Street Power Football seemed as though it would bring back that over-the-top action style arcade football that was reminiscent of the incredible FIFA Street Franchise! It looked so stylish in the various trailers, with each skill move dominating and embarrassing opponents with great panache. However, once I sat down and actually played it for myself, I found it to be an incredible mess. Each player felt very sluggish to control! Significant input lag often causing me to miss scoring opportunities or tackle at completely wrong times.
All skill moves are restricted to one button, meaning that I was unable to choose the type of trick that I wanted to do. For a comparison, in FIFA Street, you could use the right analogue stick to decide which type of trick you would like to pull off. Add to that the ability to modify each move with the use of the bumpers and triggers. In Street Power Football, repeatedly pressing X (or Square) at random intervals would sometimes pull of a trick, whereas other times, nothing would occur. This meant that I would spam the trick button in the hopes that it would succeed.
There is no fluency to the tricks here either. In FIFA Street, there are obvious animations to show that you had tricked out an opposing player to get past them. Here, it is not obvious at all. This lead to me trying to beat an opposing player by pulling off a trick, and having thought I had beat them I would begin dribbling toward goal, only for that same player to strip the ball from me immediately from behind.
One interesting mechanic that is used in Street Power Football is the curve shot. You can adjust the angle of a shot whilst holding down the shoot button for a cool looking curve shot, which often will end in a goal. However, it does take a fair while to pull off, so don’t be surprised if the ball gets stolen from you before you can finish the shot.
There are multiple game modes available in Street Power Football, with some being average at best, and others completely falling short of the mark.
Street power is the most traditional game mode, with the objective being to be the first team to score 5 goals. You can play in teams of up to 3. As mentioned previously, due to the stiff controls and the sluggish animations, this game mode becomes very lacklustre.
Become King is Street Power Football’s career mode. However, I use the term career mode very loosely, as it is just cycling through a series of matches made up of the other game modes. This title attempts to make you feel like your progressing in Become King by sometimes having a narrator appear onscreen to explain what challenges await to try to get you excited, but there is no real excitement to be found here. I found myself just trying to push through for the sake of completion rather than savour each moment of this excessively drawn out mode.
This is an interesting mode as it is essentially a rhythm game of sorts. It involves pressing a combination of buttons in time with the music to increase your score. There really isn’t much more to say here, but hey, that’s Freestyle for you.
Trick Shot is the most underwhelming mode in this title! The whole premise of this mode is to hit objects either behind obstacles or in various places that requires you to aim and curve a shot to hit them. The main issue with this mode is that it basically boils down to you aiming an arrow to pick your direction, adjusting the arrow to allow for a curve shot, and then charge up the power of the shot and shoot. Just imagine if the free kicks in FIFA 2002 were a whole game mode; that is Trick Shot.
Elimination is another mode which is quite interesting. It features a 1v1 style match that is played on half the pitch. The aim is to score on your opponent, to eliminate them. You must eliminate all 3 opposition players to win. The mode itself is a very cool addition to the game. However, because of the sluggish gameplay, it falls short.
The Panna game mode is easily the best of the lot. The aim is to score 5 points on your opposition by either scoring goals, or doing a panna (also known as a nutmeg). For non-football fans, this is when a player kicks the ball between an opponent’s legs. This mode is plaid on a modified mini-court, which means that the pressure is on all the time. Where this mode really excels is in the Panna battles, where a small Quick Time Event occurs for both players. Whoever inputs the most buttons correctly wins the challenge, which leads to either a player being nutmegged or a nutmeg being denied.
Street Power Football may seem like it could be a promising game, however it fails to deliver in almost every aspect. There does not seem to be a sense of flow, which is essential for modern sports titles. Trying to stream together passes, tricks and shots is very difficult to do because of how sluggish it is. Being able to combine different moves together to quickly move the ball up field is a necessity for a football game. Street Power Football has missed the mark on what makes an arcade football game fun and has been unable to give us reason to continue playing.
Review by Samuel Incze
Street Power Football is a failed attempt at revitalising the classic arcade-y action of the older street footballing games. With clunky mechanics, and some very uninspired game types, this title does not really give us a reason to go back to it at all. Instead, we will go back to playing FIFA Street 2 on the PS2!
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