NFL Street Review

Over the top football action featuring smaller squads, big hits, fancy moves, and a healthy dose of trash talking. Sound like the latest release of NFL Blitz? Perhaps, but the game Iím describing is NFL Street, EA Sports Bigís first foray into the world of football.

If youíve played NBA Street then you probably have a good idea of what NFL Street is all about. It takes NFL players out of the stadiums and onto streets and sandlots to play pick-up style games of football. On the streets the emphasis is on style and embarrassing your opponent, so while scoring points is still important it is even more important to look good while doing so. The game keeps track of your, well style, with style points. Good plays on both sides of the ball are rewarded with style points depending on the play, and the more good moves you can pull off the more points you get. Tip a pass, intercept it, and break a couple of tackles on your way to the end zone and youíll rack up the points.

Diving for six.

Remember how I mentioned that it is important that you look good while playing? Well the game provides you with a few helpful features for this. The first is a turbo button that draws its power from a turbo meter. Turbo improves the abilities of the player that youíre controlling making him run faster, jump higher, hit harder, etc. The effect lasts as long as thereís still juice in the turbo meter, after which youíll need to lay-off the turbo until the meter recharges.

In addition to a turbo button, the game gives you a style button. Holding the style button down allows you to use the other buttons to show some flash by high-stepping, spinning, or taunting. Showing style during a play really boosts your style points score, especially if you can string a few moves together or perform a move for a long stretch of time such as high-stepping your way down the sideline on your way to a long touchdown. You need to be cautious while showing off, though, as it makes you vulnerable to being really lit up by the defense. You might end up showboating your way into a big stick and cough up the football.

The style points arenít just used to measure how good you look while playing. As you accumulate style points you fill a power meter. Once full, you can press a button to turn one of your players into a super-charged impact player for one possession, either on offense or defense. Impact players are hard to stop, so this feature is a big boost when you need to score a critical touchdown or prevent your opponent from doing so.

Some changes to the gameís rules come with the move to the streets. First of all the teams have been reduced from eleven on a side to seven - you get a quarterback, running back, two receivers, and three linemen. There are no kickers in sight, because there is no kicking in the game. There are no field goals and you always play four down football because there is no punting. The rules of the game are almost guidelines, and thereís no crying about pass interference or complaining about tripping over a beach ball that strayed onto the field.

The smaller team size also comes with a smaller playbook than youíll find in most football games. Plays are grouped into three categories, run, pass, and trick, and your formation depends entirely on the play you select to run. Though the playbook is smaller, with just 18 plays in each category, there are a variety of plays to choose from so youíre not just stuck with your basic runs up the middle or streak routes. However, during gaming sessions itís not uncommon to feel that you are rerunning the plays over and over.