AND 1 Streetball Review

First came NBA Jam, then NBA Street – now AND 1 Streetball. The latest in a long history of arcade-style basketball games AND 1 Streetball was inspired by the style, player finesse, and a mixed tape of rap music.

Gamers expecting to feel like a pro the second they start playing will be happy to hear that And 1 Streetball takes advantage of the NBA Jam / Street basics. This game has its own version of the EA “trick stick,” letting you perform several different moves with the right analog stick. It seems a little intimidating at first, if not a little unpredictable. I ran around the court, pushing the right stick in every direction. Doing so quickly did not yield decent results. Rather, it caused the same simple move to be performed repeatedly until I let the stick go.

This was strange, I thought. I decided to stand still and push the stick more lightly and more precisely to check its sensitivity. Sure enough, my eagerness was the problem. First of all, the game has two kinds of moves (called I Ball moves) that can be executed with the right stick. By pushing the stick a small amount (say, in the upper right corner), you’ll perform a Dizzy Branch. That’s a stationary move. It makes your opponent dizzy, or at least that’s the intent, enabling you to sneak past and go for a shot. Likewise, push the stick toward the bottom left corner and you’ll perform a trickster move. It’s what the game calls a “Crownin’ Branch.”

Gameplay: 5.5

NBA Street with different moves and more ballers, minus the polished gameplay. The analog stick’s heightened sensitivity is not as innovative as it is a refinement. Aside from that one element, AND 1 Streetball feels a bit clunky and, in single-player, excessively repetitive.

Graphics: 5.9

Six years ago this game would’ve looked great. Today it’s a bit out of style. Clunky player animations and poor background detail detract from the intricate details found in some of the players.

Sound: 6.5

Loads of rap music from an exclusive AND 1 Mixtape. I’m not really into the genre, but these tracks are better than the average over-played music video.

Difficulty: Medium

Have you mastered NBA Street yet? Those who have won’t find many hurdles in conquering AND 1 Streetball’s story mode. Multiplayer battles are much more challenging and rewarding, assuming your friends can stand up to your mad skills.

Concept: 6.0

Multiplayer: 6.5

A time-killer for you and your buds. Won’t knock your socks off, but it’s something new to master in the vein of NBA Street. Online is limited to two players, while the multi-tap peripheral lets you hit the court with seven others.

Overall: 6.0

Arcade sports fans haven’t had too many new titles to get excited about these days, especially those who want nothing more than an NBA Street-killer. AND 1 Streetball doesn’t fulfill that dream, however, there is some joy to be had within the multiplayer experience. Rent it, but be sure to return it on time – it’s worth $8 for a seven-day lease, but doesn’t have enough oomph to make it a must-buy at the full price.

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