America. The land of the free and the home of the brave…not exactly the land of soccer (or football, whatever) though. In a country where four other sports reign supreme, soccer does have it’s following in the form of MLS and what not, but it just can’t compete. I think it’s pretty awesome. Maybe not on the same level as say, hockey or (American) football, but it still holds a separate place in my ever beating heart of sports. Enter FIFA Street, a reboot of the same title once put out by EA Sports….BIGGGG! Being a totally different experience from EA Sports’ normal lineup of professional sports games, can it hold its own?
The answer, quite frankly, is yes! You might have remembered how excited I was to show off the gameplay trailer for this about a month ago or so. So when I finally got to play the finished product, I was beyond amazed with how it turned out. FIFA Street reboots everything about the original titles but makes it realistic. The game has several different modes with the main one being “World Tour.” This is where your custom created team will rise through the ranks and work your way to the big leagues. Everything about the original “Street” games is definitely back with the most notable probably being the custom teams. Your custom team can be named, a logo customized, and a team home and away jersey for bigger matches. You also create every single person on your team from their name to their stats (what kind of player do you want them to be? A goalie? Playmaker? Etc.) to the color of their freakin’ socks. You unlock more clothing options for each match you win. You also unlock more points to put into each player’s stats depending on what they do per game. You can even unlock different kinds of celebrations. Play it on a harder difficulty to unlock even more in addition to all of items in the lower difficulties. Other modes include exhibition, practice, and a bunch of online modes.
World Tour is definitely where the party is at. Probably one of the coolest features of World Tour is you’re always playing against somebody else in the world’s actual created team. I’m not talking online (although you can totally do that too), but rather the game actually picks a bunch of created teams at random and downloads them into your game. I sure had fun whooping the asses of teams such as “aaaaaaaaaaA” and “BROPOCALYPSE.” World tour helps keep it fresh by having all differents kinds of matches versus the same old stuff. One match you might be doing a team of 4vs4 (goalie being one of the four) on a normal sized map with regular sized nets. After that you might be doing a 2v2 Panna match. Panna is when you kick it through the legs of an opponent. For each Panna you do on a possession, a point goes into your point bank. If you score on the same possession, you are awarded all those points. After that you could be doing a 3v3 freestyle, where the more tricks you do go into a points bank. Same thing, if you score on the same possession and it’s wicked fancy you’ll be awarded more points than just shooting it in the net. There’s also even huge 6v6 matches on full sized indoor courts. I found these to be a totally different experience than the other styles of matches because actual rules are a factor. One type is called Futsal, which is where there are no walls on the court (the Soccer norm, duh) and full rules apply. As you can imagine, I found this mode to not fit in that well compared to the rest which let me borderline snap opponent’s ankles and get away with it. On top of all this, every match lets you choose your difficulty. There’s a bronze, silver and gold. These represent easy, medium and hard, respectively. Like I mentioned earlier, by playing on a harder difficulty, you are shown what you will unlock. You will also unlock all difficulties below the one you have chosen. Tournaments are also a huge part of world tour. These have you going into ranked brackets competing for the championship. One of the unique features of the tournaments is you can choose an alternate gold difficulty where you’ll actually be playing teams online. You can do drop in/drop out matches with your friends in a heartbeat on any single match, be it the 2v2 or 6v6. This adds unlimited replayability because you now have a friend to set up crazy awesome tricks with.
The gameplay is obviously the main highlight of the game, and it is fantastic. EA has mastered the right stick for this one. Each player can be taught new tricks and frankly all of them are badass when you pull it off. You’ll do all kinds of crazy flips over opponents, around them, and even through them. The idea is to keep it one continuous flow and the animations are fantastic. No matter where the ball currently is, there will be an animation to make it look fluent. Say you just flipped it using your legs over your opponent and it’s still in the air. If you shoot it, you’ll finish the shot in mid air. If you want to pass it, your guy will jump up and pass it. The moves all connect together in such a brilliant way that it is so damned rewarding when that ball goes in the back of the net. The game is also all about environment. Since there are walls now, you can use them to your advantage. A teammate running ahead of you but you can’t pass it to him? Kick it off all the wall. The game knows that’s what you’re trying to do and the ball will be passed right off the wall to him. You can even use it for yourself. Skilled players can shoot it off the same wall the net is on and kick it in the net like a self rebound. There’s even a level where (if you’re good enough) you can kick it off the backboard of a basketball hoop and rebound it back at you to try and score a goal. The game is all about being creative and having fun. Frankly, it doesn’t get old at all.
Flaws are pretty few in this one, to be honest. EA Sports did an excellent job in polishing their reboot. I noticed sometimes the goalie will not try and go after the ball in scenarios where he definitely should, or even in the rare case will just watch the ball roll into the back of the net. But keep in mind these are very, very rare and I imagine will be fixed in no time. The other biggest issue I had with the game was the soundtrack. Sure, it’s an international game and there will be all kinds of weird music, I get that. But this game’s soundtrack doesn’t even sport that big of a track list. On top of that, (I’m sure it can be turned off but it might not be for the better) the instrumentals of each song play throughout your match. Whenever you score, it kicks in a few seconds worth of vocals. Considering all you hear throughout the match is players yelling things at each other, I didn’t honestly mind a little music to draw them out with. But besides those? This game is amazing.
In conclusion, it’s a given that people are going to turn away from this one because it’s a soccer game. But the hard truth is that they shouldn’t. It’s the world’s most popular sport. People say, “why?” Well, maybe because you only need a ball to play it. Since that becomes the only piece of equipment you use, it makes for one hell of a game. This game is everything you would want in a sports game. It’s everything you’ve always wanted in a soccer game but couldn’t do because of rules. It stays realistic, adds some grit, and can addict even the most anti soccer fan into not putting the controller down for hours. There is NO reason at this point why EA shouldn’t reboot NFL Street, and maybe, finally, I can get my long time wish of NHL Street. Sigh. AUN.