NBA Street Showdown Review / Preview for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

NBA Street Showdown Review / Preview for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

What I experienced with NBA Street Showdown is indicative of what we can expect with most PSP games copied from PS2 versions, which is a re-creation that is somewhere between 60-70% of the original. It’s great for a portable handheld but it’s never going to come close to a top-shelf PS2 version.

It’s with this in mind that we should review future games, although comparisons are realistically unavoidable. NBA Street Showdown for the PSP is good enough to make it as a stand-alone game. It still manages to pack a lot of features and modes while not forsaking the gameplay. Obviously the control system has been simplified but with less buttons than the PS2 controller that’s a given, although the developers assigned some of the buttons for double duty. More on that later.

NBA Street is an arcade, three-on-three basketball game that is a very simplified form of hoops. All you need to do is get and keep control of the ball and attempt to score as many points as possible by dunking or shooting it into the net. There is only one net for both teams. Moves include dribbling, running, passing, shooting and dunking.

There is an assortment of juke moves available that you can access from the interface but you can only use a few of them in each match. Throughout a tournament you might be able to use them all but due to the limited amount of buttons there is only one trick and two turbo buttons. The shoot and trick meter can be tapped to access one move and held down to access another. This makes good use of limited space but it comes at the price of instant response. There is a slight delay when you hold down one of the buttons which can throw the timing of your game off. At times it’s a debate if this even should have been included as it does tend to hinder some of the gameplay especially when you’re surrounded by aggressive AI.

Putting together combos with passes, jukes and dunk moves will increase the juice in the Gamebreaker meter. Once filled you can use it to blaze a trail up to the backboard to score a point and take away a few of your opponent’s points in the progress. It’s a way to win and make your opponent lose at the same time.

You can create your own player and outfit him with bling bling and other sports accessories but it’s the ability to purchase new moves and skills that really makes a difference. In this Career mode you’ll play on a variety of real-life urban courts that look incredibly realistic. Pick-up games let you play with some actual NBA stars as well as legends such as Magic Johnson. A Showdown mode lets you play against three other players with a couple of turn-based mini games. You just pass the game system around from player to player.

A wireless, two-player mode is offered for head-to-head play. Things can get a blurry onscreen at times but the framerate and animation are smooth. The players’ numbers are enlarged and easy to read.

NBA Street is not without its limitations. You can’t trade players, you can’t update the roster and the one that’s included isn’t up-to-date either. The commentary repeats quickly and it doesn’t have all the same features and modes as the PS2. In it’s defense it’s got some nice graphics, good sound effects and music in addition to a save-anywhere feature that lets you get right back to where you left off when you shut the game down. The multi-player modes add replay value.

Like the basketball game that street hoops is based on, NBA Street Showdown is a simplified version of the next-gen console game that it was based on.

PReview by Chris
It was just a few days ago that EA announced special content for the GC version of NBA Street V3. How EA got permission to use Nintendo’s classic characters still has some of us around here scratching our heads. I guess EA is really pulling out all the stops to prove they want to dominate the sports sales charts. Now it looks like EA has big plans for the PSP system. NBA Street Showdown will feature the same basic style of game play while adding a few neat extras. Now that Sony has released more info on the release of the PSP to North America, it seems we are getting a better grasp of what to expect in the way of games.

EA proudly showed off the handheld version of Street for the PSP at CES and also showed that gamers will be able to watch some music videos from the game’s sound track. EA has unveiled a new feature called Pocket Trax. Basically full versions of the actual music videos will be hidden away for players to unlock and watch in-between the action of Street. While I am all for new and different things, I can’t say that I will be all that excited since the soundtrack is not my cup of tea. However, I do think it’s a neat idea as long as it’s quality videos. Knowing EA and Sony, I am sure the quality won’t be an issue. However, battery life might be an issue since it’s still unknown how long the PSP will last when watching things like videos, movies etc. So we will have more on this as we get it. As far as the game, the theme will change slightly to allow the 4-player action and make use of Sony’s wireless features. We also expect more hidden content to be announced, Perhaps interviews with real NBA players or legends hidden in the game?

In any case the screen shots look good and the game looks like it will be ready for the systems launch date. Stay tuned folks, as we will have more screens and features as soon as we can get them.

PReview by Chris

EA is making a version of their popular NBA Street series for the PSP system. It makes sense now you can play on the streets for real I know that was a bad pun but oh well – it’s a slow day.

While all the PSP games are in the early stages we have seen the screen shots and comments from those who where lucky enough to see trailers of the games in action. EA Sports is going to create the same game that fans of the series have enjoyed in the past. It will feature some great graphics and it seems to be able to handle all the action that is going on. It looks a little less sharp than the PS2 version right now but for all intents and purposes, it should look pretty hot when it hits the streets thanks to the PSPs impressive under the hood architecture.

Sony has some big companies making games and support for the new PSP system is increasing. EA is a big name and we are sure they are going to produce a quality version for the handheld system. Take a look at the screen shots and we will try and provide some movies of the demo as well. Since the system is not due out until 2005 details are still limited but they are starting to release more details every week. We will be updating the PSP games and details as we get them.

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System: PSP
Dev: EA
Pub: EA
Released: April 2005
Players: 1 – 4
Review by Dean
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