Part of the appeal of the NBA Street series has always been the great player animation, and Homecourt does not disappoint. Dunks are satisfying not only because they change the score, but also because they look powerful, leaving fallen players and bent rims in their wake. You never know what mind-blowing dunk you'll see next either. It might be a reverse, or a reverse with a flip, pump, spin, and a windmill. These moves look even better, thanks to a consistently snappy frame rate. The players look realistic, and because the game's roster is mostly made up of the NBA's better players, they're almost all instantly recognizable in-game and look even better in the replays. The real-life courts on which you play vary greatly in style and design. Most of them aren't instantly recognizable locales, but whether it's an indoor gym, beachside court, or urban setting, they all look nice.
It's odd that the developer decided to muck up all of the great-looking animations, players, and courts with a "retro" look. Everything is run through a filter that gives it a sepia tone. The idea was to make the NBA players' homecourts look as they might in home movies or pictures. This might make sense if there were any old-school players, but it's a safe bet that Carmello Anthony's home movies weren't shot with an old 8mm camera. There's no option to turn the effect off either. Eventually you can get past it, but it's still lame.
Unless you look like a combination of both AI and T-Mac, morphing two NBA players into one isn't the ideal way to create your own baller.
The game's audio also has a bit of a retro feel to it, but it works because it's cool. When you bust out a gamebreaker, you'll do so to the synthesized funk of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit." The outstanding soundtrack features artists, such as RJD2, Quincy Jones, The Jackson 5, DJ Shadow featuring Q-Tip & Lateef, the Herbaliser, and many more. On the court, players will talk trash, which itself is nothing new, but here it actually doesn't sound supercheesy.
There's a lot to like about NBA Street Homecourt's debut on the Xbox 360. The controls are easy to learn, the gameplay is as tight as ever, players look great and move well, and the soundtrack is top-notch. As any good game should, Homecourt leaves you wanting more, not only because it's so much fun, but also because there isn't enough to do. Earning achievements by performing tricks, playing online, and leveling up your character will keep you going for a while, but the Homecourt Challenge doesn't offer up enough depth, and the game is lacking in other modes. However, there are worse things you can say about a game other than it left you wanting more.