Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FIFA Street Review

FIFA Street was once a series of caricatures exaggeration reality in order to completely defy physics while performs moves with a soccer ball. However, it has been some time since FIFA Street 3 and EA elected to complete reboot the franchise with a more realistic approach to in-game physics.

Gone are the cartoonish players of previous iterations and in there place are more realized, up to date models of players that fans of FIFA proper will identify with. This allows the game to be more accessible to the gamers who might have been scared off by the old FIFA Street's presentation and gives them a context they are more familiar with.

EA Canada has done a fantastic job in revitalizing a series that was becoming stale. It's clear the effort that the team point into the game. Multiple leagues are represented and within those leagues, player likenesses have been transported as well. Even Major League Soccer teams are well represented. Naturally Donovan looks like Donovan but what of players with less world fame? Rest assured, Fredy Montero looks like Montero, Beckerman looks like Beckerman and DeMerit looks like DeMerit. The presentation of the game is strong. Menus are easy to navigate and the team has done a good job of blending an urban approach to an otherwise standard FIFA menu system.

Gameplay is something that FIFA proper players will feel right at home with as well. A new control scheme allows for easy manipulation of the ball and tutorials do well to show players the ease of performing tricks. I highly recommend taking the extra two or three minutes of watching the tutorials rather than jumping right in, because once viewed, the learning curve is simple and easy to ascend. Players, regardless of skill in reality, fit in well with the game and rarely will you ever feel supremely disadvantaged because you chose one team over another. There is enough variety to keep players happy, but also enough parity to keep things competitive.

The sounds of the game have done away with an announcer or loud music and instead you have a softer set of tones overlapped by the shouts of teammates and spectators. It was a bit awkward at first, but I found it grew on me quickly. The shouts seemed natural and matched up with what was going on nicely. I'd be remiss not to note that in many matches, I could swear I hear the voice of Allen Hopkins telling me nice pass. It was a bit eerie, but made me chuckle nonetheless.

The game also comes packed with various modes of gameplay ranging from 5 on 5 to Panna (bonus points for nutmegs and tricks) and even an elimination mode where you lose a player as you score goals, making for some interesting tactical choices on the fly. Official Futsal is also included, which may appeal to certain players out there proficient in street soccer.

My one true gripe with the game is the passing/shooting mechanics. I found it frustrating that I could perform all types of fantastic tricks and have excellent ball control, only to miss an open net from close range. The disparity of personal skill to team tactics in passing was also evident. Again, I could perform a wonderful rainbow, but a simple pass to a teammate would run errant. This is clearly a design choice to emphasize individualism in a game where individual feats are meant to be the showcase, I just found it a bit too frustrating to get over.

Overall though, what you have is a fine reboot to the franchise and an excellent compliment to FIFA proper. FIFA Street is the perfect substitute to tide you over until FIFA '13 and is a great game in it's own right. It comes recommended with an overall score of 8 out of 10.

My own review seemed to mesh well with established game reviewers IGN, whose video review is included in the article. They were a bit more in depth than my own review, so definitely give due credit.

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