The previous FIFA Street wasn’t a huge success, but this new reboot has been topping the sales charts for quite some time. The basic setup hasn’t changed; instead of the Champion’s League you play with small teams on improvised fields where techniqua, duels and creativity are more important than condition, strategy and fat paid bench sitters. One of the things you immediately notice is that also in this sports game, EA decided to go for a more realistic approach.
This means first of all that the visuals look really good and seem less like a hyperactive cartoon, but also that the gameplay isn’t confined to almost impossible tricks. Of course these trick moves are still an essential part of why you could appreciate this more than the “vanilla” FIFA but you also need to pass and think quickly. Fear not, you human who likes to make a fool of his opponent: more than enough opportunities to make he who dares to challenge you eat dirt.
The good thing about that is that you won’t be doing it by accident. The controls are tight and clear (and completely new thanks to the so-called “street ball control”) but you’ll have to practise a lot if you want to make the right move at the right time. Veterans, even those who perfectly control FIFA, get a solid challenge while newcomers will keep trying thanks to the appeal of being able to make such an impressive trick.
Also improved is the fact that it’s not just about offense. Defense is meaningful and has more depth than before – or at least, from what I remember from FIFA Street 3. Beware and keep an eye on the sides of your field (often you can use the boarding) and of course the measurements and the amount of opponents that are present.
Playing can of course be done in seperate games in which you can adjust the rules to your liking as usual. Unfortunately you’re limited to four players per console (I miss the time of four vs four on PS2!) but you can also go online and play through the series. There’s also a link with FIFA 12 here so you can unlock stuff there when you play well in FIFA Street.
This time there’s also an extensive career mode with all features that come with such and which you would expect. You can set up your own team (with personalization for each player), choose what and how you’ll play, and there’s also a bit of social life that pops up around the corner thanks to all kinds of messages and the fact that you travel around the world together and constantly discover new locations and challenges. Just think of “Panna Rules” which gives you points for bridges or a mode in which each goal has a player from the opposite team leaving the field. Whatever you do, your players constantly earn experience points with which you can unlock new tricks and improve their skills. Variation is key and ideal for those who prefer to play against the CPU instead of against boring friends.
FIFA Street therefore has a lot to offer next to the tight presentation. Gameplay that’s a lot faster and more spectacular – but less tactical – than the regular FIFA, a great career mode and fun online features. Those who like playing soccer will no doubt enjoy this, whether you prefer playing alone or with friends.