In a genre that is overrun with titles, it takes something unique to distinguish a sport title from the rest of the pack. Activision most recent attempt, Street Hoops, takes us to the streets for a different look at basketball, but is it enough to make us want to purchase the title? Sure the grittiness and potential for hard, full-contact street ball sounds good, but does it have the depth and solid game play required to warrant purchasing the game instead of renting it? The verdict is' almost.
All the moves that you would expect for street ball are included: the hard foul, hand checking, several variations of rim rattling dunks, taunts, the give and go, crossovers and jukes. Street Hoops even includes training videos to quickly familiarize yourself with the moves. Kudos to Activision for including this useful feature, but as nice as the selections of moves are, they just aren't enough to carry the game play and you quickly find yourself repeating a couple of the moves over and over again.
Activision does a great job in creating the proper attitude and feel for a street game of hoops, down to the ability to customize your players by purchasing new hairdos, tattoos and clothing. They faithfully recreate some of the hottest courts from around the United States and add a nice touch by including some of the masters of the street hoop game, which you can unlock by earning some cash out on the court.
As nice as this all is, when it comes to down to playing ball, the graphics and game play just aren't strong enough to warrant buying it. The game boils down to finding out a way to exploit the AI and then just repeating it. The music and commentators are decent enough, but after a couple of days of playing through the World Tour, you quickly grow tired of the frequently repeated comments.
There are reasons to like this game and for some gamers that will be enough reason to purchase the game, but it's just not the complete package. My advice, rent it first.
Download Street Hoops
Arcade style basketball has just received a new addition with Street Hoops by Activision. Complete with all the attitude and fast paced basketball you would expect, this tried and true formula for non-professional basketball has found instant success with large audiences in the past. In the past however, games like NBA Street delivered more than attitude and street clothes as the game was well balanced especially on the court. Although Street Hoops does bring you to the street basketballs courts, it has a number of serious gameplay issues and never takes you onto the court.
The gameplay issue is the biggest problem to overcome. Once the controls become familiar, the game is reduced to mashing the steal button and chasing after the player with the ball until it's knocked free. This can be followed by a pass, pass, juke, and shoot that will score over 95% of the time. When you do score, usually by dunking, money is awarded that can be used to purchase clothes, haircuts, or bet on your team. This is where the game brings you to the street courts, but not onto them. The attitude and style of your players can be modified but without balanced, challenging gameplay, the feature probably won't get used much as watching the players with different haircuts isn't going to get you past the weak gameplay.
Another area that is disappointing is the graphics. When watching the game, you'll have a difficult time saying the game was running on a next generation console. It definitely falls below standard graphics for most Xbox games and doesn't get the physics right either. The audio however isn't as bad with DMX and others adding to the sound track. Some of the commentary sounds forced and doesn't always flow well.
It's hard to tell exactly where Street Hoops went wrong but maybe too much effort was spent trying to create the right atmosphere while the gameplay was forgotten. Whatever the reason, be cautious before buying as you can definitely find a better way to spend $50.