FIFA Street Review
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
North American Release Date: 13 March 2012
European Release Date: 16 March 2012
Trophies: 1 4 14 16
FIFA Street originally released back in 2005, with the view of making a FIFA game that's more accessible to a wider audience with simpler rules and faster gameplay. Although the game didn't score well with reviews, it still sold fairly well, and as of such it got two sequels. The last of the two sequels, FIFA Street 3, ended up flopping and the series got cancelled. FIFA Street has now returned, with the series getting a re-boot. They're now taking a more serious approach to the gameplay, with a lot of influence coming from real life street football. So can they pull it off this time?
From the start, FIFA Street may just look like FIFA 12 on a smaller pitch with a few more moves thrown in, but it is much more than that. FIFA Street brings in a massive amount of new skill moves, a whole new dribbling system, more precise ball control and faster one-touch passing. All of these features thrown together with realistic gameplay and brand-new game modes set the stage for a very promising looking game.
As the title states, FIFA Street is based around street football. Street football is all about not what you do, but how you do it. Fast-paced attacking football is prominent in street football, aswell as an abundance of skill-moves. The game does fantastically to replicate real-life street football, and this makes for some really fun gameplay. The game uses the same impact engine as FIFA 12, which creates this great realistic feel to the game, it also feels really authentic due to how realistic the game engine is. The ball moves about in a realistic manner, and with the fast-paced style of the game it really creates this experience that's completely different to that of the regular FIFA games.
So FIFA Street is different to FIFA 12, but is it an improvement? Yes and no, in a nutshell. From the start the game feels fresh and unique, you feel like you have complete control over the ball and that you can do anything you wish. You have a massive arsenal of skill-moves to use to humiliate your opponent on your way to victory. The game also focuses on "panna's" , this is a move where you knock the ball between your opponents legs before running off with the ball, there's even a game-mode based completely around this. So with these cool features combined with the new dribbling improvements ontop of an already outstanding game engine, the game is off to a fantastic start. But things began to get old pretty quickly.
Some of the skill moves just look awesome
There is a variety of different game-modes that help to try and break the mold, but they're all based around a similar fashion, and after spending a few hours with the game, there was really nothing new here. All of the game-modes are inspired by real street football, but they're all pretty identical in some ways. There are some similar game modes that are the same as real-life football, score more goals than your opponent etc. with a few different varieties such as futsal and last-man standing. The basic game-mode is just a simple 5v5 or 6v6 game (Or other variation) based on the streets, meaning that you have four walls boxing in the pitch. Futsal is the same, only with no walls. And last-man standing is the same, only when you score a goal, your team loses a player, and it's the first team to lose all of their players. Panna is the only truly different game-mode. In this you need to take on your opponent, if you get a beat (Skillfully take on your opponent) air-beat (The same, but where you flick it over your opponent) or panna your opponent, you gain points. But your poitns don't get scored until you score a goal. A little complicated sounding, but it works pretty well. The game could've been helped with some impressive online modes like you find in FIFA 12, but I'll get into that later. So whilst the game is a great stride away from the old ways of FIFA street, in comparison to FIFA 12, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The main portion of the singleplayer aspect of FIFA Street is the World Tour mode. This is basically your career mode in a regular FIFA game. You get a few customization options from the start, you have control over making a team crest that goes on your kit, and is visible throughout the game, you can also chose your teams kits and the teams chosen colours. After that you enter what is pretty much a warm-up match, but what's good about this is that not only do you have the choice to take in your FIFA 12 virtual pro, in the warm-up match it's full of your PSN friends virtual pro's. So if you're like me and have friends who play FIFA, you'll be playing along side their pro's, which is a cool little feature and it really took me by surprise. After the warm-up you get to pick players from that match to join your team, and you sign up for a regional street football league. One thing that annoyed me was that in the first regional stage I was coming up against players like Nasri and Ronaldo, fans of the sport will know that these are big names, and that there is no reason why they'd be playing in this league. The game tries hard to build up this realistic image with the leagues, and it just ruined it for me when I was playing against these players in what is essentially a local football league.
The whole point of the World Tour mode is to win matches and progress through leagues, until you're eventually playing on the biggest street stages around, with the whole world watching. It's pretty fun at first to play in different venues around the world, but it soon starts to get pretty stale. There are four stages to the World Tour, that range from a regional stage to a world stage, but the only difference between them is the setting. They're all in the same layout, you can choose which gamemode event you want to play in, but ultimately you'll end up playing most of these events. The game gives you a ranking out of 32 teams when you first start, when you complete an event you're rewarded with points, and the team rankings are based around these points. After four events, if your team is in the top eight you will enter the last event, if you come in the top three you progress to the next stage. You also unlock new items based on if you win events, the higher the difficulty you play on, the better the prize.
One thing that does keep the singleplayer section feeling fresh for a while is how you're constantly leveling up your player, and assigning points to your stats like a very basic RPG. At first this is fun, you get to build your player exactly how you want, but once you level up to around level 30, it starts to become redundant, as you'll have nearly maxed out all of your stats. So your once speedy player is now just on par with the rest, and everyone begins to feel like a clone. The best example of this is when I was playing online, every team I came against had the exact same rating, because everybody had the same stats. A weird aspect to this aswell is how you use the same points to unlock skill moves. The FIFA games normally have a star rating to unlocking skills, and this has worked consistently. The new system gives you more freedom as to what moves you unlock, but it's a little unnecessary.
World tour mode will have you travelling all over the globe
The game also includes real life clubs, including international teams but the whole thing is put to waste, as you barely have opportunity to use the teams. You can play with these teams in friendly matches against the computer or in local multiplayer, and they feature as CPU controlled teams in the world tour mode, but this is it. Six leagues worth of teams, and twenty international teams, only usable in a very small part of the game. There is so much more they could do with it, but its been left to waste, and it feels a little lazy and lackluster.
Other than the simple local multiplayer mode, there is a pretty big online game mode which is similar to the league mode. The league is basically something to do whilst you're playing online matches, or something to aim for. There are ten divisions, and your goal is to try and get a place in the highest league you can. Each season consists of ten games, each win gives you three points and a draw gets you one, and there is an amount of points needed to move up or down a league. In the lower divisions there's a lower amount of points needed to get promoted or relegated, the higher the division the more difficult it gets in terms of points of the quality of opponent.
There are some disappointments with this though. You're restricted to only using your own club in the online mode, meaning no real clubs or nations. This seems like a good idea at first, you get to keep leveling up your players and you have customization to the team that you're always using, it's like a really watered down singleplayer version of Ultimate Team in a way. However, this starts to get stale pretty quickly, as you're always playing with the exact same team/players. The online mode would've been much better if you had a variety of teams to pick from. Another disappointment was the lack of game-modes to pick from online. There are three, 5 a side, 6 a side and futsal. All of these game-modes are pretty much the same, the only difference is either the amount of players, or if you want to play with walls and a ref or not.
One thing that the game does do well is create realistic looking and feeling environments that you play in, from the shores of Brazil to the streets of England, everything looks great at it packs a lot of atmosphere. Considering that there is a lot to choose from in terms of clothing for your character, it all looks great. As do the character models, and real-life players look pretty realistic, with the odd exception. During my time with FIFA Street I never came across a single glitch which is always a pleasant surprise.
In the audio department the game impresses in places, and disappoints in others. One surprising part for a sports game is the lack of commentary. The closest you get is an excitable announcer shouting every time someone scores a goal, and he also counts down the last ten seconds of the match. You'd think that this would make matches feel a little empty and silent, but they've done a good job of avoiding that by filling the game with a lot of sound effects and effective background music. The players are constantly communicating (like they would in real life) and they react to what's happening in the match. The games soundtrack is a lot smaller than in other FIFA games, which is pretty disappointing as you're constantly hearing the same tracks.
The games trophy list basically gets you to squeeze a lot out of the game, the harder trophies are mainly for completing everything, there's no difficulty related trophies. There's a couple based around progressing the players on your team, and a couple of online tournament related ones.
The game is fun for a little while, but everything gets stale. There just isn't enough depth really, especially for a game I spent £40 for, and I'm left thinking that a lot of this could've been bought in as a DLC package for FIFA 12. It's good to see the steps they've made from the last time they tried FIFA Street, but if they were to release a sequel I couldn't see myself playing it any time soon
Probably the saving grace for the game, the gameplay is really fun even if it does start to get a little old eventually.
The game had a lot of potential in this department but it let me down in a lot of areas
The same goes for the multiplayer portion, and it got old real quick
Another good aspect of the game, nothing special but it does the job well