Thanks to EA BIG, the over-the-top game of street ball is back, and back in style. Following up on EA’s recent success, Activision --mostly known for their excellent work with the Tony Hawk series-- plans to expand the genre even further, making their own version of this popular suburban/city based pastime.
One of NBA Street’s greatest aspects was the way that the different animations were pulled off so fluidly and they would link to one another in a perfect manner. With that said, Black Ops is working very hard on incorporating smooth animations and trying to help make the overall gameplay flow well. As of now, all the animations are up to par including the dribble, pass, shoot, and other various moves. In addition, there are 8 camera views to chose from, which lets you play that action from a vast number of ways.
From the start you’ll notice that Black Ops and Activision have taken a different rode from that of EA BIG. While most of the real-life famous courts spanning all over the country are essentially the same ones, Street Hoops uses a different set of players: pure street ballers. These guys don’t play in the NBA, heck, they probably don’t even want to. What this bunch does is make tons of money off of tournaments and videos, such as the And 1 Mixtapes and the notorious Nike commercials. Hard-core street ballers found in the game are 1/2 Man-1/2 Amazing (no, not Vince Carter), AO, Booger, Headache, Hot Sauce, Speedy, The Future, and The Main Event. Without any NBA license, hence no NBA stars, this may seem as somewhat of a letdown. But if you’ve ever seen any of the aforementioned players on an And 1 Mixtape, you’ll be literally frozen in awe, and your slow-motion button on your remote will quickly ware out. After all, this is a street ball game, so why not utilize the ‘true’ street ball players. Right?
Straying away from the traditional in-your-face basketball game, Street Hoops is played much more like a street ball sim. World Tour, which is basically the substitute for a season mode, lets you take your ballas all over the country --playing the best players in the world. The focus isn’t to try to make it to the playoffs , but instead, to place money on your games in hopes to win a lot of cash after victories. Other modes of play include Full and Half Court pickup and King of the Court, which is basically ‘winner stays, loser leaves.’
These modes of play can be carried out in numerous of the popular courts around the world, with the addition of a few fantasy courts. Real-life locations include Chicago, The Cage, The Dome, LA, Washington D.C., and Venice Beach. All of these were closely built around their real-life counterparts.
Black Ops has done a tremendous job on clothing for the ballers. They’re baggy, stylish, and they just do a great job to represent some of the gear the different players sport in real-life. The players as well as the courts aren’t that impressive so far, but they still have a few months to touch them up and add some more detail.
Hoops also has a nicely built create-a-player and it supports two multi-taps for up to 8 players simultaneously. Thankfully, Street Hoops has taken a few pointers from the awesome NBA Street, but it seems that an adequate amount of new and different things have been added. Thought, it’s kind of hard to not think that this might just be a lackluster NBA Street rip-off; hopefully it will prove to be a false assumption. We’ll see whether or not this July, which is the current release date.
2/27/2002 Joseph Comunale