A thrilling game of footy may dazzle billions of spectators, but it puts most of us to sleep. In an attempt to bring Americans closer to the world's most popular sport, EA puts a heavy arcade filter on the game: teams of four, high-scoring affairs and lots of flair. The result, FIFA Street 2, defies normal conventions about soccer, but stumbles too often to convert many US gamers to the fold.
FIFA Street 2 is all about one-on-one showdowns. One guy has the ball, and uses his dexterity and athleticism to blow by the defender and be that much closer to the goal. It's a pure take on sports competition, and the game gives both sides a lot to work with. As this is arcade-style action, you'll witness crazy ballhandling moves and brutal tackles. It's a battle of grace versus violence that can be entertaining from either perspective.
If only it played better. The use of the right analog stick makes pulling off tricks and defensive stops easy enough, but the game is far too trick-centric. Yes, there's a thrill attached to leaving a defender literally on the ground, helpless, but it ends up being one of FIFA Street 2 's biggest flaws.
While the character movements are dazzling, it's too easy to get stuck watching the player's animation - especially as a defender - and feel like a spectator to the onscreen action rather than a participant. It's akin to a fighting game where you're stuck in a 20-hit combo with no hope for escape.
Juggling is new this year, and is a way to deftly bounce the ball upon your person. Sadly, it's an even bigger problem than the tricks, thanks to a massive learning curve.
On Xbox and GameCube versions, you've got to hold a shoulder and face button to start it, then hold another shoulder and use the right stick to pull off moves. Unless you have a third arm growing out of your belly button, you're going to struggle with this, big-time. On the PS2, you only have to hold two buttons - making life much easier.