Style points are earned by pulling off style moves. These moves range from taunting your opponents to pulling off offensive style moves on runs, passes, and laterals. You can also earn style points on defense by making big defensive plays (sacks, interceptions, stopping a runner for a loss). The style points fill up your GameBreaker meter and once you’ve filled it (around 100,000 style points) you’ll earn a GameBreaker. GameBreakers turn your selected player into an unstoppable football maniac. You will retain your GameBreaker until the possession changes. If you’re on offense, you’re going to score and if you’re on defense you’re probably going to get a turnover or stop your opponent. Another option is to hold onto your GameBreaker and use it to nullify a GameBreaker that your opponent earns. This is helpful if you’re beating a team and want to ensure that they don’t switch momentum in the latter stages of a game. It’s also a great way to annoy the person you’re playing, as it creates a bit of suspension as to when you’re going to use it.

The only downside to the focus on style is that it creates some awkward moments. Sure you expect to see Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Joe Horn styling down the side line but it’s a bit much to see Jeff Garcia and Jon Kitna taunting you when they pull off a big play. I actually managed to unlock Walter Payton and I could hear him spinning in his grave when I performed a taunt before scoring a touchdown. There are some not quite as showy moves, which should help those who, like me, aren’t big on this side of the game.
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