The fourth installment, dubbing by many as FIFA Street, is an arcade soccer game that has been completely overhauled by video game sports giant Electronic Arts. The last entry was made back in 2008; so fans had to wait four long years to break legs once again for this FIFA-type madness. Evidently, this version includes athlete licensing, which gives the game extra appeal with players rooting for their favorite stars in the sport. With a new engine and reworked animation, it is one of the most exciting multiplayer-based soccer games around! But it also has its bad moments and these technical issues need to be addressed.
One of the things we admire about FIFA Street is how it stays with the core elements of the FIFA franchise: tactical yet easygoing; whereas the previous installment relied heavily on intense pacing and over-the-top approach to generate an ongoing set of entertainment. When you are playing with friends, you don’t have to worry about “missed opportunities” here, such as the ability to score again off of those bounced shots, or needlessly switching to another AI just to get to the ball. The fact that the multiplayer features simple yet effective control scheme makes shared work-load among human beings a lot lighter! You and your friends can solely concentrate on creating ways to score and defending your side against unwanted goals.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same enthusiasm for the game’s single-player mode. The main reason is that the AI (of your own team) is so mindless that you’re just going to play “catch-ups” more than anything else! Defending has become quite difficult. For instance, when your opponent is on a fast-break, the game should automatically switch to the player closest to the ball. More often than not, you are diverted to your farthest wingman (who is on the side of the defensive formation) instead of blocking at the center. Another annoying issue we noticed is that AI opponent is utterly flawless in protecting the ball, doing various body-shielding to dissuade any type of tackles. This is not the case when you have possession. At default setting, your player can no longer apply simple defensive skills just so you can sustain the ball.
Playing through the single-player mode, we have found ourselves increasingly frustrated. The collision physics in FIFA Street is terrible. You can’t steal the ball without your legs being uprooted. There seems to be a force field, churning you to the side whenever you try to attack the opposing player head on. When you get tackled down, it takes forever to recuperate into standing form. Passing is also a major issue in the game. It’s so inaccurate that it leads to other team intercepting the ball! It just feels like the game does a bad job of locking in a particular player. What’s more, goalkeepers tend to make inexplicable decisions, leaving your goal exposed. So as you can see, FIFA Street is meant to be played in multiplayer. It just seems like you have to do all the work to get the results in the single-player experience.
FIFA Street offers a great reward system. The way it’s laid out is that you have to pay for the special tricks. You earn them by performing “Pannas” (actively crafting your own stylish ankle-breakers), Last Man Standing (a type of elimination match), and competing in World Tour to name a few. These tricks are amazing! You can do rainbow shot, roulette crossover, and various types of fancy juggling! They are relatively easy to use and add enhancement to your dribbling. Not only are they spectacular to perform but they also work with a degree of practicality. Speaking of dribbling, FIFA Street emphasizes on brilliant mechanics, or at least it tries to give you greater control of the ball. Holding down the left trigger allows you to pin your player to the spot. In this stance, you can manipulate the ball and then embarrass your opposition when you knock it pass him or through his legs upon releasing the trigger button.
The game features various all-star teams with top leagues and major countries being represented. This is heightened by urban menu screens and graffiti-inspired presentation. The part we like the most (besides having authentic teams) is the ability to create your own player and build a franchise! Then use this custom team to compete in World Tour and try to make it all the way to Brazil, where the ultimate championship cup is held. You can even recruit athletes around the league to be added into your roster along the way. Though the stages in World Tour are nothing like their real counterparts, they have good level of details. They look interesting and vibrant with great deal of variety from each other. These environments range from Cathedral, backstreets, parks, gyms, and rooftops. Just don’t expect any colorful commentaries. Instead, you will be able to relish on some great Latin-mixed soundtracks.
FIFA Street is a great sports game as long as you stick to its multiplayer component. The controls are easy to learn and provide cool ways to manipulate the ball. The animation is incredibly smooth and the different environments offer lasting replay value. The gameplay however suffers from mindless AI. As a result, it is difficult to defend your opposition. The terrible collision mechanics send you in frustrating tangles. The passing needs more tweaking so that when switching, you can be the closest to the ball. Needless to say, all of these flaws can be remedied simply by playing with friends, eliminating the need to rely on chances alone. The new trick system is indeed a welcome change that is both smart and stylish. Overall, FIFA Street is definitely the FIFA game you want to have for a fun soccer party.