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FIFA Street 2
Score: 82%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (1 - 4 Multitap)
Genre: Sports (Soccer)/ Sports/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:
Graphically, EA Sports BIG sets up FIFA Street 2 with great visuals, considering the now-dated (I canít believe Iím saying that) PS2ís horsepower. The game contains 320 Pro Superstars, as well as a great Create-A-Player mode. All of these player models look great, but some of the environments look even better. Each of the "fields" are from different regions of the world, and the visuals therein depict these regions fairly nicely. Itís actually the mood with the lighting that sets this title over the top.

FIFA Street 2 actually has one of the better line-ups of music options in most games these days. Youíll be able to set up your options to include certain types of music, or create a custom play list from a wide variety of tracks. In-game audio is okay, but the sound effects really donít involve anything special in this department. This is really the only place that I feel EA dropped the ball (soccer/futbol pun intended).


Gameplay:
FIFA Street 2 offers up a variety of gameplay options, but it is missing one key mode in todayís market. For whatever reason, the developers failed to include online modes of any kind. What the game does include are Rewards, which are awarded by ruling the street. Here youíll earn Skill Bills that allow you to upgrade your players with better stats. While ruling the streets, youíll have gradually-expanding access to Kick Abouts (pick-up matches), Team Captain (create your own pitch (field)), Underground Tournament, and the International Cup. Other game modes include the typical Friendly (Exhibition) mode and the Skills Challenge mode.

The game modes within Rule the Street basically progress as you do, and youíll be able to get into each one as your street credit and stats get high enough. But within each mode, the basic gameplay is the same. Youíll have to win games by scoring the most goals, beating the other player in Gamebreaker points, or other branches of those two settings that make each game independent from the first.

The biggest key to FIFA Street 2 is the same as with all of the Street games: Gamebreakers. Youíll earn Gamebreaker points for each and every trick that you perform, and performing them is quite easy with the Trick Stick (right analog stick). Once you bust out enough combos, your Gamebreaker will kick in, and youíll have to act fast to take advantage of your boost in ability to humiliate your opponents and score.

The heart of the game is definitely within the Rule the Street mode, but itís sometimes hard to get into the action because of certain elements that seem to be lacking. First off, if youíre going to have cut-scenes, they should have some sort of comprehensible dialogue to go along with the animations. Secondly, being in-game tends to get a bit repetitive because of the lack of flair involved in some aspects of the game, including in-game sound effects. But as a whole, FIFA Street 2 can also be a fun game. Itís just disappointing that a game with so much potential isnít fully realized.


Difficulty:
FIFA Street 2 offers up 4 levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Super Hard. At the default, Medium can offer a good starting point for players new to the series, but veterans of FIFA Street (or most sports titles, for that matter), will want to step up to one of the two tougher settings. In fact, it often felt that the computerís performance was based on your own, and that they would score shortly after you did in order to keep it close at times. It may also feel a bit overwhelming to learn the tricks for some gamers. And the Skills Challenge can often be a frustrating experience because you may swear you performed the combos perfectly with the Trick Stick, only to get shut down and waste time re-performing these juggling tricks.

Game Mechanics:
In-game, youíll be able to bust out some serious tricks by using the Trick Stick, and a combination of the L1 and R1 buttons with the Trick Stick. Youíll also be able to flip some random tricks with a quick tap of the Triangle button, which makes it easier for first-timers to get into the game and earn some Gamebreaker points. There are a bunch of different tricks available, whether youíre spinning the stick or jabbing it back and forth or left and right. Defense is performed with the Trick Stick as well, but it gets frustrating that when your opponent humiliates you, your animation lasts too long and completely takes you out of the action on the field.

FIFA Street 2 is a solid game with a solid background. It takes the same style of using unbelievable tricks to bring an arcade-at-home experience to your PlayStation 2 in the same way that NFL Street originally did. But without an online mode or possibly without friends to play with, FIFA Street 2 misses out on a certain percentage of the gaming crowd. The series has plenty of growth to do, however, so casual fans may want to rent this one first to see if itís worth picking up a copy.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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