It’s that time again for another “Street” game from EA Sports. A next-gen reboot of a series that started in 2005, EA Canada’s FIFA Street takes to the concrete to reclaim the glory from the good old days. With a slew of new outrageous and ingenious tricks to trip up opponents, could this version of FIFA Street hold its own?
To start off, FIFA Street hosts a variety of game modes, ranging from the standard training mode and kick-off modes seen in other EA titles such as FIFA 12, to the more unique quest-based World Tour, a feature that is typically featured in EA’s Street series. The nice selection of modes offered allow for different ways to get in the game, online or offline.
The main mode of the title is World Tour, in which a captain and a team (players, team name and uniform) can be created from scratch and used to compete all over the world in a attempt to be known as the best of the best. A wide variety of gameplay types set across four stages await challengers, including standard events such as first to five point games and tournaments, to more unique challenges like Panna games (In which a team must trick out opponents and then make a goal in order to score), Last Man Standing (5v5 game where the goal is to get your team off the court first) and more. The constant cycling of the fun challenges and events keeps the game fresh, and prevents FIFA Street from ever feeling stale and repetitive, and offer quite a lot when it comes to replay value.
By defeating opponents all across the globe, loot can be unlocked in the form of clothing to change the aspect of team members. How much loot can be unlocked at one time depends on the difficulty setting chosen for the challenges, as each difficulty holds its own specific prize and can unlock the tier below it. It’s a nice little reward system, motivating players to play harder difficulties in order to get the better stuff. The game isn’t that difficult either, although Hard is occasionally challenging but never frustrating. In addition, occasionally a rival team member can be chosen and traded into the team, boosting the squad with much needed star power.
User teams will also rise up the in-game leaderboards as they win, allowing them to compete in a big tournament against the best teams in order to progress to the next stage in World Tour. The style of progression is very reminiscent of older “Street” games, having to beat smaller teams to challenge the bosses of each area, but it’s still pretty exciting to see teams improve and get stronger, taking over the world as they go along.
But what about the tricks? In keeping in touch with the “Street” moniker, the game is (obviously) a very trick-oriented affair. By snapping the right stick around in various directions and occasionally in combination with the dedicated flair button, soccer stars can perform some of the coolest and slickest looking soccer tricks ever seen in video games to daze and bypass their opponents effortlessly on the way to the goal. Some tricks require a bit more effort, utilizing multiple button inputs, but the payoff is much greater, rewarding players with nice animations as they get past the defense. Tricks in FIFA Street are pretty easy to pull off and are responsive enough though, so there shouldn’t be a problem pulling off advanced tricks as long as the inputs are known.
By constantly tricking foes and winning, team members may level up, rewarding valuable experience points that may be used to improve players stats like defense, shooting or speed; or can be used to purchase new and advanced tricks or abilities, like head dives and bicycle kicks. By the end of the game, players will literally be powerhouses, sinking goals with pinpoint precision and stealing with ease.
Multiplayer is pretty similar to the singleplayer modes, except for the addition of other players. You can play against a opponent or opponents, or with them, and take part in the large variety of game modes FIFA Street offers. Gameplay is fast and aggressive, and pretty exciting if good players are participating.
Despite being a pretty fun game, FIFA Street does have a couple of issues that make it far from perfect. The A.I. in the game is not the best around, causing a variety of annoying problems that can’t easily be overlooked. For example, occasionally A.I. players bump into other team members causing them to embarrassingly topple over each other. It’s amazingly stupid, and quite irritating. I’ve also encountered goalies or players that have frozen in place, never passing the ball even though I commanded them, and found idiots fighting for possession of a ball that was stuck at one side of the net. If it happened once or twice I would have ignored it, but sadly the A.I problems where a bit too frequent for me.
Another issue I found with the game is that shockingly, it didn’t allow the creation of female players. My girlfriend wanted to try the game out, but was turned away by the lack of female creation options. Though we kind of solved the problem by making the smallest, girliest man possible (gulp!), it still kind of sucked. I’m pretty sure girls play soccer too.
2012′s FIFA Street is a good return to EA’s arcade sports franchise. Despite a few glaring A.I. problems that occasionally present themselves, it’s a step in the right direction for next-gen arcade soccer. With fun gameplay, awesome tricks, and pretty sweet presentation, FIFA Street is the best way to play some street soccer in the comfort of your home.