Regular NBA basketball may be one of the coolest sports around, but it's still governed by a strict set of rules and the laws of physics. Luckily for you, NBA STREET Homecourt has no such restrictions, meaning anything you've ever wanted to do on a basketball court is now possible, and possible to do with STYLE.
Style is very much the name of the game here. That, and making your opponents look like fools. The Square and Triangle buttons control your tricks while holding L1 or R1 modifies them, letting you mix your attacks up. These range from dribbling the ball behind your back to an off-da-heezy - bouncing the ball off your opponent's head. There are even breakdancing spins and body-popping to incorporate into your attack and provide multipliers for your mounting trick score.
Pulling off these Trick Moves and linking them with combos and dunks increases your Gamebreaker Meter. Once the meter is full, a circle in the centre of the court lights up and you can activate a Gamebreaker. Any tricks you pull off during Gamebreaker mode add to your score multiplier, and the higher the multiplier, the higher the reward when you score.
Nothing but net
Scoring is one of the most fun parts of NBA STREET Homecourt. Sure, you can take long distance, highly technical shots, but why would you want to with the range of gravity-defying, super-cool dunks on offer? Players somersault and back flip before dunking the ball through their legs, behind their back or kicking off the backboard, and you can even dunk once, kick the ball back up and then dunk it again for a second point. Lay-ups and alley-oops are just as impressive, with receiving players flying through the air like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon before slamming the ball home. There's even the option for you to get one of your teammates to crouch down and use him as a springboard to reach enormous heights and score some truly spectacular baskets. Naturally there's also a great replay mode, allowing you to watch your best dunks over and over again.
There's plenty of game options to keep you interested, ranging from a straight Pick-up Game to more complex Gamebreaker Battles (play for Gamebreaker points), Trick Battles (fill up your trick meter and score for a point) and Back to Basics (no trick points, no Gamebreakers). Homecourt Challenge however is where the bulk of the game lies, and it sees you taking a created baller on a quest to put your homecourt on the map. The create-a-player mode is great, letting you customise your player by morphing 3 different faces together. Once you've got your baller looking the way you want, you choose your teammates and set out for a challenge. As you start winning games your various skill levels increase and you access new challenges, courts and gear, and get invites to big-name NBA Star's homecourt tournaments.
Slam dunk the funk
The range of online options is good, letting you challenge ballers across the country and find your place in the online leaderboards. Of course, you can also play any of the game modes with friends offline, leading to some truly competitive dunk-offs as you each try and score the most spectacular points possible. Oh, and if you're a basketball fan, then it's worth noting that the game is officially licensed, and includes all of the NBA's best and most recognisable players, including Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Naturally, the game looks fantastic. The graphics are great, straddling a fine line between cartoony and realistic that suits the over the top gameplay, and all the courts are well designed, giving you the feeling that you're playing basketball in a living, breathing real world. And of course, being an EA game, the soundtrack is top notch, featuring artists as diverse as Pharoahe Monch, The Jackson Five and RJD2.
NBA STREET Homecourt is a great addition to the library of sporting titles available for PlayStation 3, and the new tricks, double dunks and Gamebreaker moves are sure to have you and your friends gasping in astonishment. As far as arcade b-ball goes, this is the tops, so get out the PS3 and lace up your Air Jordans... it's time to shoot some hoops.