PS2 REVIEW: FIFA STREET

If original gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson were still alive I could imagine him developing a game such as FIFA Street. Considering that Thompson's drug abuse was legendary, not to mention his penchant for really pissing people off, this is not meant as a compliment.

Trying to capture the fun and excitement of NBA Street, FIFA Street has one major flaw - it's based on soccer. I know that soccer is the most popular game in the world but it's not very big in my neck of the woods which is Canada. In fact it's not even that popular with my neighbors to the South, the good old U.S. of A. EA knows that and tries to Americanize the gameplay of FIFA Street to create a faster and wilder version of soccer, which most of us in North America tend to find boring. It all sounds good but the proof is not in the pudding - I know, I already ate it and nothing...

FIFA Street is a game that looks as though it got the bum's rush out the front door before it could gather its coat and hat. It's got flaws but more than that it's just not very good. Had this game come along five years ago things might be different but as it is this is just a convoluted arcade-style ball game using soccer as a backdrop.

This style of street soccer involves scoring points and performing tricks. The gameplay relies so heavily on tricks it's got more in common with the Harlem Globetrotters than David Beckham. I know that street soccer isn't to be taken too seriously but there should at least be a good solid soccer game at the core. Sure you can kick the ball off the wall and even dribble it but you have to remember that there has to be some kind of structure to a game to make it a game. The gameplay here is more of a novelty. FIFA Street could have easily been a mode in NBA Jam.

You can pass but there's not point in playing a passing game if you want to win. The more stunts you perform the more you will load up the Gamebreaker meter. Using this meter is supposed to unleash an incredible force to turn the tide of the game into your favor but all it does is give you a little advantage. The shot becomes somewhat more powerful and accurate. It will also take away some of your opponent's points but it won't award them to you. It's not terribly effects, it's just a little bit better than nothing. It's too bad there's not enough depth of control over your players so that you could have a decent soccer game, either arcade or sim.

In the Rules of the Street mode you will take on more powerful teams and earn rep points which will ensure that you can take part in cups and earn money to buy better players for your team. Skill Bills are awarded for pulling off tricks and can be used to increase your players' stats. Clothing and accessories are also available to outfit your team with but it just doesn't seem that cool with street soccer.

The physics of the ball is good. It's somewhat unnatural but it's to the players' advantage as it's pretty forgiving. The animation transitions of the players are incredibly unnatural looking. Some of the animation is motioned captioned and actually looks really good but when it changes to stock animiation it's Swan Lake meets Dawn of the Dead. It's not a pretty sight. The consistency is just not there. It doesn't inspire any confidence in the quality of the rest of the production values. If I were a potential customer and I saw this animation displayed at a videogame retail outlet, I would go out of my way to get the name of this game so that I didn't accidentally buy it.

The players' faces look good and so do the arenas which are mostly outdoor locations from around the world. The music is supposed to encompass the world beat but it's just a bunch Americanized rap crap that won't see any airplay other than this game. Chances are if you like this game you'll probably like the music because you've got no taste.

FIFA Street gives me another reason not to like soccer.

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System: PS2
Dev: EA Canada
Pub: EA
Released: Feb 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
1.5