The latest entry in their long-running Street sports line, EA Sports Big’s FIFA Street does offer a bit of promise for those looking for an unconventional soccer game. It features the kind of gameplay that’s easy to get into and manages to keep you hooked for a few games. However, it’s the longevity that the game really lacks in, as well as any sort of distinct details to make it stand out. If you like soccer, however, it’s worth a look.
Pros and Cons
+ FIFA Street offers quick and easily accessible gameplay, complete with a Trick Stick and some nifty-looking passes.
+ Some cool unlockables, courtesy of “skill bills”.
+ Has several modes to play around with, including, strangely enough, a straight up “friendly” mode.
+/- The playfields look solid enough, and some of the animation is very good, but some other details seem to be lacking.
+/- An eclectic mix of music doesn’t mesh well with an annoying announcer or average sound effects.
+/- Multiplayer bouts are fun, but the gameplay never really evolves like it should.
– No sign of online play support whatsoever.
– Lacks a genuine personality, despite its attempts.
EA Sports Big’s attempt to bring the world’s most popular sport to a street format succeeds for the most part, although there are things keeping it from the same caliber as February’s earlier release of NBA Street V3. It’s fun to play for a little while, but soon wears out its welcome without any stepping-up of the gameplay, nor any sort of online play. It’s still a kick, but it seems like it’s done in worn-out sneakers.
It seems that the Street games have been providing EA Sports Big’s label with a huge advantage. Starting off with the launch of the successful NBA Street, the brand has since spread over to a different sport, with NFL Street and now finds its way onto the soccer field with this latest release, FIFA Street. It seems kind of odd that EA would release this game in the same month as their stellar NBA Street V3, but my guess is they had a “one-two punch” idea in mind in terms of their advertising and delivery. But if NBA was a haymaker, FIFA Street feels like a softer blow to the stomach. It has impact, but not nearly as much.
Like the previous games before it, FIFA Street applies a few rules from the real-life sport. It involves teams set up in a 4-on-4 player format (three general players plus a goalie), and allows players to kick a soccer ball around, passing it to other players and attempting to score a goal in the opposite end. But the traditional idea is then surrounded by style, as the game utilizes the same sort of Trick Stick motions to give the players some attitude-fueled moves. Pushing the Trick Stick while you have possession of the ball allows you to perform some kind of fancy leg maneuver, like kicking the ball between an opponent’s legs or performing a fancy foot motion in an attempt at a pass.
The Trick Stick is nothing new- NBA Street V3 introduced it previously. But the fact that EA put it into an all-new sports game and has added a style all its own as a result is a nice touch. The game also features a solid passing system and the ability to bop the ball into the air, so you can set up a one-timer attempt for the goal. Defensively, players can attempt a steal or even perform a slide kick to knock the ball back into their possession- without having to fear a yellow card, since referees are nowhere to be seen.
So the gameplay sounds fresh, right? Well, that’s the problem. It lacks any sort of general variety, so while some tricks look good and some well-scored goals can be achieved, there are not nearly enough ways to look good completing a play. With NBA, at least, you could set up alley-oops, three-pointers, and a handful of wonderful dunks. Here, you’ve got one timers, bouncing balls off the walls, a slip past a goalie on a rebound, a few good straight kicks…it just seems to run out of steam quicker than it should. If there was a way to incorporate the Trick Stick into more shots, it would’ve been a lot more unpredictable…oh, well, perhaps in the sequel.
The game does have a wide variety of modes to play through, including a “friendly” mode where you can play traditional soccer without the roughness. You probably won’t touch this, and will probably go right into exhibition or “rule the street”, where you can build your dream player and set up a team. The problem within this, however, is that the customization options aren’t so widespread in terms of creativity. You can still tweak stuff, but not nearly enough to set up a personality. It seems limited. Worse yet, the game lacks any sort of online play. And I tell you this. FIFA is a worldwide phenomenon. There is no way- NO WAY- that EA could’ve skipped online play without keeping that in mind. It hurts the replay value tremendously, although a four player session with friends is still a good time to be had.
As far as graphics, the game looks all right. It features some excellent animations, especially with the tricks, on the players, and also has some lighting details that are worth noting, if not an exceptional amount. However, the arenas themselves really don’t shine through enough on design, as most of them end up looking like your typical dingy environments. I think more detail could have come into play here, just like with NBA Street. The sound also tries to distinguish itself from the pack, but the sound effects are average at best and the announcer, MC Harvey, becomes increasingly annoying. Only the nice mix of EA Sports Trax saves the day. Wait, did I just say that?! Yes, EA did their job right with the music, as there’s plenty of good beats to keep you kicking. They should keep up this trend instead of selecting songs that don’t belong.
So what’s the final say on FIFA Street? Is it enjoyable? Well, yes, but that depends on how long-term you’re talking. The game is quite a great deal of fun for a few rounds, but you can tell that by the tenth or so, you’ve probably run out of ideas and are resorting to old tactics. The game’s looks and sounds try to distinguish but fail to really leave a mark, aside from some international tunes. And the lack of online play hurts- and not even all these unlockable players and extras can make that up. But, for what it’s worth, FIFA Street does have its kicks- it’s up to you to see if they’re endurabl