Sometimes it’s hard to imagine world where a sports game isn’t released annually, but here we have EA Sports’ FIFA Street. It’s been four years since the last installment and this title serves as a reboot to the series with some of the faces behind FIFA 12 working on the development.
First thing to know about the Street franchise, especially if you’re coming straight from the traditional FIFA games, is that these games are more about the moves and tricks you can pull off to shame the other team. Of course it’s still a team game, I just felt that the primary focus was no longer the game, but, excuse this term, the swag and the one-on-one skills.
After I clumsily struggled my way through my initial confusion, FIFA Street was a blast to play. The trick controls work so well that even I, Miss. Ugh Sports, could get a hang and even have fun with them. This title is undoubtedly more focused on the tricks/stick movements and timing than on passing and the like. If anything, this made it more enjoyable.
Tricks are performed with the right stick (in World Tour mode they need to be unlocked as you level up your players) and they range from simple moves to the more complicated juggling and multiple step moves. How precise the game demanded you to be was sometimes painful, yet also incredibly satisfying when moves were pulled off without a hitch. I can admit I didn’t do that often, but hey, let me be proud of my little accomplishments.
There are multiple game modes and each is different enough to give the game various flavours. The straight 5-a-side matches are standard and Futsal is similar but played on a pitch without walls so there’s no wall passes and you’ll want to be more careful with errant shots. There is also Panna Rules and Last Man Standing. The latter two were rather unconventional to soccer and I had some fun with them.
Graphics wise, FIFA Street isn’t a shining example of eye-candy. Does it still look good? Yes! The game is definitely not a jaw-dropper, but does very good to keep pace with recent entries into the main FIFA series. Everything looks nice and crisp, including the environments and the player models. Especially the latter which had plenty of attention to detail.
The audio is pretty much what I’d expect from a sports title. You have teammates and opponents shouting for all sorts of reasons, from demanding a pass to cheering for a successful move. It’s nothing special, but I can say it did add to the feel of the game.
Coming from the least sports-savvy person you may come across, FIFA Street was a fun title to play. I believe that if it had the ability to make me enjoy playing (when, really, the last thing I want to play is a sports game), it had to have done something right. I had a lot of fun fine-tuning my fancy footwork and learning the ropes of the game. The only thing I found lacking was the game’s AI and, thankfully, most of the game can be played online.