*The build of FIFA Street we played was an Alpha version of the game and was not representative of the final product. We played on the Xbox 360 and all online functionality was disabled*
Panna matches are tight, technical affairs, played 2v2 in the smaller, more enclosed arenas. You earn points for beating players, 1 for a ground beat and 2 for an aerial beat, but ideally you want to be aiming for nutmegs as they’re worth three. As you earn points through play they build up in your bank, to claim them and add them to your total tally you need to score. Scoring gives you one extra point but importantly wipes your opponents bank setting you both back to zero.
Whilst it’s fairly straightforward to build up points, cashing them in isn’t always easy. With the arenas being so tight, even just having four players fills the pitch up making it tough to break through the defence. Add to that the fact that the goals are so small, making space and shooting from distance isn’t an option unless you’ve already beaten the defensive line with tricks or you fancy chasing the shot down after it’s bounced off the wall. That’s not to say defending is a doddle, if you attack in pairs you’ll leave yourself wide open to being broken on in seconds, you’ll want to try and keep someone on the line as much as possible. The winner is the side with the most points at the end of the time limit.
We found the matches to be really exciting and a lot more tactically involved than you’d imagine. You’d think that scoring loads of points is all there is to it, which is semi true, but there’s definitely a knack to knowing when to cash in. Not to mention the fact that a cheap (tactical) goal can turn things around in seconds. When done at the right time it’ll reset all of your opponents hard work, frustrating them and giving you a slight edge, just ask Dave. 28-0. Panna is by far the mode I’ve missed most since we had to put the pads down.
Freestyle matches are similar to Panna in that you need to score to bank the points you’ve accumulated, but instead of being rewarded in small increments for beats, you earn points by doing tricks and combos, increasing your bonus bar and then cashing in by sticking the ball in the net whilst it’s at its peak. As you use tricks they become less profitable in terms of points, so you can’t just spam the high scoring tricks, you’ll need to mix things up. The games aren’t limited to 2v2 and the winner is the first team to pass a pre set points threshold. The matches we played had a target of 2500 points, which usually took around 8-10 minutes to complete, just to give you an idea of length.
Futsal is as close as this game gets to the main FIFA series. With more players on a bigger pitch, there is much less emphasis on tricks to beat players. Matches don’t exactly play like FIFA 12, but they’re a little more relaxed when compared to Freestyle or Panna matches. The emphasis is obviously on scoring goals so whilst tricks can be useful, they’re certainly not the be all and end all. If clubs were ever to appear in future any way, then Futsal would be the only mode that could possibly make it work. It’s a great mode and a lovely change of pace from the frantic feel of some of the others.
LAST MAN STANDING
Last man standing sees both sides start off with an equal number of players, which decreases as the match goes on. When a goal is scored, the goalscorer leaves the pitch and the team carries on without him. It’s a match type I was really looking forward to, but ended up being unimpressed by. The matches aren’t particularly eventful and it felt like the teams were just trading goals as the players were whittled down, making the whole match largely pointless up until the inevietable 1 on 1 that it would end with. That’s not set in stone of course and I’m sure there is excitement to be found in those matches, especially if you do end up with 1v3 or 4, but I just didn’t get the appeal (Dave wanted me to point out that he loved it and that I’m wrong).
Not so much a match type, but it’s important to point out that there is a practise arena that you can use to learn tricks. It reminded me a bit of the FIFA 08 arena in terms of style and lighting but the important thing is it’s just you and a keeper. Just like FIFA 12, the keeper AI is pretty aggressive, so if you get too close they’ll take great pleasure in stealing the ball and walloping it over your head into the open goal behind you. If you keep your distance you’ve got plenty of space to nail those neck stall to rainbow flick combos. Seriously, try doing one of those.
Again, not a match type but you get four slots for saving custom game types. You can mix and match the options present in the modes above (within reason) and save them into slots that you can quick launch matches from. It’s a small touch, but you’ll find those all over FIFA Street, little tweaks and touches that make your experience that much smoother and more enjoyable.
Overall there is plenty of variety to the match types available in FIFA Street, the beauty being that they each offer something completely different but none of them feel out of place.