The last NFL STREET was a game that rekindled all of my fond memories for the NFL BLITZ franchise. As with all EA titles, the new features in the sequel help expand the gameplay. But in the case of STREET 2, these features may not be enough to keep the game entirely new in this edition.
For those unfamiliar with NFL STREET, the game is 7-on-7 football featuring NFL Players and Legends in a game to 36. What is interesting in the game is that the players you take must play on both sides of the ball. Taking a very specialized pocket QB may work great for your passing game, but he may not play very well as a safety. The same thing goes for your linemen, taking O-line men ensures offensive protection and run-blocking, but little pressure on your opponent's QB. The balanced team ends up with a bit of every position in the game, giving you weak and strong points on each team.
One of the most fun things in the game is to create a team and slowly build it up, bringing in new NFL Players and adding skill points to players. It's nice when your QB is finally good at pass coverage, and your linemen are effective both ways. Unfortunately, this also dulls the game a bit, as all players are proficient.
New to the game this year is the ability to run along and bounce off of the walls to avoid tackles, as well as spring off the wall to get a better angle as the QB, or spring off the wall to catch a ball that is too high for the WR. The wall play is a nice feature, and makes the edges of the field make it much more interesting.
Another new yet seemingly unimportant addition is the "Gamebreaker 2." By getting your Gamebreaker bar full, and then recharging a secondary bar full again, you can get a special cut scene that almost ensures a touchdown. Still, using two gamebreakers to force a pair of turnovers or a couple of sure touchdowns seems like a better idea to me.
Other new additions include some multiplayer game modes including a nifty 4-on-4 mode where you have five seconds to throw the ball and no dedicated QB running plays. There's also some one-on-one and a two minute drill mode as well as other games that challenge you to use the basic skills of the game to get past the computer.
Graphics wise the game looks pretty good, though a bit dated on the PS2 and pixilated. I felt like I was looking at the PlayStation 2 aging the way the PSOne did with super pixilated graphics. Even then, the animation and game looks good and the game is no eyesore, even on the PS2.
Sound wise, EA Trax is a little heavy on the rap for me, but all in all I was impressed with the selection. The sound effects and voices are recycled but acceptable.
All in all, NFL STREET 2 is a worthy sequel if just for the ability to use the walls as part of the gameplay. My favorite mode is still the one where you must pick your team from a random group of players and go at and opponent in the same situation putting square pegs in round holes has never been as much fun in the NFL.