FIFA Street review
FIFA Street swaps the manicured turf of football stadia for the humble 5-a-side arena in EA’s latest showboating masterclass. The focus here is on skill. FIFA Street has it in abundance in a football game that feels more approachable to newcomers than its more famous footballing sibling FIFA 12. A playground footballer it may be, but FIFA Street proves that style and substance can go together, says Stephen Ebert.
If it’s top level football simulation you want avoid FIFA Street and pick up FIFA 12 instead. Despite the FIFA label FIFA Street is a different animal altogether: more arcade-like and pick-up-and-play in feel than the former.
There are some similarities. Dribbling, shooting and running depending on your configuration are all mapped to the same buttons. And this time round in FIFA Street, players are as realistic in appearance as they are in FIFA 12. The similarities end there.
FIFA Street is about showing off, making fools of your opponents, and having a laugh on the pitch: everything our football coach told us off for. It makes for a fun football title without all the aggro a tense game of FIFA 12 brings.
Controlling each player is great fun, making it easier to pull of the tricks to take you to the top of the FIFA Street rankings. A flick of the control sticks and your player is rolling the ball across the pitch with his foot on the ball like Cristiano Ronaldo, or performing skillful dragbacks like Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho. EA has implemented a control system that takes little time to get used to. Some of the best tricks require only a couple of button presses.
An array of modes mix things up nicely. From 5-a-side friendly kickabouts to national and global competitions. FIFA Street caters to all types of player. Hit the Streets sees players work their way through the UK, taking part in challenges that differ from one pitch to the next.
World Tour is a little more serious. Think of it as a World Cup for the streets. Progression isn’t just about scoring goals. Performing tricks and outwitting opponents earns double and triple points which can be banked. In some matches these are worth more than goals: the result is that tricks are not just there for show. It makes learning them all the more rewarding.
Progression through these tournaments earns you and your team the ability to level up, improve skills such as dribbling, shooting and strength. It is also possible to unlock items such as T-shirts and socks, adding extra incentive to do well.
In addition to the serious stuff of national competition is a selection of just for fun modes. In Panna Rules points are worth more for nutmegging your opponent, while in Last Man Standing each goal gets rid of a player on the opposing team. The game ends when one side has just a single player left. This is the fun side of football that we don’t get to see in FIFA 12. FIFA Street is all the better for it.
The action is fun with friends but on your own FIFA Street can feel repetitive after a while. The feel of gameplay has more in common with basketball than football (some football fans may not like that), with little build-up play required FIFA Street, despite its array of skills never feels quite as rewarding as FIFA 12.
While FIFA Street isn’t quite the FIFA 12 alternative we all wished it be, it still is a very decent football game exceeds expectations. If you’re a fan of football games you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.