When EA Sports previously did Street versions of established sports, the interpretations usually focused on creating a cartoony cousin to the experience players already knew. So, NBA Street got four-point gamebreakers, NFL Street had its wall-running and previous iterations of FIFA Street featured outrageous juggles and beat tricks.
The 2012 edition of FIFA Street's being treated as a franchise reboot and the most telling sign of that is the complete lack of any cartooniness in the player designs. It's still street footie, but it's serious street footie. The game's being developed by the same team that does the mainline FIFA games, who are taking the opportunity to introduce new controls and new modes to the kicking. Foremost amongst these is the Street Ball Control, which applies racing game inputs to the gameplay. You'll use the controller's left and right triggers to brake and accelerate, shifting your player from a standing dribble to an aggressive forward press. The idea is that you'll lure an opponent in with a dribble move while "braking" and then blow past them with "accelerate" pass move. The combination gives you a finer level of control over the player, practically letting you stop and re-direct on a dime. While the exaggerated likenesses are gone, Street's still all about the tricks and you'll see insane spins and dazzling footwork as you move the ball downfield.
All that agility's being taken out of the more familiar stadiums and put into 40 memorable locations in the world's most iconic cities. Some, like a Shanghai rooftop, mimic the vibe of a local playground, while others put the beautiful game in unlikely spots like a canal in Venice or in front of the Notre Dame cathedral in France. You'll get the spectacle of bigger venues, too, with places like Madison Square Garden available to play in.
Players will create in-game avatars in the World Tour mode who earn Entertainment Points for leveling up. Scoring's not the only goal in FIFA Street and the more crowd-pleasing your play is, the quicker you'll advance. Custom teams will also be supported and you'll be able to upload them for others to play with. Soccer's most humiliating move will get its own match types with Panna Match, where whoever gets the ball through their opponent's legs the most wins. But, the most intriguing twist to the soccer action looks to be the introduction FIFA Street's Last Man Standing mode. Two players will each start with five-man crews and every time a side scores a goal, it loses a team member. Eventually, the showdown can boil down to one person down against four or five other guys. If you've ever wondered whether your favorite player could win a game single-handed, Last Man Standing will let you find out.
The FIFA games have set the standard for the entire line of EA Sports titles in terms of what they accomplish with their animation. It might just be that the FIFA Street revival could mean a rebirth for EA's Street initiative in other sports, too.