Let's hit the streets

When FIFA Street was first announced I was quite excited about the title. I’ve always been a serious football fan and used to play a lot of indoor 5v5 before my knees gave out so the idea of reliving my past glories was quite appealing.

Then the demo was released and it appeared all the game was going to be about was showing off and being the biggest ponce on the court; all ego and no substance. I guess that’s why we never cracked a nod to the local launch party?

Either way after some follow up we finally received our copy of FIFA Street last Thursday and seeing that I’m the only one on the core team who knows what a ball is (not that type Geoff) it fell to me to review this one.

So I woke up nice and early on Good Friday and stuck the disc into the Xbox and prepared myself for an annoying experience of showing off and attempting to be the street’s biggest douche.

The game starts up as pretty much every other EA game on the planet and I’m given a choice of heading straight to the street, going on a world tour, going online or practicing.

FIFAStreet-1

World Tour sounds great so I head to that option and then I’m given a few moments to create my team, give it some colours, choose a logo and name it then create my own player. I choose his size, hair colour, eyes etc… all the standard things really. It’s not an overly indepth character creation tool which is a good thing in my mine and I’m through that pretty quickly with my blue haired stocky footballer.

Next up is a nice surprise, I get to populate the rest of my team by either creating new people (far too much effort) or importing my friend’s players so that’s exactly what I did and while I can’t recall everyone I do remember importing GlennZA (sorry, I traded you quickly) and DeathAdder ZA.

It’s a nice touch but it’s really only cosmetic from what I could tell so I then carried on into the game itself. We started out as a make-shift team for a small tournament up in the North of England (I chose the starting point) and we were into our first 4v4 game.

And this is where things changed. The game is all about freestyle and skill and flair but at the same time it’s quite a lot of fun and you don’t have to flair your way through. Granted the more times you beat someone or pull of some awesome trick the more style points you get but in the standard game simple passing like in the video below also counts as goals.

See more Game Videos at EA.com.

Oh that video is me. I’m the blue haired guy slotting the ball home easily. As you can see the game allows you to upload your best goals to the EA site and then embed or share them with your friends. This wasn’t one of the most exciting goals I’ve scored by any stretch of the imagination either.

Back to where we were. The game can be played like a real footballer would and still be enjoyable. We then proceeded through varying tournaments with different play styles.

  • 5 v 5 or 4 v 4 or 3 v 3– Normal football but in an enclosed arena
  • Futsol – Like indoor but without walls
  • Panna Rules – Bank points by beating people and then secure the bank by scoring
  • Freestyle – First to 2500 style points (Points only count when you score)
  • Last man standing – Everytime you score you lose a player, first team without players wins

My two personal favourites are the standard enclosed games and the Panna Rules.

FIFAStreet-2

So you progress through your regional tournaments, if you score enough points you are promoted to the nationals, then to the continental and then I’m guessing to the world but as I’m still in the continental stage I’m not entirely sure but I can’t see it changing much.

Another nice touch is that as you progress and increase your style points you unlock points to upgrade your players in the team. So while you all start as balanced low point players, in the end you can have your front man topped up with shooting while your defence is topped up on defence and athleticism and your midfielders are dribbling masters.

In its essence as a football game it has replaced FIFA 12 as my go to game for sports and I can see myself coming back time and time again to enjoy the experience.

It’s not all good though. In their efforts to make the game accessible a lot of the intricacies of the FIFA series appear to have been dropped. Defending is a complete nightmare; freekicks are a joke and the ability to move your players when the opposition is taking a corner on a kick in seems to have been dropped in a jar of marmalade. Oh and not to mention your keepers are all drunk and unable to accomplish a single thing.

I then gave the other modes a quick try, hitting the street is what FIFA 12 called an exhibition match and is just a single game for you to quickly enjoy a bit of street footie.

Online is split into a few parts but the distinct one is the online league where you play against a random opponent and then if you win you start moving up the leagues in an attempt to become the number one player on the planet.

FIFAStreet-3

I played a few games and had no lag what so ever and found opponents very quickly.

I then tried another mode where you team up with up to 7 other players and you each control one person on the team. This is where my initial worries were realised in full force. I started a game and my partner decided he was Christiano Ronaldo and just kept the ball to himself, juggling over players and scoring goals and I just ran around bored out of my skull.

FIFA Street Online is not a team game unless your idea of a team game is showing everyone else how awesome you are and being a continental douche.

So all in all I was right, and wrong. The game isn’t real football and it is mainly about how stylish you can be rather than any real tactics but at the same time it’s a lot of fun and if you enjoyed FIFA 12 you are going to enjoy this. I also think it’s going to help all of us score more goals in the real FIFA as you score a ton of goals in this game.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8/10

The game is a lot of fun and works well but there are a lot of bugs and issues with it that I wouldn’t have expected from the EA FIFA team

Design and Presentation: 8/10

The settings are awesome and the dynamically changing crowds are a nice touch but in a game where each character is so important they should have put more effort into distinguishing them.

Value: 8/10

FIFA Street will keep you occupied for months, it’s choc full of levels and options and the online portion is addictive.

Overall: 8/10

It’s an eight all round. It’s good but not mind blowing and well worth picking up for any sporting fan, I’m not sure EA has much chance of annualising this one though.

PS: There are no local cities in the game which I found to be incredibly disappointing. We just hosted the last world cup at least have the decency to keep us in the games for the next while. Some stages set in Soweto, Johannesburg and Cape Town would have been awesome.

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

FIFA Street
Summary
8.0

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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