The Operation Sports staff shares their thoughts and opinions on the new FIFA Street demo.
Jayson Young: EA Sports has decided to take the FIFA Street series in a more realistic direction with this reboot, and I'm not sure it's the right move for what used to be a flamboyant, over-the-top brand. Yes, the player animations remain beautifully fluid -- as has become the norm for FIFA games -- but the gameplay now feels like it's simply FIFA in confined spaces with smaller nets.
On a technical level, FIFA Street is superb; in motion, it's the prettiest sports video game I've played. But I don't know if soccer fans -- many of whom have already bought FIFA 12 and PES 12 -- are that excited to pay yet another $60 for a project that feels like it could've been a $15 to $20 downloadable expansion for FIFA 12.
FIFA Street feels a lot like FIFA in a more confined space.
Bo McCready: FIFA 12 was my favorite game last year. I was excited to try FIFA Street, which I assumed would offer a wide-open, fast-paced follow-up to one of the finest soccer games ever made. Instead, the demo gave me FIFA 12 on a smaller field.
Yes, there are lots of tricks and new animations, but I don’t think EA went far enough with the gameplay in this one. It’s my belief that game developers struggle when they try to straddle the middle ground between arcade and sim. EA has already made an excellent sim soccer title, so why not go all-out and make FIFA Street loud, colorful and frantic? Based on this demo, FIFA Street reminds me of EA’s mediocre Madden NFL Arcade, an inexpensive piece of DLC that couldn’t decide exactly how “arcade” it wanted to be. When the demo for a full-price game feels like DLC, I worry about the full retail game.
Still, it’s not all bad. The animations are beautiful, the World Tour mode looks interesting, and the game features the high level of polish that we have come to expect from EA. But this demo did a lot to dampen my excitement for the final product.
The game looks simply amazing.
Caley Roark: I really liked most of what I experienced in the demo. Pulling off tricks is fluid and easy, the animations look great (save for some moments when players are sprinting) and the presentation is slick.
The game reminds me of the NFL and NBA Street games, which also focused on style as much as scoring. Even the World Tour mode echoes those past games; I love that you create a team, level up your character, and can pull in your friends' players.
My biggest concern is floor space, as others have mentioned. It feels too confined, which eliminates a lot of passing strategy. My initials games seemed to focus on beating one defender at a time until the offense zone was flooded with my players. I'd prefer a more dynamic passing game that relies on quick strategy; this doesn't seem possible with the tiny courts.
Kelvin Mak: I pretty much agree with all of Bo's and Jayson's points.
Visually, like FIFA, Street is an impressive looking game. The graphics are beautifully done, and the animations sleek. From a technical standpoint, the game is great.
What I'm concerned with is FIFA Street's attempt to strike that balance between sim and arcade. I too expected the game to be a lot more helter skelter, but obviously it isn't. I'm not too wild about it -- as the saying goes, when you try to be everything to everyone, you're nothing to no one. So ultimately it feels eerily similar to FIFA 12, except in a smaller space.
Another worry, one that hope will be tweaked for the full release, is that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of player differentiation. Controlling Nesta doesn't feel drastically different from controlling Nani, and if that is indeed the case for the full version, I can see the game getting old quicker than it should.
So the bottom line is that while I'm still having a good time with it (especially playing against friends), I just don't know if FIFA Street has enough depth to match its $60 price tag.