EA have decided to give the FIFA Street franchise another go and have started that by changing everything about it. This time, the game is manned by the team who develop the yearly FIFA games, the cartoony graphics and arcade gameplay is gone and everything is more realistic. Has the switch paid off or have EA just made a Fernando Torres or Andy Carroll?
FIFA Street may look slightly like FIFA 12 but it’s a completely different beast to play. Street football is all about the showmanship and putting on a show. Utilising a wide variety of tricks and skills to out-manoeuvre your opponent or completely humiliate them is the name of the game. If you don’t know your rainbow flicks from your flip-flaps then you need to listen up.
If you have played previous FIFA Street titles then you will notice that there has been a vast departure in the newly rebooted FIFA Street. First off the visuals have been completely changed, adopting a realistic look, similar to FIFA 12. The gameplay has also been realistically changed to incorporate a system in which, every animation being performed is possible in real life. While I’m on the subject, the animations in stringing together these skill moves are visually impressive. Each trick and skill feels dynamic and realistic.
FIFA Street hosts a wide variety of game modes that are all in the vein of street football. There is everything from the typical 5v5 matches to last man standing in which a player form your team is removed each time your own team scores, to modes that are all about showing off like panna and freestyle. If you choose to go into the exhibition mode, you can even create your own custom game with how winning conditions are met and how many players per team.
The bulk of the game is in the world tour mode. This mode starts you from humble beginnings as a group of local lads and from there, you work your way through the competition to bigger and more prominent ones culminating in taking on the best in Brazil, home of street football.
Potentially the most important aspect of the world tour mode is your team, and building them up to be the best that they can be to participate in a wide range of game modes. Pulling off stylish moves to make a fool out of the opposition isn’t the only reason too, as each successful roulette or juggle yields points which can be then spent on your player to unlock new moves or increase certain attributes. The best strategy though is to unlock the new skill moves as soon as they become available as some of the more complex moves earn higher points.
Gameplay is simple to begin but become complex as more skills are unlocked. The developers have created a great little system but using the left trigger or L2 to root the player with the ball to the spot and using the left analogue stick to bait the other player. Pulling off tricks are as simple as flicking or moving the right analogue stick but consistently wiggling the analogue stick will cause you to lose possession of the ball.
When you begin with your team, each player can barely pull off a single skill based trick between them, but as you progress and unlock more, you can have dozens of different moves to perform. The trick to mastering these, well tricks, is by knowing when to panna, run around, or flick the ball over your opponents head. It isn’t long before your repertoire may resemble a moves list from a fighting game but these extra layers of complexity will keep you coming back as the game modes on offer don’t offer as much depth as the full-pitched cousin.
Because of the different sizes in teams, this represents a wide variety of different sizes on pitches, courts, and car packs in which you play on. Some goals are big enough for a keeper to be plopped in front of them where others don’t even reach the player’s knees. The great variety in both the different sizes of players and goals create different experiences, and in turn keep the game feeling fresh.
FIFA Street may not keep you invested as much as FIFA 12, what is on offer is a great indication of the potential this series has to expand and grow. There are some kinks that need to be sorted out like how one-sided encounters feel with the weights balancing more in favour of the attackers, and some really unusual A.I. Still, FIFA Street is a successful reboot that will offer plenty of fun, especially with a few friends.