During the midlife period of the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, EA Sports released numerous titles as part of its EA Big brand of games. NBA Street was probably the most popular, and its success spawned various other Street-branded games, including three FIFA Street games. It has been more than three years since the release of FIFA Street 3, but the series is making a return in 2012, and it is going in a very different direction. While this is street footie, it doesn't convey the over-the-top style of the past. We had the opportunity to fool around with the game and see the changes that have been made to the series.
From the first moment you step onto the pitch, you can see that this game takes a very different approach from previous games. Gone are the cartoony-looking players, crazy animations, and goal-scoring absurdities that were available in the past. This is how the sport would look and play on the streets. Players feel as they would while playing on a grass pitch, but now, they're playing on different street venues and reacting to the solid ground. While the wall is still your friend, you won't see these players running Matrix-style to avoid defenders, and scoring a goal from your own end won't be easy; it's possible but quite hard to pull off.
But that's not to say that this is just regular soccer played on the pavement. Players can still perform nutmegs, dummy moves, and dribbles to fool the opposition, but these are moves that anyone with proper dribbling skills can perform in real life. Performing these moves works in a number of different ways. Your right analog stick is used to perform the most basic of actions: shimming left or right, doing stopovers, and other similar actions. But when you begin to incorporate the left and right triggers, the players can perform different actions. Your left trigger acts as a brake; the player will stay in position and his play with the ball will react accordingly. Conversely, the right trigger is your sprint, and when coupled with movements made with the right analog stick, players will begin to perform more complex actions. When done correctly, these can leave a defender stuck in place.
On top of changing the way in which the game plays, a number of different modes and game types will be included. Match types include the classic three-a-side matches with no keeper and smaller nets, as well as five-a-side futsal matches. There's even a Last Man Standing mode available that has an interesting aspect to it: Every time your team scores, you lose a player. Thus, the goal is to be the first team without any players left.
For those who enjoy street footie but weren't too keen on the over-the-top action of previous FIFA Street games, this version may be for you. With a more realistic approach to the sport, FIFA Street may appeal to a much wider audience, and its ease of entry will entice people to quickly pick up a controller and begin playing. We expect to see more FIFA Street before it hits both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox Live in early 2012.