AND 1 Streetball - PS2 Review
If youíve ever played games like FIFA Street 2 you know how much more insane (and fun!) sports games can get when you chuck in some showboating and trick moves. It completely changes the gameplay, and the focus changes from scoring to making your opponent look bad. It is great fun. Unfortunately, while AND 1 Streetball makes an attempt to recreate this in a basketball situation, it fails miserably due to several fatal flaws.
|Nice face paint.|
For those of you who donít know (and I didnít), AND 1 is a US team of basketball players who go around showing off trick games heavily influenced by hip hop moves and so on instead of plain basketball. You play a random player who thinks they are good enough to join up, and so after beating your first opponent and making them look bad, they sign you up for a tour. From here you follow the team around and take part in games and challenges all over the US. Itís a fairly basic concept, but it sets up the game well enough.
Obviously the main mode of play is carried out via a career mode, titled in this case the "AND 1 Mixtape Tour". This takes you from city to city as you knock off up to three different types of challenges in each city. Thereís the Open Run, where you go one on one against another amateur, and try to embarrass him. Next thereís the Side Games, which are basic games, and the main plot devices. Finally thereís the Main Run, where you join a team of amateurs to take on a squad of the AND 1 team. Completing these provides rewards in the way of clothing (to customize your player) and money, which is used to upgrade your stats.
|That's gotta hurt!|
Besides the career mode, you can have quick games against the CPU or opponent on the second controller with plenty of options available (half/full court, 1-5 players per team, etc.). Then there is a practice mode and a tutorial (which is somewhat useless Ė but more on this later).
While in a game, your main objective is obviously to score as much as you can, but there arenít only goals to think about. Using a combination of the right stick, left and right stick, or left and right stick plus the R1 shoulder button, you can pull off strings of trick moves. These are all done to get respect points. Apart from the ability to pull off a breakdown (automatic goal) with enough of these points, the tricks seem largely pointless, except to embarrass your opponent.
|In the demo theatre.|
This brings us to the first and biggest flaw of this title. The control scheme is awful, and while there tutorial gives you the basics (and I do mean basics) it doesnít help much at all. Even after learning how to block and steal, we still had trouble pulling them off. And on top of that, the trick system is haphazard at best. Itís almost impossible to tell when you are going to be allowed to transit to higher level trick, and the timing required of them is very awkward. Thankfully, the CPU opponents also seem plagued by the same problems, so itís still an easy game, but itís not fun to play. And why do we play games again?
Due to the fact that itís almost impossible to steal a ball, for human and CPU players, the in-game action is very repetitive. Whoever starts with the ball runs up and dunks it, gives it to the other. Rinse, repeat, repeat, and repeat again! Itís like watching two insanely good ping pong players rally for hours on end, without the wow factor.
Oh well, at least a game based around flashy ball-play is bound to look amazing right? Well, while animations donít look half-bad, the game itself lacks a lot of detail, and character models especially are quite awful. In particular, the custom created players, who actually get slightly pixilated if you make them into a large character, are unforgivable. There is also not much in the way of options with making your character, and they all kind of look the same no matter what you do. The animations are the only thing raising this title to a mediocre looking one.
|No time for monkey-ing around!|
Iíll start this paragraph by saying that Iím not a big hip-hop fan. However, I still loved B-Boy (a game where the hip-hop music is almost the main feature), and the already mentioned similar title, FIFA Street 2 (which had almost exclusively hip-hop tracks). The fairly sized selection of tracks in AND 1 get quite annoying after a while as they all quickly become very repetitive, meaning that by the end of a song it feels like 3 have passed. That aside, there is a decent amount of one-liners to be heard from the players during a match, but they often seem out of place and wrong.
For a game that could have been amazing fun and a great multiplayer title, AND 1 Streetball is horrible. Hell, for a decent title worthy of a weekend rental itís horrible. Even without the disgustingly difficult and frustrating control scheme, it looks one step behind all other basketball titles, sounds fairly average and plays very repetitively. There is no reason to pick this up if you have another basketball game, and if you donít have another, get one!
Review By: Michael Hutchesson
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
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|GRAPHICS||Fairly bland. Character models are boring and get pixilated and blocky! Animations are ok though.||48%|
|SOUND||Very repetitive music, though thereís lots of it. Average voiceovers that seem out of place.||45%|
|GAMEPLAY||Repetitive with awful controls. Thereís not much of challenge here either.||40%|
|VALUE||The tour mode is fairly long and thereís a few multiplayer options, though good luck finding another person online with this! It all feels the same though Ė probably not going to pick this up a second time.||60%|
|OVERALL||There was potential for a great game, but it falls flat on its face. Donít both with it unless you have too much money for your own good.||48%|