PS3 Review – FIFA Street

It’s been close to four years since EA Sports last released an entry to the FIFA Street series – a more stylistic, small-minded approach to Soccer which resembles indoor Soccer.  Now, with the series being rebooted, EA Sports has thrown all the cards in, with the EA Sports FIFA development team working on the series for the very first time.  With a new team behind the helm and a less arcadey feel to the game, is this a successful one-on-one deke, or is it back to the bench feeling embarrassed?

One of the first things you needed to realize about the street games, especially if you are coming over from the traditional FIFA franchise, is that while this is a team game, it is also very much a one-on-one skills competition. Whether its pulling out ankle-breaking moves or over-the-top juggling combinations, this game is all about that feeling of making the opposing player seem utterly helpless.

In order to carry out this feat, the team has added a whole new level of ball control that allows you to stand still and move the ball around like it was on a rope, picking out just the right moment when the defender lunges in to put it through his legs or flick it over his head. Iif only the list of game modes available to the player matched the amount of knee-buckling moves that you can perform. The movements of the players are incredibly fluid and pulling off each move feels right and gives you a huge rush of excitement. Even the passing is a stylish display of skill, with every little saucer pass looking great.

Hit the Streets is a basic exhibition mode where you have four preset options or the ability to customize your game and then get on the field and play, picking teams from all over the world and from all different leagues. The amount of teams to choose from is actually very impressive and should give everyone a great choice of selection. There is also an online option that sees a huge boost from the FIFA development team, giving you a plethora of options to choose from. You can either take to team play and join up with fellow footballers around the world or you can play in 10 game seasons, where you earn points to try and move up through the 15 divisions. If any of those don’t interest you, gamers can also take their created team online and take part in tournaments. The online adds a lot to the game and players extremely smooth, with lag only popping up when an American like myself takes on someone from Europe.

The bulk of FIFA Street will be spent in a mode called World Tour, where players will have the ability to create a custom team from scratch. Pick out your logo, jerseys, team colors, country, and nickname before creating custom players or recruiting from teams you have played. After creating, you will take your team on tour to play a variety of tournaments and events held all over the world. There are six different match types that you will play and each time the rules might be slightly different. One time, you might be playing a Last Man Standing match where after a goal scored, you lose a player, then the next match it might be a 5v5 match where every time you make someone look foolish, you gain points – with the winner being the first to 2500. All of these world tour matches give you the option of four different difficulty settings, and the prize your team will win various on what difficulty you choose. Say you select the hard setting and win, then you will unlock every prize from the hard down to easy. The 4th difficulty is to actually play the event online against a real opponent.

Throughout every game, you will earn style points for the moves your perform and the goals you score. At the end of the game, each player on your team will have their points totaled up in an effort to level up. As you gain levels, you will unlock points that you can add to the players on your team. These points can be put towards speed, offense, defense, dribbling, and more. They can also be spent of goal celebrations and new moves to try out on those dim-witted defenseman that dare to try and stop you. The points spent really make a difference, as you can notice things like a higher defense helping you win more tackles or increased shooting helping you pick the corners. Also customizable, are things with your player such as shoes, shorts, shirts, and some accessories like glasses.

As you move throughout the World Tour, you will unlock new teams and venues, with each of the two feeling fresh, with new faces and a lot of color to each new area. You will find yourself playing on basketball and tennis courts, or outside on street courts. Each of these feeling very colorful and alive. Some modes and arena’s will also drop the walls, taking away the wall pass but giving you kick in’s and corner kicks. It is a truly rewarding experience overall, taking your rag-tag team of nobodies and building them into a kickball powerhouse.

One of the big knocks on the mode, and really the game in general, is a clear lack of a tutorial. With a game based so much around skill and flashy maneuvers, players are left with a practice arena to try it out the moves on their own. While none of the moves are extremely difficult to learn, and as you unlock new ones they are usually easy to pick up, it still would have been nice to have a good tutorial to start out with. Another problem with the game is the lack of attention paid to the goalkeeper. When their only job in the game is to make a save and they have issue even doing that, it can be a bit of a problem. Goalies in the game for the most part are extremely slow to move and react to the play. You can call out the keeper to attack the defender, though, this has a huge chance to backfire most of the time, as he makes the save, but the ball bounces past him and is an easy tap in.

Once you get past these two minor missteps, you have plenty to like about the game and its bevy of modes. There really is something for everyone here, from your basic 6v6, to a fun mode where pulling off successful dekes earns you money in your bank. Build up the money and then put the ball in the net to cash in for a multi-point score. Each of the different modes offer something different and do so with two players sometimes or four, even five. The real way to the game though is with friends either online or locally, as it is a much more chaotic and beautiful experience with human players who actually move, compared to your AI teammates who sit by and watch you do it all.

Graphically the game is not a powerhouse but does very good to keep pace with recent entries into the main FIFA series. Player models are very well done with plenty of attention to detail in the faces and the way each player moves. On the pitch everything is extremely crisp, with each stadium and environment looking the part. On the audio side, each game is filled with cries from teammates and your opponent, screaming for a pass or telling you good job for a successful move. The voices really add to the overall experience.

The reboot of the FIFA Street series is a successful step in the right direction, as the team has ditched the wall-climbing arcade antics in favor of a fluid experience of fancy footwork and jaw-dropping displays of skill. The World Tour mode gives you a lot of satisfaction in building up your team, but can become a bore at times due to some lackluster AI. Thankfully, most of the events can be played online, as playing with real people makes this a game of street Soccer that you will not want to pass up. Lace up your favorite kicks and grab your friends, it’s time to take someone to school.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+Through the legs and score; ball-manipulation is sick

+Game works great locally or online with friends

-Teammate AI and slow-footed keepers are a pain

7.5 out of 10