GAMECUBE REVIEW: NBA STREET V3

The advent of street based sports titles has exploded thanks mostly to EA's take on this exciting new genre. You'll usually find all of the same sports stars present and accounted for in the street games but you're allowed to play by the rules of the street which makes the games accessible to anyone who loves a game of basketball on the neighborhood court or a game of football in the park. And we know that you guys love your outdoor sports.

For those unsure of what separates the street games from the "real" games, NBA Street V3 is a three on three blacktop brawl for the ball. It features real NBA teams with reduced player lists. Since it's in the vein of the original arcade b-ball game, NBA Jam, you won't be playing the game with the same rules of reality. It's all about style and glitz, building up your tricks and maxing out your "gamebreaker" meter which allows you dunk or shoot with maximum stylepoints and if you connect you'll take points away from the other team.

Taking sports games online has afforded this genre with an incredible breath of fresh air and NBA Street V3 is no different. Please note that the GC version doesn't allow online play and instead offers up three of Nintendo's biggest stars as compensation for this. The PS2 and Xbox versions are online playable, however they don't feature Mario, Luigi or Princess Peach but I'm happy to say that all three console versions are pretty equal in terms of performance. The Cube and Xbox version eek past the PS2 in terms of graphics and the PS2 suffers from longer load times, but no one will walk away disappointed at the end of the day.

Where the three console versions diverge is in the control configuration. Due to the overhauled control scheme which involves using the R analog stick to control the newly appointed "trick stick" which gives players 8 different directions of juking bliss which can be combined with the turbo buttons (mapped to the shoulder buttons), players who own more than one console might want to select the system which has the most comfortable controller in their opinion. In this case, the PS2 wins out due to the fact that the controller is quite honestly one of the best ergonomically designed controllers in the history of the universe. If you disagree, you're an Xbox or GameCube fanboy!

If you're looking for a simple game of streetball I'd recommend just going outside. It doesn't get much simpler that that. The amount of control over tricks, dunks, combos and passing is pretty overwhelming, especially if this is your first introduction to the NBA Street series. Watching skilled players flaunt their mastery over this game is akin to taking in ballet; it's an exquisite dance which may look easy to perform but the reality is much different. Noobs will be fumbling all over the place, tripping over themselves in an effort to look cool. Spend some time in the all-new single player career mode and log hundreds of hours offline before you even consider stepping outside your IP address, unless humiliation is something you're drawn to.

The single player street challenge mode is new this time around and it's a welcome addition. You will work your way through 12 different courts during a 10 week stint and you will play dozens of matches. The ultimate goal of the street challenge is to increase your reputation and earn points which in turn allows you to recruit better players for your team as well as spend points in the store to outfit your character etc.

The customization available to you in V3 is staggering. Created players not only have hundreds of different looks, clothes, hair etc. but how they perform on the court is directly related to the body type you have chosen. Smaller guys will be easier to upgrade speed, while larger guys will lack agility and need to focus on shooting and blocking skills.

If the online play and street challenge wasn't enough, there is even a Dunk Mode available to you. Unlike some of EA Sports other "dunk competition" found in their other basketball offerings, this mode is pretty lightweight and will probably only be used sparingly due to it's lack of depth and challenge. Once you visit it once or twice there really isn't any reason to come back.

Graphic hounds will be blown away at the sheer style and presentation of V3. Everything looks great, from the character models, court designs, lighting effects and animation. It really doesn't get any better than this and I think it's a real technical achievement how smooth the combos transition in a game with such complex movement.

This is an excellent addition to the series and it's easy to see why it's been two years since Volume 2. While it expands on the formula set by previous versions, it doesn't change them just for the sake of change; the alterations have resulted in a better playing game all around. With the advent of online play for the PS2 and Xbox, V3 promises to provide literally months, if not years, of replay value.

PS2 Owners: The load times suck but the graphics are actually pretty darn close to the Xbox and Cube, which surpised me. Online play is pretty good, but I found it to be more laggy than XBL. As mentioned though, you've got the controller that makes this game a breeze to play.

Xbox Owners: The best graphics by a small margin, load times are zooming and the online play is unrivaled. However even the smaller size of the S controller manages to mar the experience just a tad. I play a lot of Xbox and I'm used to it, but I would definitely consider getting one of those peripherals that allows me to use a PS2 controller in my Xbox.

Cube Owners: Great graphics, no online play and personally the controller just downright blows in my opinion. It's unintuative and aside from the A and B buttons, the button positioning on the Cube was designed by someone who knows nothing about ergonomics or heck, while I'm at it, color schemes, but that's beside the point. What you do get is Mario, Luigi and Peach as playable characters and your own Mushroom Kingdom court to play on. This is a fun novelty but it begins and ends there. Novelty. These characters just don't fit in a basketball game and their appearance is somewhat unsettling.

Preview by Chris

EA had a great hit with the first NBA Street. The second attempt was decent but got out done by Midway's NBA Ballers. So now it looks like EA Big is adding everything and even including something special for the GC owners. I guess this is their way of making up for the lack of any online mode missing from the GC version. The game will feature a cast of characters that fans of the series will know. However, they are also adding new characters including Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach. No- I am not joking. It is not a rumor. The three will be in the game. The question will be if you need to unlock them or not. It looks like each version will have something unique added to it. For the Xbox owners the game will finally feature an online mode where you can get 5 of your friends together for a fast 3-on 3-dunk fest! While the PS2 players have already had their online mode, they can expect some new moves and a faster paced game.

I have always enjoyed the game and the idea behind it. While I still think the first game was the best one, I have to admit V3 is looking like it will provide fans with some of the most insane moves more dunk combos (500,000+) than ever before. No misprint! In addition to the combos it will also provide the ability to create your very own combo moves.

While the basic game remains pretty much the same formula, it also looks like new modes are being added to expand the game and push the experience a bit further. I really hope the game is as good as they are saying it will be. The chance to play with the legends and the new characters sounds great. Players can also expect the same great animations and brand new moves and effects. You can provide your own smack talk; however, knowing the series I am sure the characters will have some great one-liners themselves. This is technically the PS2 preview due to the fact the screen shots and game features listed are from the PS2 version. Fans can expect this one in stores in early February!

Press:

The highly-anticipated third chapter in the multi-platinum-selling NBA Street series rises above the rim and expands on the customization and variety of game modes and gameplay that helps distinguish the franchise within EA's rich basketball portfolio. Gamers can build their reputation as they create the future of street basketball with all-new jaw-dropping, ankle-breaking, rim-shaking moves in visually stimulating environments, from favorite courts like "The Cage" and "Rucker Park" to the next generation of streetball sanctuaries, like "Venice Beach". It all adds up to give V3 a revolutionary style all its own.

Featuring NBA legends, today's top stars, and original characters from past editions, NBA Street V3 reaches new heights by making over-the-top, larger-than-life moves even bigger in this action-packed, arcade-style game. Customize your baller, build courts from the ground up, throw one down in an all-new dunk contest and go online to put your reputation to the test.

Features:

  • It's Air time! -- NBA Street V3 rises above the rim with all-out, head-to-head streetball with 500,000 dunk combinations -- use any combo to build a dunk of your own. Package it all up with a gravity-defying mid-air maneuver and a highlight-reel finish to help build a reputation on the streets.
  • Nintendo All-Star Team: Play as Mario, Princess Peach and Luigi - Nintendo GameCube Exclusive
  • Dunk Contest -- Execute big-air dunks with the innovative new dunk control system. Throw it down over objects like cars and dumpsters to impress the panel of judges in this game mode where creativity and imagination rule.
  • Court Creator -- Customize your own court using different surface, rim, and backboard options with all-new Court Creator. After it's personalized with ad banners and team logos, move it online for the Street world to see.
  • Player Customization -- Put your reputation on the line with a customized player or your own created baller. Develop your own style and attitude by hookin' him up with more than 1,000 items including personalized dunks, shoes, and jerseys.
  • Street Goes Online -- Play online against the nation's baddest ballers in 3-on-3 showdowns with five other live players, or attract the best players to your 'hood by hosting games on your created court. New World Environments -- Twelve authentic courts stretch across the globe including new venues in Europe and Brighton Beach. Each court has new lighting and detailed graphics with its own unique setting. PS2 / Xbox only
  • New "Punk'd" Tricks -- Embarrass your opponent by throwing the ball under his arm or wrapping it around his head, or trick out a defender with an Off The Bootay move. With all-new trick dribbles, dunks, player celebrations, taunts, passes, shots, and lay-ups, your Street game just jumped to the next level.
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System: Xbox, PS2, GC
Dev: EA
Pub: EA
Release: Feb 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
3.5
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
5.0