Character creation is the first feature that has seen the most severe change. Forget all the tweaking we once enjoyed on previous versions of this title. You're given the ability to select a position - Forward, Guard or Center. Then within each position you're given the ability to select a player type. Each selection give you a small description ie. "plays is like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant", etc... Next you'll get to select your face from a list of pre-set faces, maybe 15 in all, I didn't count though. From there you can morph the head you selected with that of two other NBA players, very strange and unless feature IMHO. Then its onto naming your character and your "homecourt".
Next is the basics...All the mechanics are back, X and Y do tricks, while A passes and B shoots. Each shoulder button modifies the above mentioned action and some results are incredible, others are nothing new.
The best feature in NBA Street has always been tricks and dunks and In similar fashion to previous titles your player can pull of all kinds of insane and eye popping moves, however, this is also one of the next noticeable features that has been stripped down. Again we return to the arena of customization - Unlike in NBA Street 3 which had a laundry list of dunks and tricks you could unlock. Homecourt has ZERO. Yes, you heard me right... zilch, nada, nothing...
The dunks and tricks your player has will stay the same throughout the game. (However, and this is a BIG redeeming quality that saves the game from being a frustrating downgrade. ) The other NBA players you recruit throughout the Homecourt Challange mode have varied tricks and dunks, but still nothing that shows the variety that has been in previous versions.
Now we'll step away from the bad and downgraded to the fully enhanced and impressive realm. The graphics on NBA Street Homecourt are just plain fantastic. The player models look incredible and the court and environments are equally as impressive. I played at 1080i which yielded a clear and crisp picture while the animations remained clean and smooth. The visuals overall were much better, yes the graphical power of the 360 will do that, but EA went with a bit more realistic and grittier feel; a great change in the series.
The audio was impressive as well, but not in the usual EA Trax kind of way. There is actually very little music that fills the game. What really makes the game standout in this regard is the ambient sound. The players' talking and jabbing, their shoes, cars driving by, birds, spectators talking and even people's cell phones ringing. Very nice touch to the realism.
Another good change to the series is the Gamebreaker feature. We've become familiar with the impossible to stop gamebreaker. A feature that has always been there to show off the flashiness of the game, but really added little in the area of strategic gameplay. Homecourt changes the gamebreaker is a new way and it ended up being a great change. When the gamebreaker starts your teams works ups points by performing tricks and passes, as your score goes up as does the number of baskets the gamebreaker counts, a maximum of 5 points, but this time the defending team can steal the ball and make it into THEIR gamebreaker. Sometimes flipping possessions several times. For me this was the best change within the Street series. The gameplay and strategy really excel here.
Overall the game is visually stunning and I found myself on several occasions with a huge smile on my face as my character flipped through the air. Unfortunately, after several hours it got repetitive and the lack of unlockables and customization hurt it. It definitely lost out a lot in the depth category. I rented this title on Friday evening and by Sunday morning I had beaten the game, gotten a second character half way through the game as well as gotten all but 2 achievements. 900 out of 1000.
Great job, but maybe Homecourt 2 will show off some of the customization features that were dropped from 2 and 3.
Great rental...not worth the 60 bones to buy.