Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

FIFA Street

Review: FIFA Street

5:00 PM on 04.13.2012 // Joseph Leray

The somewhat mythologized sub-genre called street soccer -- as presented by FIFA Street -- is hedonistic and excessive, with a strong tilt toward showboating and theatrics. It’s puzzling, then, that EA Sports decided to use Lionel Messi for the game’s cover art.

Messi is efficient and graceful; Street is abrasive and flamboyant. His natural talent was nurtured by, and continues to flourish at, FC Barcelona, which is one of the most group-oriented teams in the world. There’s no room for cocky individualism in the Nou Camp.

Messi is kind of quiet and goofy. If EA Canada wanted someone to fit into Street’s dubsteppy chav aesthetic, Wayne Rooney would have been ideal. For a cover athlete with the sheer audacity to pull off the stunts Street allows -- but without the marketing chops -- look no further than Mario Balotelli.

Leo Messi’s presence imparts a certain malaise, and it’s not long before you start to wonder if the same marketing dudes who designed the cover also called for FIFA Street’s vapid RPG elements and stunted social networking features.

FIFA Street (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3)
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Release: March 13, 2012 (NA) / March 16, 2012 (EU)
MSRP: $59.99

Everything in FIFA Street -- from the granular acts of dribbling and juggling past opponents to the overarching systems that govern in-game tournaments and team-building -- feels loose and disconnected.

There are two different dribbling systems, but they never seem to interact. The right analog stick governs a large number of pre-animated flicks, step-overs, roulettes, and turns designed to be performed within the run of play. Another discrete system for dribbling while standing still ostensibly attaches your avatar's foot to the ball with an invisible string, but there seems to be no overlap between the two.

While there’s a certain joy in being able to (relatively easily, compared to the core FIFA series) pirouette around opponents, this joy is tempered by the concessions required to make it possible. Street employs the same player impact engine used to great effect in FIFA 12, but in a mutated, shambolic form.

Despite the ease with which players can make something cool happen on screen, Street is surprisingly hard to control for a game predicated on sophisticated dribbling, thanks to a mix of funky collision detection and overlong animations.

It is, for example, impossible to make a player turn around and face his own goal if he has the ball. On both defense and offense, players get locked into elaborate animations, which lengthens input lag considerably. Players veer away from loose balls or inexplicably fall to the ground, apparently registering collisions that never happened. When collisions do occur, Street’s distorted physics take over, sending players flying, landing in crumpled heaps.

Sports games depend on player skill and decision-making having a tangible impact on each game -- it’s what differentiates your first FIFA match from your hundredth. With its loose, unresponsive controls, Street denies players the opportunity to exert their will, and learning and massaging the engine’s quirks and pratfalls is often the most fruitful course of action. This gives Street the impression of being even flatter and more repetitive than most sports games.

Nevertheless, there’s a certain rhythm that guides each match and, when things are going well, the game can be pretty fun in the same way that, say, Asura’s Wrath may have been considered fun: audacious, maximalist, ostentatious.

It’s a shame, then, that these dribbling mechanics, problematic as they are, never feed back into the match at all.

The original FIFA Street, from way back in 2005, featured a sort of trick meter that filled up every time you humiliated some poor shmuck. Once full, this bar unlocked a nigh-unstoppable trick shot that, judiciously used, could sway the momentum of a game. There’s no such mechanic in this year’s FIFA Street, though; and the ball hops, neck stalls, and rainbows are the ends unto themselves, not part of the larger structure of actually winning soccer matches. The dribbling and juggling mechanics simply aren’t good enough to support the weight of a fully-fledged game.

This is mitigated by some of Street’s more uncommon modes. In the “Panna” and “Freestyle” modes, different skills and moves are assigned point values (the flashier the better) that are stored in a bank. Scoring a goal gives you the points in your bank, and drains the opposing team of theirs. These modes differ from the standard match insofar as dribbling and juggling -- the core of Street -- are central to winning each match, instead of being tangentially related activities. Here, dribbling becomes a tactical choice instead of a flashy distraction.

“Last Man Standing” -- in itself a variation of a common playground soccer game called “World Cup” -- also uses the available mechanics relatively well. The game starts with a full team on each side, but players are periodically dropped as each team scores goals. The first team to get rid of all their players wins. This mode isn’t as explicitly tied to the dribbling mechanics as Panna and Freestyle are, but the crazy techniques feel more vital in one-on-three situations than they do in the standard mode -- which, incidentally, comprises the bulk of Street’s campaign.

As previously noted, tricks in FIFA Street come with numerical values. In the career mode, these values build up as each player on your ever-expanding team successfully darts around a defender. The values are then translated into skill points, which are spent on upgrading your teammates’ attributes.

These RPG systems have been inoffensive mainstays in the genre for years, but Street’s are intrusive and ungainly. They generally feel like a way to arbitrarily gate players’ access to certain moves and abilities. Most of the dribbling mechanics are based on half-circle turns and flicks of the right stick in conjunction with certain other button presses. (There are dozens of different tricks at your disposal, but remembering them enough to use them effectively seems impossible.)

The patterns are recognizable, which means you may (falsely) be encouraged to experiment. But if you perform an action without having first unlocked it, your in-game avatar will stand there, vacantly. Instead of emulating the freewheeling samba of street soccer, Street constantly puts up arbitrary roadblocks.

On the one hand, skill points are accrued very quickly, which means you shouldn't have trouble crafting a viable team after a few hours. On the other, in a game ostensibly about fast-paced soccer, you'll be slogging through unintuitive menus after every match to do so. 

To recap: FIFA Street weds clunky physics to needlessly complex dribbling mechanics, and loops it back around to a tacked-on RPG system.

The Street franchise has always been billed as a lightweight alternative to EA Sports’ core titles, easygoing arcade games in the style of NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, or, hell, Mega Man Soccer. And if soccer is the world’s game, FIFA Street has always been coated in a vaguely Eurotrash sheen. Previous iterations have been carefree and simplified, but they were responsive, fun, and thoroughly committed to a campy, so-called “arcade” experience.

FIFA Street embraces the unfortunate task of asking me to remain po-faced as my character flip-flapsand hocus pocuses his way through the graffitied back-alleys of western France, and it rarely works.

This reboot takes itself too seriously -- every texture is spit-shined and gleaming, every animation wrought with care -- without the self-awareness to sacrifice technical sophistication for ease of use. FIFA Street is enjoyable only under the best circumstances, before the engine and the sheer density of barely distinguishable, locked-out moves take over.



FIFA Street - Reviewed by Joseph Leray
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Joseph Leray, Former Features Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Joseph Leray is a long-time features contributor, reviewer, and (self-styled) editor-at-large for Destructoid. He lives in Nashville with a menagerie of pets and a Final Fantasy IX obsession. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
FIFA Street

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Fast HGH Facts

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

So I Got a 3DS

Negotiations are over. Rainbow Six Siege is a no buy from me as of now.

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 72: Sexy Dog

Meesa Back! (or, here, or something.) Dev Log #1

Cblogs of 11/23/2015 + Sexuality in Videogames

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Fuck racism man, shit ain't fair. Can't stand it and I shouldn't have to. Nobody should.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Embedded pictures in Quickposts seem to be broken for me right now.
Flegma avatarFlegma
To my surprise, I've more or less figured out Rodea Wii U controls. Still a different game from the Wii version, but not as decidedly inferior in my eyes. Did the legacy medals do anything in Wii version?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
"Am I a kid, or a squid?" I ponder as I stare off into the horizon. A wise man once told me "Son, you can be whatever you want to be. You are only limited by your lack of ambition " And I want to be a squid. A squid now.
Parismio avatarParismio
Captain America: Civil War trailer dropped!: [youtube][/youtube]
lewness avatarlewness
Gah, wanna go Alexander farming but The Old Hunters ;_;
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Holy shit, Splatoon is addictive.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Duck Hunt was a trickier unlock than I expected. Jigglypuff, you are next on my list! [img][/img]
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Yay, this arrived today. Nekro is quite happy, as he's been looking forward to playing this game for a while. [IMG][/IMG]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Dtoid mobile has apparently broken again. This is it. This how the dtoid ends. *black hole opens, dtoid disappears*
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Gave Ronin one more chance before I chucked it in the "never to be finished" pile, glad I did. It could have been so much better but as a frustrating time waster it's not bad.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I'm sitting on the Fapcast's most recent recording. I just feel like I need a day for myself after, you know, freaking out about rent.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Why is every Quickpost now spaced out like poems with random amounts of stanzas that never ever rhyme?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Was anybody else here extremely disappointed by the ending of Assassin's Creed 2?
Parismio avatarParismio
Just tried Fallout 4 on my PC Via my Cousins steam account and nope, it does not run for me very well. Buying the PS4 version it is!
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
You know who never took any shit from anybody? Dr. Blight.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Am I the only one who has to pull up their sleeves to play competantly at videogames? When my hoodie's sleeves are down I play like a piece of shit but when i pull them up, I have more flexibility.
Shinta avatarShinta
PSA: Just picked up Falco amiibo at Best Buy. They had about 20 Tom Nook, 10 singles of Splatoon Boy/Girl, the Splatoon triple pack, about 30 Marths with a big sign saying "Look Who's Back!," Dark Pit, and probably about 15 others. Not too shabby.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
I long for the day that people get over their weird circle jerk hatred for FFXIII related things and just ignore things they don't care about.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I'm upgrading my PC on the cheap and I'm going with AMD, out of these two CPUs, wich one is better?, A8-7650K or FX-6300?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -