* Prices may differ from that shown
This game was given to me for free and I have to say, if this was not the case, I probably would not have played on the game. It just doesnt strike me as a game I would enjoy, I would rather play a 'traditional' football game than one with 'altered rules'.
After some time playing the game, and after decideing it was best to view the game as not a variation of football, but a completey different sport, I have to say I did quite enjoy it.
You only have a small team, three outfield players and a goalkeeper, but one of your players, created by yourself, will grow in ability and gain experience after each of the games, making it a fun challenge to try and level up to be the best. A feat which I have got to say, does get you playing for long periods of time.
The actual gameplay is, as you may imagine, quite farfetched, and with no referee, sometimes chaotic. To score you can shoot, like normal, or do some tricks before shooting, to get a larger points reward for the goal. This is a good concept, but with so many different tricks and so few buttons available on the controller, most of the tricks are easily repeated and loose their novelty after some time.
Overall, I would say this to be quite a fun game, ideal for competing against friends and family.
While many people seem to be under the impression that FIFA Street is the first attempt to bring the Worlds favourite sport to the streets in terms of videogames, this really couldnt be further from the case, with turkeys like Kamaras Street Soccer and Puma Street Soccer releasing and bombing during the 32-Bit days, and Acclaim unleashing the thoroughly despicable Urban Freestyle Soccer on the Xbox and PS2 long before EA took to the streets, however what sets FIFA Street apart is that it is the first such game to actually have a license for player names and so on, and to emerge from a respected developer. EA Sports' FIFA series is one of the 'big two' in terms of footballing videogames, with their 2005 entry into the series being one of the best yet, so when I heard that they were bringing out a 'street' football game, the initial "oh bugger not another one" was replaced with a more optimistic view. Many have said the best thing about the FIFA games is the attacking play, and the trailers for FIFA Street were making much of the skillfull element of the game, even using Ronaldinho, possibly the world's premier purveyor of intricate footwork, for it's cover and posters.
FIFA Street, for those who have avoided the hype, is the latest in EA Big's 'Street' variants on sports. I can't say all of them for sure, but I know that at least American Football has also seen a 'Street' game in the form of NFL Street, which I assume probably sold quite well in the USA, but EA probably noticed Europe wasn't buying this, so naturally the sport most popular everywhere outside of North America recieved a 'Street' game in 2005, where it has been met with fairly mixed reviews, although the fact that many reviewers automatically dock points for having FIFA in the title makes it hard to gauge just how good it is from reviews.
The game takes the beautiful game, and many of it's finest professional players, and places them in 4-a-side matches contested not in the gigantic stadia like the San Siro, but instead on the streets of the world, with no free-kicks, no throw ins or corners, the only time the ball goes out of play is when it is in the net.
If you want an in-depth history of myself and street football, that's a tale for another time, but needless to say I have as much love for football at it's most basic level as I do the Champions League. One instant improvement I'm overjoyed to report about FIFA Street is that it gives the player the option of either setting a goals limit, at which point the game ends when that amount of goals are scored by a team, or a timed game option.
While the game lacks the revolving keepers(one of the few realistic things that disgrace got right), the fact that FIFA Street doesn't aspire to truly represent street-level football gets it away with more. The game is more like a cross between pro level football and street games. Actually, a far more accurate comparison would be the Nike 'Scorpion KO' adverts that were immensely popular on TV a few years back(the game even features many of the same players). I recall that advert spawned an on-line game where you chose 3 players and played first goal wins against another player online. It was a really great game for a website to boast, and FIFA Street is essentially a hyper-version of that game, with the addition of a goalkeeper.
The game does carry over a version of Acclaim's 'Netbuster'. This works much like a Super Meter in a fighting game, where you build up a meter by performing skillful moves(the more in a row, the more points) and when it's full, you have access to a 'Gamebreaker', as this game calls it. At this point, holding down the L Trigger with Shoot will cause your player to launch an incredibly powerful shot at your opponent's goal. This doesn't really work on the same level the 'Netbuster' did, because a lot of the time, the shot hits off a player or the goalkeeper(that's if it's on target at all), meaning you build up a powerful shot for utterly nothing. While that other thing made it a bit too easy to score with, this doesn't really do the title 'Gamebreaker' justice. Most of the time the shots aren't even that spectacular.
The basic rundown of the gameplay would by football, played at a faster pace, with all of the trickery turned up to ten. You can flick the ball of the walls, over opponent's heads and so on, and the more flashy moves you string together, the more likely a shot on the end of this has of scoring. To even things out a bit, the lack of ref makes for some really bone-crunching tackles, from which there are no consequences.
In general, the gameplay flows quite nicely, with the passes zipping about and flashy tricks coming from all over, but at the same time, the game isn't perfect, and there is a definite lag when it comes to your player performing certain moves, especially lobs and shots. The game is also hideously aggravating when it comes to performing volleys and headers, because more often than not you end up attempting the opposite of what you actually attempted. The goalkeeper AI is also atrocious, with keepers sometimes allowing the ball to roll right up to them, and others running out and punting it straight into opposition possession. And the less said about their attempts to stop shots the better. What's even worse is that even with this, EA have for some unknown reason decided to make them invincible. You cannot pull off skill moves to beat them, if an outfield player comes into contact with them, the player is knocked away.
Controlling the game works in a pretty similar fashion to any standard FIFA game, pass, shoot and lob buttons, R sprints, and the Right Thumbstick is the 'Trick Stick', only the tricks are a lot more exaggerated than the step-overs and cut-backs found in the latest FIFA title. Through-Ball has been removed to be replaced by a 'Random Trick' Button, and the two variants of tackle, step-in and slide, are as present as ever. Anyone who has ever played a FIFA for the Xbox or PS2 won't find it at all difficult to adjust to, and even if you haven't, it still won't take you very long to do so.
How much enjoyment you get out of the game really depends on how much multiplayer gaming you take part in. The single player game of FIFA Street is far too simple, and that's is further hindered by all of the above faults. The main single player mode, named 'Rule The Street', in which you tour 8 of the World's cities, playing in friendlies to build up money and skills, used to buy better players and upgrade your custom player, whom you must make before starting, and entering in tournaments. This mode can be easily completed without losing a match, and seeing as you play timed matches in tournaments, I often found myself winning by 10 goals or more.
However, the game is saved from disaster by a very enjoyable multiplayer option. In this mode, you select a team from the bevy of nations on offer, before taking on a friend or 3 in a far more enjoyable game. Sure it plays the same, but with 2 players or more, the level of competition rises, and it's a whole lot more fun because of it. Flaws don't seem so apparent when you are enjoying yourself.
To further augment the enjoyment the game brings on multiplayer, EA have installed an option where you can make custom teams of any 4 players, design their kit and name them, before playing them against your friend's teams. This is a neat option, and is almost a spin-off of a feature found in their Euro 2004 game, a title which boasted a lot of innovative options that they foolishly left out of the standard FIFA games.
Graphically the game is pretty damned impressive as well. Not only are the many stages, representing street locales of various nations, are all well detailed, often quite quirky(the Barcelona stage is set atop Gaudi's Casa Mia), but the Rome stage is spectacular. Seriously, somehow EA have managed to brilliantly capture the lighting that seems to hit the streets of Rome, actually making the Rome stage instantly recognisable for someone who has seen Europe's most majestic city.
The players aren't too shabby either, most of the big names are instantly recognisable, and they move nicely to boot.
One complaint I do have, is that some of the Nations included to be selected from are questionable. While I realise the USA team has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, I still don't exactly see a reason for their inclusion, other than maybe to pander to the 5 people in America who will buy this game. Apparently there is a big market for FIFA in South Korea as well. While this probably just sounds like a bitter Scotland fan complaining, truth be told, up until the past few months, I wouldn't have wanted the sham that was our national side to even be seen(granted they better be in the next game, unlike South Korea, we didn't have need a refereeing debacle to take something from Italy). I also really wish EA would end their issues with the Dutch national team, because it's getting very old, and very silly not having one of the world's top sides in the world's top footballing franchise.
If there is one aspect of the game that lets it down more than any other, it's the sound. First of all, there's the absolutely ear-rapingly bad commentary, provided by MC Harvey. I've no idea if the rest of the world knows who he is, so I'll enlighten you. Harvey was/is part of an incredibly bad UK garage/rap outfit, quite hilariously named the 'So Solid Crew'. They were quite big for a week, despite the fact they were wretched, and tryed to make themselves out to be some sort of 'gangstas', despite the fact they were really just a bunch of middle class pricks from London who listened to too much Wu Tang Clan and decided to start their own version. Anyway, after plagueing the airwaves for a few weeks in the early 00's, they thankfully disappeared. Apparently not content with the fact he is going out with the famous one from Mis-Teeq, Harvey managed to convince EA that he was still relevant, so we must put up with his insidious 'commentary', full of bad freestyling and ridiculous outbursts ("remember, this is FIFA Street!" - yeah, cause I forgot what this game I paid £40 for was called). The only joy I get out of it, is that while he just talks rubbish, a member of a 'rival crew' is actually on the soundtrack.
Ah, the soundtrack. It's only marginally better than Harvey. EA went the same route as Acclaim, and decided that everyone who plays football on the street is apparently into rap/r'n'b/urban culture, so it's flooded with artists from these genres. Granted there are some respectable names in their, the previously referenced Dizzee Rascal for one, but this kind of music isn't my thing. That shouldn't be a problem on the Xbox though should it? at least it wouldn't if EA weren't lazy bastards and once again chose to eschew the custom soundtrack option.
When all is said and done, while FIFA Street may not be great, it is leagues better than the Acclaim disgrace, and even if it's a pretty poor single player game, it does boast a decent multi-player experience, which is perfect for a breath of fresh air, given that FIFA 2005 has been played pretty much to death by my friends and I. I would recommend the game to fans of football, but not at full price. It's getting cheaper these days, and should you find it around the £10 mark, then it would be a good acquisition. It's fun, if not spectacular.
Sometimes you play a game and you just have to wonder why game designers feel the need to keep on churning out adaptations of other games which are not really any improvement on what has gone before.
To be honest the FIFA franchise of football games has been pretty good so it is disappointing to report that FIFA Street left me cold as a gaming experience.
This version sees you playing a series of four a side games in a varied number of street locations which are heavy on the prevalence of signs of urban decay and lots of graffiti covered walls. On the plus side the fact that there is no out of play areas means that the action is continuous with the only stoppage being when the ball goes in the net and whether y choose to play a time limit game or first to reach a certain score the action is pretty much constant.
The big problem with the game however is the appalling AI which sees player just standing around waiting to be beaten or reacting very slowly when the ball is in their teams possession. This is made worse by the fact that even the player you are controlling may act in this way and the only way to overcome it is to switch the player you are controlling.
The players do have some pretty cool tricks and the controls are easy to master as you rarely need to combine more than two buttons to perform a trick. At times it appears more important to humiliate an opponent rather than actually scoring. As for the goalies, well one minute they will make superb saves while the next they will let the softest goal in that even your granny could have saved without using her Zimmer frame.
It is the total lack of realism that lets this game down, at times the ball even moves without any intervention. Visually the game is adequate without being spectacular however the players do resemble their real life namesakes however facia features may be a close match but actual movement is not.
Certainly not a game I will be recommending. If you do want to buy then Amazon has it available for £29.99 new of from £3.99 in the new and used section.