Perhaps the most attractive sports game in the ever widening, Xtreme EA Big! portfolio is the NBA Street series. It's based on Street Basketball, or Streetball, which is a real and equally popular, if less official, version of the sport or Basketball. In New York basketball mythology, Rucker Park in Harlem and The Cage in Lower Manhattan are every bit as famous as Madison Square Gardens. Big Streetball games at any of New York's famous courts have been known to draw bigger crowds than some Knicks games. Just as Michael Jordan is a league-personifying hero to NBA fans, 'The Goat' is an equally legendary figure for Streetball devotees. On the opposite coast of the USA, Los Angeles has a Streetball scene to match New York's, and Atlanta and Miami are big centres too.
Building on the success of the highly praised series, NBA Street V3 was released earlier this year. Now a rejig comes to the new PSP console in the form of NBA Street Showdown. It's essentially the same game as NBA Street V3 - 3-on-3 play, with the 'gamebreaker' and tricks that featured in previous games. The way tricks are controlled has been changed - instead of the more limited method of button presses, the right analogue, or Trick Stick is used. Used in conjunction with the usual two Turbo buttons, the eight directions on the stick give players access to more tricks than ever before. Similarly, the gamebreaker mechanic has been given the treatment. You must charge up the gamebreaker by stringing combos together, but once unleashed your player takes to the air and you team-mates get involved as well. Players can also create their own players choosing from more than 1,000 customisable assets. The same philosophy applies to courts - on top of the 12 authentically modelled courts, players can build their own, choosing the location, surface, backboard and net styles. Like this year's NBA game, there is a dunk competition thrown in too. DJ/streetball player/trainer connoisseur Bobbito even provides the commentary, which also lends some authority to the proceedings.
The PSP game boasts 25 NBA players, and also has it's own share of exclusive new features - namely the Shot Blocker and Arcade Sootout modes. Then there are special EA Trax with enhanced content - you can view videos and listen to music on this special media player. The PSP version naturally allows you to enjoy multiplayer action - both one-on-one over a WiFI connection and a pass-the-PSP mode in which up to four players can compete. Perfect for B-ball fans wondering what to use their shiny new PSPs for, NBA Street Showdown stands proud in the PSP launch line-up.