'Fifa Street' is a soccer game focused on quick moves and stylish tricks used to outwit one's opponent. The focus on fast gameplay removes some of the strategy from passing and play making but the distinct focus on flare separates 'Fifia Street' from other “Fifa” titles. The ease of pulling off tricks and stylish moves makes for an enjoyable experience but a few key flaws prevent the game from becoming a truly great sports game.
'Fifa Street' is all about ball control and using impressive moves to skillfully push pass defenders to get a shot on goal. The player can play through the singleplayer "World Tour" mode to try and make it to the world cup finals or the player can play through the game’s dedicated online component where players can face against each other in single matches and tournaments. There is also "Hit the Streets," which gives players a quick fix of a single match in any of the games different match types. Furthermore, throughout the game the player will accumulate points that he/she can use to upgrade his/her squad to create a powerhouse of a team. Also any singleplayer match can be played co-operatively.
The Feel of the Street
The graphics and sound are nothing spectacular but do offer a passable sense of immersion throughout the game. In particular the animations of the various tricks one can perform are fluid and flashy and add a touch of believability and weight to the characters. The venues and characters are vibrant if not extremely detailed and the in-game cutscenes are flashy but lack any real substance or originality. Thankfully there is nothing that looks down right bad and everything feels like it belongs, just nothing looks outstanding. The game offers an eclectic mix of up-beat music to keep the blood pumping and the in-game sound effects are enough to make the player feel as though he/she is making solid contact with the ball.
Tricks of the Trade
The right stick controls all the moves the player can perform. Flicking and moving the right stick in specific directions will result in an assortment of different moves such as body feints and rainbows (where the player knocks the ball over a defender’s head and collects the ball on the other side of the defender). Pressing and holding right bumper will allow the player to juggle the ball in the air, which in turn allows for a series of different moves. Holding left trigger puts the player into "street ball control," which allows the player to kick the ball back and forth between his/her character’s left and right feet to confuse the defender. Each move in the game allots a certain amount of style points to the player that translates into points used to upgrade teammates. Pulling off incredible moves is easy, fun, and rewarding. However, as much as it is fun to pull off incredible moves while attacking the goal, the game falls apart when the player is on the defensive.
Defending the Goal
Defense in 'Fifa Street' feels like an afterthought when compared to the sheer amount of options the player has while he/she is on the offensive. There are only a few moves the player can use to defend the goal and none of those moves offer any flash or interesting gameplay. In many respects, defense seems based upon luck rather than based upon any specific player skills. Some extra moves and abilities for defenders would have helped immensely to improve defense. As it is, defending an attacking team slows the pace of the game to a crawl resulting in boring and uninteresting gameplay. However, defense is not the games only problem.
Switching and AI Teammates
The game has an odd mechanic for switching between teammates. As expected, when a player passes a ball to another teammate the game rightly switches control to the teammate who is receiving the pass. However, there are moments when the game switches control to another teammate, without any player prompt, that just does not make sense and can result in frustrating moments that may have one running away from the ball rather than towards the ball. As well, the teammate AI is largely useless and frustratingly incompetent at times. Thankfully, even with the odd teammate switching mechanic and lousy AI, the game remains enjoyable overall but these issues should be addressed in future versions of the game.
Tricking Through the World
World Tour offers several game modes to play through but one of the most interesting elements of the singleplayer campaign is that one can play the World Tour tournaments online against other players. The game also download's teams created by other players and uses them as computer controlled opponents. The online components of World Tour and the team downloads help to connect World Tour to the larger "Fifa" community, which makes the singleplayer feel connected to more than just singleplayer stats and achievements. World Tour also offers a good variety of game types that are either focused around scoring points by doing tricks (Such as “Panna” and “Freestyle” matches) or game types focused on scoring goals to win (such as more traditional 5v5, 6v6, and tournament play). Overall the selection is surprisingly broad and keeps the game from getting too repetitive.
World Tour also allows the player to design/create his/her captain and team. The customization options are fairly comprehensive for a sports game but nothing that is new to gaming. Still, the customization is a nice addition that makes one's team feel a bit more personal than a generic team filled with known players with recognizable names and faces.
Online gameplay is primarily comprised of single matches between 2 players and online tournaments of ten players competing for the top spot. Oddly the only game types offered in the online section of “Fifa Street” are 5v5, 6v6, or Futsal (official tournament play). This is especially odd since through the online component of World Tour one can play against online players in some of the more unique game types. This means that “Fifa Street’s” online is spread across two distinct game modes resulting in a rather cumbersome multiplayer design. Offering every match type in the game’s dedicated online section would have simplified finding online matches for each game type. The most unique game mode offered in “Fifa Street’s” official online mode is “Online Team Play” where only the captain of one's team plays alongside other captains to try and win the match. In Online Team Play each team member is comprised of other online players resulting in a frantic and fun game mode. Overall, despite the odd choice of splitting the online over two game modes, the online is fun and competitive with minimal lag.
'Fifa Street' is a fun and at times outrageously flashy soccer game with plenty of moves and excitement to satisfy soccer lovers. Unfortunately the game slows down tremendously while on the defensive and an odd teammate switching system and unreliable AI hinder the game from being truly great. Thankfully the high scoring games ensure that players are constantly on the move resulting in a fast-paced experience. Navigating “Fifa Street’s” online components is more cumbersome than it should be but online play is still fun and rewarding. Overall, if you are someone who loves scoring goals and takes sports games a little less seriously than others then 'Fifa Street' is a good choice for you. If, however, you enjoy a slower and more deliberate/tactical soccer experience then 'Fifa Street' may not be what you are looking for.
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