Game types include simple timed matches where the most goals win, Panna contests that give you credit for banking trick points by beating your opponent and cashing them in with goals, a “last man standing” that challenges you to score with every player until none are left, freestyle battles that reward multitude of tricks, and the more-traditional futsal. Our favorite is Panna, which not only demands a lot of flair but also blends strategic decisions into the mix. No lead is ever truly safe, and deciding when to go for the goal or build up your linked moves depends on how far ahead or behind you are. The catch is that after a few rounds with each mode, that’s kind of it, and you’ve seen what it has to offer.
Street’s career mode is surprisingly fun, varied, and deep. The goal is to take your squad to the top of the world rankings by participating in local challenges and tournaments, then advance to higher-stakes matches. Your team can be made up of all sorts of players, including imports of your buddies’ online avatars (a nice touch) and footballers you steal from defeated foes along the way. Over time, each of them can be leveled up in a number of areas, such as shooting, defending, dribbling, and so on. The career tournaments can even be played against real-world players online, an interesting twist that gives you extra custom unlockables for your team. Ultimately you can create a superteam, but it’ll take some time, so be warned.
An added bonus of crafting a team in the career mode is that it can exist outside of it, too. For example, your squad can take part in 10-game online seasons and can earn promotions to higher divisions, or be relegated lower if things don’t go so well. All our online games ran smoothly, too, which can never be taken for granted at launch. Be on notice that online players are seriously good, pulling off tricks we didn’t know existed and setting up scoring plays with relative ease. You’ll need to bring your ‘A’ game to have a chance at victory.
Our group of football buddies were happy with the newly added club teams and international squads available in Street, but there is a decidedly smaller number than in FIFA 12, which means you’ll get the big European leagues (and MLS), but no Mexican, Brazilian, or Argentine leagues, nor the wide scope of international teams around the world. Each squad comes with its standard kit as well as a special “street” uniform, which may or may not appeal to you. It’s all a matter of taste, and we have to admit we didn’t exactly love them.
FIFA Street serves as a terrific appetizer and dessert when served with a standard FIFA 12 meal, with its bite-sized chunks and freewheeling vibe juxtaposed nicely against its simulation cousin’s oh-so-serious mentality. Despite its lengthy career mode and deep trick mechanics, though, it’s hard to see Street being a significantly long-term affair or appealing to many outside the existing FIFA demographic, even as big as that is. The other modes just aren’t quite diverse or deep enough for it to have the legs and longevity you’d see in its bigger brother. It’s fast, fun, and challenging, and if you’ve got a room full of buddies, it might be the most raucous way to kick back and have a good time outside of watching a game at the pub.