Hot on the heels of NBA Street V3, which was released earlier this month, comes FIFA Street–EA Sports Big’s first attempt at applying its successful “Street” formula to the most popular sport in the world. Like its NBA and NFL counterparts, FIFA Street offers a highly stylized, over-the-top version of the sport on which it’s based and sees soccer’s most famous players competing in locations far less glamorous than the stadiums that they’re accustomed to. The game they’re playing, on the other hand, is straight out of a Nike commercial, and it places as much emphasis on humiliating your opponents with flashy moves as it does on scoring goals. The result? FIFA Street is a soccer game that boasts far more style than substance and has more in common with the FIFA games of old than it does with FIFA Soccer 2005.
The first time you play FIFA Street you’ll be encouraged to create a custom player for use in friendly games and in the “rule the street” career mode. The customization options are somewhat limited, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to create a player who bears at least a passing resemblance to you if that’s your goal. Once you’ve settled on your custom player’s physical appearance, you’ll be allocated 2000 “skill bills” (FIFA Street’s currency) to spend on upgrading his attributes, which include speed, shot power, shot accuracy, tricks, and tackling. Your player will be pretty useless at this point, but that will change once you start progressing through the career mode and earning more skill bills.
FIFA Street’s version of soccer is a four-on-four game played on pitches that are, predictably, daubed in graffiti and that really don’t look like anywhere you’d want to be alone after dark. Matches are played either to a time limit (including the traditional halftime swapping of ends) or until one team scores a predetermined number of goals, the default setting being five (most matches last anywhere from two to 10 minutes). Since the pitches are all enclosed and there’s no referee, the only time there’s any kind of pause in the play is when a goal is scored, at which point the unfortunate goalkeeper will get the ball out of his net (assuming that he has one on the pitch in question) and roll the ball out to one of his teammates to get the game under way again. The lack of stoppages makes for an exciting and fast-paced game at times, which is unfortunately a lot more than can be said for the players’ artificial intelligence.