FIFA Street

FIFA Street is the newest offering in EA’s alternative football series. Instead of the standard 11-a-side matches offered by the core FIFA series, most recently delivered in the excellent FIFA 12, FIFA Street provides football action on a smaller scale. You can have a total of between two and twelve players on the pitch in FIFA Street at any one time, and so the gameplay focus is narrowed, primarily challenging players to make quick decisions and pull off often complicated skill moves to beat defenders.

The recent titles in the core FIFA series have provided lasting appeal through complexity. Their high level of authenticity rewards varied tactical approaches from players in what feels like a realistic manner. In contrast, FIFA Street offers little tactical variation, and arguably little variation in how it feels to control different footballers and the way they move around the pitch. Instead, it includes complexity in a different facet ‒ in the overwhelming amount of skill moves the player can use to beat defenders. There are myriad ways to flick ball over an opponent’s head, or around them, or even through their legs (a technique referred to as “Panna”). The footballer collision and physics engine has been successfully imported from FIFA 12, adding a satisfying nuance to one-on-one situations, and this combines with the multitude of skill move options to create a simulation of surprising depth.

The central “World Tour” mode of FIFA Street has you build a squad from scratch (featuring your FIFA 12 Virtual Pro, and your friends’ Virtual Pros too if you can stand to look at your friends), selecting events from a world map and besting them on three difficulty settings to unlock various rewards, such as new hoodies or shorts for your team. Occasionally you will be able to recruit replacement squad members from vanquished opponent teams, or you can stick with your original roster if you like, earning experience and skill points to spend on attributes and skill moves. The process for doing so is a little arduous ‒ the interfaces in FIFA Street suffer from the same stickiness and incongruity as in the core FIFA titles, but you soon learn to live with them. There is some variety to events and arenas. In “Last Man Standing” each time you score a goal, your team loses a player. The winning team is the first team to lose all their players in this way. It’s good fun with friends, provided you enjoy swearing at your friends. The “Panna” mode is also worth a mention ‒ in it, you earn points by beating opponents with skill moves, but can only bank those points by scoring a goal. It’s one of those game types that will have you sticking your tongue out in rapt concentration like a Spirographing five year old. The modes can be played in local and online multiplayer, as you’d expect.

So, FIFA Street has plenty to offer. Ultimately though, the problem is that the control pad technique required to master FIFA Street is far in excess of what it takes to succeed in the likes of FIFA 12. To improve in online competition, players will need to put in arduous practice as if they were trying to master Street Fighter IV, or Skate. The average core FIFA series player is likely to find FIFA Street easy to learn but very difficult to master, and so will probably rather just go back to FIFA 12. Those that stick with it are likely to find FIFA Street a sports title of rewarding depth featuring a high skill ceiling which is just unpredictable enough to keep things fresh.







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