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Published on February 28th, 2012 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor

FIFA Street Demo Impressions

Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Since every other video game journalist has to write a quip about a soccer player or team to inform readers that they are in fact into the beautiful game, here’s mine: FIFA Street is like Fernando Torres. He works hard on the pitch, but no matter how much he pushes himself, he doesn’t seem to ever score a goal. Ever.

Street is like that. It has good ideas, and it seems like the reboot of the franchise is really trying. The problem is that it’s not very fun to play. Instead it’s just manageable.

Street Ball Control is the best revelation in any soccer game I’ve found, and the only thing in the game that I really like. Hold down the left trigger and suddenly the ball can be controlled all around your body with the left analog. The ball can be rolled left to right or quickly withdrawn behind you to make the defender bite for it a certain way that allows you to push the ball around him.

It’s simple, makes sense, and works.

The plethora of moves like step-overs, flip-flaps and the rainbow also work with simple, intuitive analog flicks and movements. It’s easy to beat a defender with one of the moves to set yourself up with a shot on goal.

Juggling allows players to show off their best Lionel Messi impression by tapping the right bumper. Tapping it keeps the ball on your feet, holding it brings it to your knees, and a push in with the right stick plops it on the back of your neck.

Moving in a direction results in a neat little flick or move in the air to beat a defender.

A problem exists with most of these moves — the game isn’t as fluid as it should be. It seems as though fluidity is sacrificed for control. Players feel like the are stuck on rails, and it feels like everyone is just lumbering around to a script. It should be smoother, and less clunky.

Another pet peeve: Karim “I don’t run I score” Benzema is labelled as a sprinter, so I’m not sure what that’s all about. It seems the more you know about actually playing and watching soccer, the less video game soccer makes sense.

As most FIFA games — especially with offshoots like the World Cup or Street series — it’s more flashy than it is substantial. The menus are pretty, and I’d almost rather spend more time in them. I like getting texts during the World Tour mode, but then I have to actually play the game.

Another issue I have is that the venues that will be in the game such as rooftops are just ridiculous. It’s just not very street or me, and I’ve played just about anywhere and everywhere in both America and England. It’s too bad we can’t get a totally playable game, and a tour mode that allows players to walk around and pick up and play anywhere in a sandbox environment.

But it’s not fair to compare a game to what it could be. However, what FIFA Street is is a ho-hum attempt at street soccer with a lot of flash. If you don’t get the core gameplay right, the flash only lasts so long.

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