FIFA Street was a defining game for many multiplayer sessions during the PS2 era, offering pick up and play gaming and the potential for some crazy goalscoring feats, but it wasn’t the only option. Personally I always preferred the over the top cartoony characters of the under-appreciated Sega Soccer Slam, while my friends swore by Mario Strikers. Whatever your chosen flavour, it’s safe to say that the street soccer genre’s golden age was a long while back now. Whilst EA attempted to bring things back with the Volta mode in FIFA 20, there’s clearly a gap in the market for a standalone game. That brings us to Street Power Football, which looks perfectly set to occupy that gap… until you try to play it, that is.
Of all the things I’m going to criticise about Street Power Football, I’m not going to include the music. It isn’t to my taste and there are some awful remixes of classic dance tunes from the 90s, but I’ll happily put this down to the target audience wanting something different than I do. That one caveat down, let’s get down to business.
Street Power Football is one of the worst games I’ve had the misfortune of playing for quite some time, despite the glitzy appearance of the trailer. It manages to take a seemingly foolproof genre and ruin it across a series of dull game modes featuring some of the worst controls and smug presentation choices you could ever have to endure. I normally try to look for the positive in my reviews and have found enjoyment in many flawed titles, but trust me when I say that there is nothing here worth your time, let alone the full retail cost. To be this bad is one thing, but to price it the same as FIFA or PES is just a bit insulting.
The game is stuffed with tons of flashy trick animations as you might expect, but they lack the fluid blending to make them feel enjoyable and the general running motion looks awkward Combined with unattractive character models, it’s the most unpleasant thing to appear on a football field since the Tottenham team all came down with food poisoning. Camera angles are surprisingly poor, with the standard game being played out from a viewpoint that makes judging distance unnecessarily hard and the trick shot mini-game using an over the shoulder view that doesn’t even allow you to see the path of the ball properly.
There are times here when it genuinely looks like the worst possible design choice was taken at every turn, and remember this is supposed to be a full price title in 2020 (although given the state of this year, maybe this is exactly what we deserve). Even the presentation around the game is bad, with ugly menu screens and one of the worst uses of green screen you could expect in a video game.
The aforementioned green screen comes in due to the career mode. You are greeted by Sean Garnier, the winner of the inaugural street style world championship in 2008. He begins by relating (at length) the story of his own path to glory in a move that had me thinking that this might be a cool take on FIFA’s journey mode, but no. You don’t follow Sean’s path at all, but will be constantly interrupted by his takes on your progress. Instead you just go through an interminable sequence of mini challenges that require you to show off your skills in the various modes. These become quite tough early on, which is a positive in one way but doesn’t help when the game itself plays so badly. The whole Garnier side of the game gives the same impression as a self-published autobiography and I found myself wondering if this was some kind of Alan Partridge-like parody at times. The alternative is that it is all quite smug and self-serving, so I’m not really sure if that’s worse.
Aside from career mode (but also in career mode) you have the option to play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 standard street football, the aforementioned trickshots, freestyle, and the 1v1 nutmeg-tastic Panna mode. These all succeed in competing to be the worst so let’s see what they have to offer.
Standard street mode is the closest to enjoyable that the game gets, but mostly just makes you want to dig out literally any other football game for a better experience. Power ups are glitchy, tackling is almost non-existent and the camera makes everything frustrating. Trickshots should be fun, but again, the bizarre camera angle manages to ruin this mode. Freestyle is perhaps the worst of the lot, boiling down to being a rhythm game that really shows off how turgid and unresponsive the controls are, whilst Panna is almost entirely unmemorable. It’s almost impressive how bad the combined effect of this is, not so much more than the sum of its parts as just a barrage of awfulness.