I eat, drink, and sleep football. Most EGM editors don't. So why do so many of them keep challenging me to a game of NFL Street? Simply put, whether you pray to the football gods every Sunday or watch pigskin only around Super Bowl time, this game appeals to the quick-thrill, pick-up-and-play gamer in all of us. Street perfectly blends the arcadey feel of old-school NFL Blitz games with NBA Street's flamboyant antics. Anything goes on these unconventional (and fantastic-looking) fields, and the gameplay reflects Street's no-holds-barred attitude. Here's an example: A defender who's just intercepted the ball starts dribbling the pigskin like a basketball downfield. Soon thereafter, he pays the price for showboating and fumbles. The team that started the play picks the ball back up and heads toward pay dirt. Before he can be slammed against the sideline wall, the ball carrier pulls a Matrix-style run up the concrete barrier, hops off like a jack rabbit, and registers six more points on the scoreboard. Yes, that was just one play in a single game, but giddily fun gameplay like this is so common that it's hard to put the controller down. These reelworthy moments (or, some might say, football follies) consistently keep the gameplay energized and unpredictable. But the game isn't without faults: Cycling through the pint-sized play-call window is a chore, playing rock-solid defense is a struggle at times, and the create-a-player has limited facial options. Still, nitpicking won't change the fact that Street is one of the most accessible and, more important, entertaining sports titles to date.
Point toward the sky and give it up for the Almighty; football has been Street-ified. And it is good. As a big fan of the first few NFL Blitz games and the NBA Street series, I was hoping NFL Street would borrow (or steal, whatever it takes) the best bits from both. And it pretty much does--though NFL Street lacks some of the polish that makes NBA Street Vol. 2 such a must-have, it easily stiff-arms Blitz as the top arcadey take on football. With the same seven players on offense and defense, the chess match (well, chess as played by hulking, non-Russian jocks) begins long before you hit the field. If you load up your team with big men, your rushing game should be unstoppable, but good luck defending the pass. If you know your opponent likes to air it out, though, get a trio of good defensive backs. OK, so maybe it's more like checkers than chess, but I like it. What I don't like is how near-impossible it is to force a turnover on downs; usually, a lucky fumble recovery or interception is the only way to stop a good offense. Everybody knows defense is supposed to win championships, dammit. I'd also like to see more plays and formations added on both sides of the ball. Now, if EA Big would just give the Street treatment to the NHL....
After Midway dropped the ball and changed its Blitz senes from 7-on-7 adrenaline roughhousing to a more traditional Madden competitor, it looked like arcade pigskin might be extinct. Thankfully, EA Big picks up that cast-down gauntlet and runs with it. NFL Street completely reimagines football, injecting fun and flava into the usually predictable genre. Anything goes in Street-- Joe Horn-type antics will earn you praise instead of fines. As my fellow reviewers pointed out, the game is slick, easy to pick up (if you've ever touched Madden, you'll know exactly what to do), and a blast to play, but the various game modes are the biggest draw for me. For example, the pickup mode rocks: Here, you and an opponent assemble a seven-man team from among 40 randomly selected players. You and your opponent take turns picking guys (just like grade-school kickball) and then duke it out. These creative modes offer cool incentives, too--you'll spend hours hooked on NFL Challenge mode, trying to unlock all the zany stadiums.
Download NFL Street
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP