A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game brings professional basketball players to the street courts where they learned their skills. The playground game is more raw than arena games -- there are no referees, so players are free to push opponents down and take the ball. There's constant trash-talking on the court, and while it never rises to the level of vulgarity, it doesn't really promote sportsmanship either. At the game's core, though, is a theme of people rising above neighborhoods marred by poverty or violence.
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What's it about?
NBA STREET HOMECOURT features four modes of play: Homecourt Challenge, Gamebreaker Battle, Trick Battle, and Back to Basics. The highlight is Homecourt Challenge, a career mode that allows players to create their own players and develop their skills. As they ascend through the circuit of legendary street courts, players face stiffer competition from squads of NBA and (in a refreshing twist) WNBA players. Players recruit new ballers to upgrade their team, expand the flamboyance of their moves, and freshen up their look with new (often branded) uniforms and shoes.
Trick Battle strings together combinations of the Homecourt's signature tricks -- from simple crossovers to the elaborate \"Trifecta Dunk\" where the ball passes through the hoop three times. In the Gamebreaker Battle, players score only when they fill a power-up meter that allows special moves and deducts points from opponents. Back-to-Basics is simple three-on-three ball, with the special rules turned off.
Is it any good?
NBA STREET HOMECOURT sets a new standard for the arcade-style basketball games that trace their lineage back to NBA Jam. And while impossibly acrobatic dunks still define the game, it's a new twist of elegant realism that elevates the title to Hall of Fame status. In beautiful, HD video, Rip Hamilton talks about using the courts of Philadelphia to get out of a desperate situation, MVP Steve Nash details his unlikely Canadian high school history, and Carmelo Anthony recounts the time he won the respect of everyone in his neighborhood.
This understated sense of history is a welcome addition to the cartoonish court showdowns. All of this, plus impressively rendered, stylish court settings and fluid -- if demanding -- gameplay make NBA Street Homecourt the basketball arcade game to beat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role basketball players take in popular culture. Like Shaquille O'Neal's Superman tattoo, do NBA stars have a superhero quality about them? How do their personal struggles -- often against poverty and violence -- inform this image? Does this influence the aesthetic and storyline of this game? How has hip-hop and video game culture changed our perceptions of basketball?
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