I’m going to be honest with you. I was never a fan of Soccer, and yes, I know everyone outside of the US hates me for calling it that. I never knew the rules to the game, the teams and more importantly, I have never played a FIFA game before. That’s why I was a little worried about reviewing FIFA Street. I have to say, now that I have played the game, I think I have been missing out.
FIFA Street is obviously a soccer game that takes many aspects of regular FIFA and adds a little flair to it. The game is all about stylish tricks and shots. These aren’t just for looks either; they are essential for getting around defenders. Almost all tricks and maneuvers are performed with the right stick. When holding down the left trigger, you basically put your foot on the ball and maneuver it around while standing still. You can then perform tricks to confuse your defender, both by dribbling the ball a certain way and by luring the defender only to go the opposite way around him. By hitting the right bumper, you take the ball to the air and begin juggling. These tricks are the real show stoppers. It’s a nice feeling when you see your character flip the ball over the defenders head and continue to run with it. Ball handling and team positioning are the names of the game.
On the defensive side, I feel that the game skimps on the options. There are really only two things you can do while defending. You can hold a trigger to close your feet to stop the ball from going in between your legs during an opponent’s tricks, or hit one of two buttons that do practically the same thing: stick your leg out and try to knock the ball from your opponent. There were times I was frustrated, feeling defenseless while trying to stop opponents.
There are a good amount of modes to play in FIFA Street. You have your standard 5v5 matches, both with street and traditional rules. Street has no out of bounds and uses walls to bounce the ball both for goals and for passing. Traditional rules are much like standard soccer. There’s also a trick mode where you do stunts to bank points before scoring a goal to cash in. The fun and hectic mode is the last man standing. Every goal scored against you removes a player until there is only one man left. When you have two players against five, it gets pretty intense.
The big aspect is the Tour mode that has you create a team and move up the ranks in the Street scene. Here, you will compete in different game modes including tournaments. Each game you play and win, depending on the difficulty, will unlock new items for your characters. This mode is robust and very deep. There’s almost an RPG element to the game. You create your squad of players, some of which you can import from people on your friends list. When you play a game, they gain experience points and can level up. When they level up, you gain attribute points that can put into abilities. You can upgrade their speed, passing, shooting and more. You can even unlock new tricks to use. It really is a deep concept that is just as rewarding as it is fun.
I love the overall presentation of the game. The music goes so well with the matches. It’s hard to explain, but the music is somewhat muffled during the game, but upon scoring a goal, it turns up with an added victory flair. It’s a small touch, but a very nice one. The visuals are decent, but some animations are a little wonky at times. The animations for the tricks and the ball movement are really great, but everything else is just standard. There’s nothing too mind-blowing.
There is online play for the more competitive players out there. I experienced some lag in my games, but it wasn’t game breaking. You can take on other teams in different modes or play in tournaments.
There are a few problems I had with the game. The defensive options are one of them, but the biggest problem is the team AI. It seemed like there were times in a game where I was the only guy doing anything on my team. The AI would just get in position to receive a pass, which puts you in control of the receiver. It got rough in the higher difficulties when trying to defend against rushing opponents.
After putting some hours into FIFA Street, I really enjoyed the game. The presentation is fantastic, and the robust tour mode has enough for the RPG fan in me to smile. The game is not overly difficult to understand. After about an hour of practice, you’ll be pulling off crazy tricks like it’s nothing. After playing this game, I may even consider picking up the next regular FIFA game when it comes out. If you’re looking to get into a soccer game, or want a more stylish version of FIFA to play, you really can’t go wrong with FIFA Street.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.