In terms of video games, I’m not usually up on all the trends. In fact, my wife and I spend the majority of our gaming time rifling through old Mario and Zelda games from the Wii Virtual Console. I do sometimes spring for the odd sports game, however, and that’s where FIFA Soccer 11 comes in. Having reviewed FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play quite a while ago, I jumped at the opportunity to check out this latest incarnation.
I place a high value on being able to pick up and play a video game without much hassle and on that score FIFA Soccer 11 delivers. Featuring numerous gameplay options, 11 springs out of the gate well.
There is the standard “Hit the Pitch” option that lets you quickly load your team and take to a full 11 vs. 11 stadium match. This is par for the course, but where FIFA Soccer 11 really ups the ante is with the insanely fun “Hit the Streets” mode.
“Hit the Streets” is a five-on-five game option that lets you pick your squad and select a stadium. The stadium options are wicked, ranging from an indoor gym that brought back memories of bruised shins and egos to a set of back alleys in France, Brazil and England. The best part about playing in those back alleys is that the "nets" are made up of partially opened garage doors.
The street soccer modes offer a host of fun features that really bring the concept to life. Wall passes let you boot the ball off of the sides to reach your teammates and wall shots allow for a different approach to a shot on goal. And when the ball soars out of bounds in the alley, it comes sailing back over in a random location in the play area as if a passer-by has tossed it back in. You can even run up the wall somewhat for a little extra shake-and-bake.
The “Streets to Stadium” mode is by far my favourite, though. Much like the immensely enjoyable “Peewee to Pros” mode in NHL Slapshot, “Streets to Stadium” lets you create a player and take him from the, ahem, streets to the stadium.
You start by fooling around with a little five-on-five in back alleys and “graduate” to the big leagues by signing with a club and working with all of the accoutrements of fame as a big time footie star. Awesome stuff. “Streets to Stadium” lets you pick a type of player and offers plenty of design options so that you can get your look just right. Whether you’re a defender or a striker, it’s a damn good time on the pitch.