NFL Street 2 Unleashed PSP Review

As if EA Sports didn't have enough football games on its roster, they decided to try their hand with the arcade style game patterned off the "NBA Street" series. Now ported to the PSP, "NFL Street Unleashed" is a solid game of on-the-go football, a near exact port of the PS2 version. That's either a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you're looking for, but football fanatics should be happy.

What "NFL Street" does well is offer up a variety of gameplay modes. There's so much to do, you'll certainly get your moneys worth before it's over. The NFL Challenge is seemingly a good starting point, requiring you to create and entire squad, groom them via certain challenges, and then take them up against the real NFL teams. Own the City is an expanded pick-up game (where you recruit players after creating one of your own) and solid second choice. If phony players are not your style, take on the NFL Gauntlet that follows the precedent set by "NFL Blitz" where you tackle (no pun intended) each team one by one. Finally, play some mini-games, some of which are rather stupid however (end zone dancing?).

On the field, this is fast, brutal game of football. You have little time to think, the playbook is thin, and you're always looking to build up your Gamebreaker meter. You do this in various ways, but for the most part, just playing well is going to move this in your favor. You can move it up to perform a level 2 Gamebreaker that practically guarantees you a touchdown, and there's little your opponent can do to prevent it.

The biggest change to "Street 2" from the original is the ability to bounce off walls. You can dodge tackles, catch passes, or get over your opponents head to grab an interception. That's really the only major change from the first game, as it really didn't need much mixing up in the first place. It's just a fun, well-programmed piece of software that's even better with multiple players (though that's not online).

The biggest problems here are the load times. It seemingly takes forever to get a game up and running while creating a character requires a lot of patience. Everything has to be loaded with every change, each one requiring a brief pause as the disc spins. It's aggravating, and that's being kind.

The player models have undergone very little change from the console version. You can notice the polygon counts have taken a hit, but they're still solid and make fair representations of the real players. The colors are bright and the backgrounds feature solid details. If you've played the home version, you'll likely be pleasantly surprised just how accurate this game is. If not, you'll still know this is a solid presentation.

Unfortunately, the audio is awful for two reasons. First, all the music is streamed right from the disc, killing battery life. It never stops, playing through entire games and menus. Second, there's absolutely no variety whatsoever. It's either rap or punk. Turning off the music leaves you with bare bones, repetitive sound effects that hardly immerse you into the game. There's no commentary of course and few voice samples.

If you've already spent hours playing this game at home, then there's no reason to get this portable rendition. Sure, it's a great game of arcade football (the only football game currently for the PSP). However, you'll need to start from scratch here. If this is your first time with the game, then yes, this is a worthy purchase, one made better since it's portable. Just be sure your battery is fully charged before heading out with this on in the drive.

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