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NBA Street Homecourt PlayStation 3

Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Sports BIG
Release Date: Out Now

The NBA Street series has consistently produced quality titles over the years and it's great to see the series arrive on the PlayStation 3 so early in its lifespan. Due to the PlayStation 3 being delayed for around four months here in Europe, NBA Street Homecourt has managed to be a launch title and for a launch title it's definitely an impressive effort. There are however, some key differences in Homecourt and for longstanding fans of the series, these differences will take some adjusting to.

The modes on offer in NBA Street Homecourt are Pick Up Game, Homecourt Challenge, Gamebreaker Battle, Trick Battle, Back to Basics, Custom Game, Online and Practice.  The first thing you'll want to do though is to choose the Create Baller option from the menu. Here you'll get to select whether you want to be a guard, forward or centre. Next you'll get to choose your baller class and his appearance. Once you've created your baller you'll want to play through the Homecourt Challenge mode in order to develop him. The Homecourt Challenge mode is essentially the heart of the game, as it's here you'll take your baller from his local homecourt to those of the NBA. To begin with you'll name your homecourt and then you'll pick two recruits to complete your team. Once you're done with that you'll get to play through a variety of challenges. As challenges are completed your player levels up (and gains better skills), gains access to more competent team-mates, more courts to play on and better clothing amongst other things. The Homecourt Challenge mode is worth the asking price by itself.

We mentioned at the start of the review that there some key differences in Homecourt. Aside from the Homecourt Challenge mode there's not a lot to keep the single-player occupied. Each of the other modes offers slight variations on the basic game. Gamebreaker Battle is a game where points are scored only in Gamebreaker mode. Trick Battle gives a point to the first team to fill their Gamebreaker Meter and score a point. Back to Basics is just that as Trick Points and Gamebreakers are removed. Custom Game lets you choose the point system and the speed at which the Gamebreaker develops. Pick Up Game simply drops you into an exhibition game with the minimum of fuss. Whilst this may seem like a lot of modes, none of these modes are going to hold your attention for long and they lack variety when compared with modes that have been found in previous titles in the series.  Even the online play feels a little basic and doesn't do anything to add replay value to the title. Another key difference is that the right analogue stick has become less important as it can no longer be used to perform tricks. This is a strange decision as the right analogue stick always seemed like an intuitive method of performing tricks.

The previous game in the NBA Street series, NBA Street V3, was on the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox so it stands to reason that a big leap in graphical quality was expected, seeing as we are dealing with a PlayStation 3 title, with NBA Street Homecourt. Those expectations have been fully realised as the game looks very good, even if you are playing on a standard TV set. Both the players and the various courts you play on in the game all look great. Best of all though is the frame rate because even with the high quality of the graphics the frame rate remains first rate throughout. If there's one criticism I do have of the graphics it's that I wish I could turn off the sepia tint as its novelty soon wears off.

In regards to its deaf gamers support, NBA Street Homecourt could be better. The introductory video and closing video that plays when you begin and finish creating a baller. Cutscenes in the Homecourt Challenge mode are also not subtitled. In fact none of the cutscenes in the game are subtitled. During games your players, and opponent's players, will make comments and none of these are subtitled. Of course all these omissions are unfortunate and it does take away some of the game's ambience but essentially you can still enjoy the game.

NBA Street Homecourt is both impressive and mildly disappointing. The game looks great and plays well. When you consider that the game has turned out to be a PlayStation 3 launch title here in Europe, you have to say it's impressive for a launch title. In terms of content it's disappointing as aside from the Homecourt Challenge mode there's no other mode that's worthwhile. Of course the Homecourt Challenge mode is very enjoyable and it's here where fans of the series will spend 99% of their time. Indeed the Homecourt Challenge mode is reason enough for fans of the series to pick themselves up a copy.

Overall Game Rating 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification C
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In many ways NBA Street Homecout is impressive. A greater variety of game modes could have been included though.