FIFA STREET – PS2 – Review

Imagine if you will that
you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil de Janeiro.  You step out into the
dusty streets of a sun-baked tenement, or favela, with three of your closest
friends wearing matching jerseys and shorts.  From where you are you can smell
the beaches of Rio and in the far distance you can make out the hill with the
statue of Christ looking out towards the east.  Suddenly, four familiar athletes
step into view, all of them wearing their own colors.  Somebody tosses a soccer
ball and the streets come to life with soccer.  Welcome to

FIFA Street
EA Sports Big answer to freestyle soccer.



FIFA Street,
much like EA Sports Big other street sports games like NBA Street and
NFL Street
, is pure freestyle soccer without the rules and regulations you’d
find in a usual FIFA sanctioned match.  The result is a fast-paced four-on-four
match-up with an emphasis on fancy footwork and venues you might find in any
neighborhood throughout the world.  From the dusty flat streets of Rio to the
urban parks of New York City, you’ll find yourself enclosed by a fence or wall
and two crudely put-together goalposts.  You can be as rough as you want because
there won’t be a referee blowing a whistle and there are no yellow or red cards.


There are two major game
modes in FIFA Street, Friendly and Rule the Street Mode.  Friendly Mode just
offers a friendly match-up between two teams of four, choosing from
international teams like France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and the US just to name
a few.  You’ll even find some very familiar faces in this game because you’ll be
up against actual star players that are currently on the roster of their home
team.  In Rule the Street Mode, you’ll create your own team from scratch.  The
Create A Player feature does offer plenty of choices, enough that you can create
distinct-looking characters that can be overly obese to hilariously skinny (one
of my teammates even sports a mullet). After you created a team of four you play
against a of number teams in a series of venues that has you playing for
reputation points as well as Skill Bills (used as currency to purchase player
upgrades like extra speed or shot accuracy).


The problem is that Rule
the Street isn’t incredibly deep nor does it give you the feeling that you’re
playing for something genuinely worth playing for like a street championship
with personal rivalries that get in your way of obtaining said championship. 
While we could overlook playing for cups or world championship titles, it’s the
actual gameplay we can’t.  The game looks like a four-on-four soccer match but
it doesn’t feel like soccer at all and it’s primarily a result of the game’s
shoddy controls and awful opponent AI.  Your players can’t dribble straight
ahead because they somehow always seem to head for the fence or wall.  You can
pull off some really stellar tricks and headers but when it comes to attempting
a smooth pass you’ll find yourself being tackled NFL-style by the opposing team.



Like the other Street
sports game, the Gamebreaker feature can be found here and once the Gamebreaker
Meter fills up you’ll be able to pounce right through the defense like a freight
train.  Pull off a chain of trick and you’ll spell out a Combo that can be used
to perform a hard-to-stop shot at the goal.  Sounds cool enough?  Well it is
cool but it’s not so cool when you’re on the receiving end of a Combo and
believe me when I say that the other team has no problems with unleashing combos
regularly and far more easily than you can.  It’s annoying and just slows the
game’s pace considerably.  Yet my biggest complaint is directed at the AI that
just has you scratching your head.  You’ll find it easy to break through their
defense and even more easy to trick the opposing goalkeeper.  The goalkeeper
somehow always falls for the same approach so if you’re expecting to learn from
his mistakes you’ll be sorely disappointed. 


As far as the graphics are
concerned, FIFA Street doesn’t look as good as the Xbox version but the
game is still able to show off some really great-looking environments.  The
detailed environments do a great job of offering that international street
ambiance even though the fence just serves to be a distraction.  The player
models are not bad either, especially when it comes to the well-known soccer
players from your favorite international teams.  Unfortunately the game lacks a
variety of player animations so you’ll be watching the same victory dances and
player taunts . . . even some of the more impressive goals begin to look the



Sound-wise the game’s
sound won’t immerse you into the street feel so don’t expect much in terms of
atmospheric audible detail with the exception of the ball hitting the fence. 
You won’t even hear the other players on your team!  The play-by-play and color
commentary is horrendously delivered by a single commentator who is supposed to
give the commentary a worldly Jamaican flavor.  It’s not so much the delivery
but the actual comments that becomes bothersome to the point that you’ll either
lower the volume or switch off the commentary.  The game’s music isn’t any
better either but then again it isn’t so bad.  Mixing tunes from the likes of
Fatboy Slim and SL2 you’ll also find salsa, reggae and hip-hop as well.


FIFA Street
was suppose to be an edgy alternative to
regulation-styled soccer but failed in its attempt to keep the action flowing
smoothly or perfectly.  The fault lies in the gameplay that doesn’t give gamers
complete control over shots or movement and the computer-controlled opposing
team just don’t pose much of a threat.  It’s a noble attempt, yes, but for true
aficionados this will be something of a disappointment.  Maybe next year we’ll
see a street soccer game with more style and less problems, until then you can
skip this one.  


Scoring Details for FIFA STREET


Gameplay: 5.5
It looks like a street soccer game
but it doesn’t play like one thanks to the lack of control over your shots and
the poorly executed Gamebreaker moves that aren’t as cool as those seen in
NBA Street


Graphics: 6.0
Not as visually pleasing as the Xbox
version even with progressive scan, the PS2 version still showcases colorfully
pretty backdrops and decent-looking characters.  A lack of more player
animations means you’ll have to watch players perform the same kind of goal and
victory dance.


Sound: 6.0
The main emphasis is on the tunes
that are mostly world music with some hip-hop thrown in for some variety.  It’s
not particularly great music but it’s not entirely bad either (unless you don’t
like music with some Latin flavor).  As for the play-by-play and color
commentary the one-man show becomes annoying pretty quickly even if you find
Rastafarian a cool dialect (like I do).


Difficulty: Easy
There’s no escaping the Combo shots
to the goal but other than that you’ll be easily dancing all over the other
team’s defense.  Even my Three Stooges-inspired created Curly player made short
work of the likes of Beckham.


Concept: 6.5
I love the street atmosphere and
playing a four-on-four match up against some known international players is
great.  There’s not much in terms of extras and Rule the Street Mode doesn’t
offer a lot of depth.  Create A Player is just okay.


Multiplayer: 5.5
You can play this one with up to
four friends using the PS2 Multitap.  No online support means limited fun.


Overall: 5.5
Sure its street soccer but FIFA
just feels too flawed to be the edgy, no-holds barred soccer game we
all hoped it would be.  If you love the sport of soccer, you might want to look