With the traditional FIFA series heading into its teens, EA has opted for a new format to woo the football gamers on the console which happily lets them tweak the same game for the casual rather than hardcore market. Fifa Streets, is a sort of NBA approach that supposedly takes football back to the street.
Gone are the rules, the throw-ins, the corners and the penalty shoot-outs, gone too is Motson's commentary, a green pitch and most of your team for that matter.
In comes continuous play, trick moves, an MC as the commentator, disused car parks for pitches and not many rules.
Based around a four-man team, the NBA styled gaming now centres around trick moves such as nutmegs and self-passes to build up your trick or GameBreaker energy meter. Most manoeuvres give you trick points and scoring goals or retaining the ball for long periods of time only helps to garner you even more. Fill the GameBreaker meter up and you get one unforgiving shot, which for the most part guarantees you a goal as long as you are facing the right direction. Pressing the shoot button sends everything into slo-mo like some dodgy Hollywood movie and the action is played out, the goal is scored or not as the case may be, everything jumps back into real time and the moment is over.
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Controls are tolerable, but will take some remembering, with most having an alternative and even both toggles being used alongside the buttons. That said, FIFA fans will probably have no trouble picking them up.
Meanwhile AI is good, but questionable at times. Goalkeepers really don't seem to grasp every time that the player running towards them is planning on scoring and depending on the level and competence of said player they will react differently and some times not at all. In short, it's a step backwards on the Green pitch variety which may point to the American “fast scoring is all” market.
To keep the game going there are a couple of modes to play, Friendly, Game On, Rule the Street, and Star Players.
Rule the street allows you to develop your own team, customise their look down to the tattoos they wear and then play then in a league against other made up teams.
If that all sounds a bit pointless you can use the FIFA element to build your own Star Team built up from players such as Beckham or Henry across certain FIFA countries like England, USA or France. The choice isn't huge and we are surprised by the lack of teams available especially as you can only ever play a four-man side.
Like certain NBA titles, FIFA Streets is a good pick-me-up football game, the action is fast paced and the constant funky beats in the background rather than a cheering crowd and a predictable John Motson commentary certain help enrich the performance.
The trick element also brings to the game a nice flair and the ability to play off the wall of the pitch rather than playing a stop start game every couple of seconds only helps to give it that arcade feeling the developers were obviously aiming for.
Complaints are that it can all become rather tedious after a while, as the courts are small and the teams even smaller. This is a ten-minute fix for any footie fetisher coming back from the pub rather than something you’ll want to invest time in, but then we think it knows that and doesn’t pitch above its station - and that’s paid off with a month at number one in the charts.