Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Since its first release back in 2007, The FIFA series on the Nintendo Wii has tried to find its footing as a sports game. The first few installments focused more on offering the simulation side of the sport while FIFA 10 and 2010 World Cup took a more arcade approach. This year, FIFA 11 looks to offer the best of both worlds by giving soccer fans the ability to play both styles in a number of different modes. As well as giving fans the option of what style to play, a new mode has been introduced that should help solidify FIFA 11 as a go-to sports game for Wii owners.
The first change in FIFA 11 from last year is how they’re giving fans the option of playing either arcade or simulation soccer. Those looking to play an arcade-representation of the sport will automatically cling to the Street Soccer offerings. In “Hit The Streets”, you can play on a number of different outdoor and indoor venues in a 5-per-side match. Indoor soccer has been a feature missing in FIFA games for over a decade and those who found enjoyment with previous FIFA Street games will find that this mode manages to be both fast and fun.
These matches can be played in a number of different ways including different goal sizes and types. If you’re looking for a challenge, select the elevated nets which transform regular street soccer into a soccer-basketball hybrid where you’ll need to use chip shots to score goals. As well as modified goal types, there are also power-ups that can be earned as you play through a match. The bonuses include being able to shrink your opposition, super powerful shots and even better tackling.
For those looking to play regular matches of 11 versus 11, then your needs are met everywhere else. The pick-up and play mode of “Hit the Pitch” will have you playing in a matter of moments; Battle for Glory lets you play as the manager of your favorite club and the Tournament mode lets you partake in any of the available leagues or cups without all the transfer dealings and such. Unfortunately, Battle for Glory still feels rather barebones with a lot of the micro-managing having been removed. While it might not be on par with what the HD FIFA games get, it still does offer a decent experience.
Last year’s FIFA was all about arcade game-play, where you had high scoring matches and almost no defense. With the arcade style moving to the Streets side of FIFA 11, the stadium matches feel more inline with the real sport. Those who hated the idea that you could score from practically the centre-circle or that you needed to do a mini-game to win headers and dead-ball situations will be happy that those features are gone.
Past HD versions of FIFA have featured the well-received “Be A Pro” mode which saw you take a low-level player, usually a self-created one, and become a superstar for your favorite team. While that mode has been around for years, the Wii version never saw anything similar to that and it was one feature fans really wanted. This year, those wishes have been heard with what they call “Streets to Stadium”.
In Streets to Stadium, you create a character from scratch and build him up from a low-level street soccer player into a World-renowned super-star. Starting with the career starts on the streets, you’ll have to improve your player and increase their fame in order to reach the club of your dreams. The first season sees you playing the various street-game types and if you manage to win the street tournament, a smaller club will show interest and you’ll then have to go from there in order to reach the club you want.
This mode is very similar to Be A Pro; you obtain experience by completing passes, winning tackles, doing tricks and scoring goals. You’re restricted to a maximum of 30 XP per match, but can still easily transform a low-level player into a near maxed out one in a matter of seasons. As well as obtaining XP, before each match, there are also objectives that must be completed to obtain Fame points. There is always one main goal set-out with the option of choosing from 0-3 other goals you hope to accomplish in the upcoming match. Should you succeed, you’ll obtain additional fame points and if you fail, then they will take away from the fame you obtained in that match. You can’t go below zero but the risk-reward does add the extra incentive to doing well in each match. As you increase your fame, you’ll get extra perks, including becoming a fan favorite to team captain and getting your face on the cover of FIFA.
In all, Street to Stadium is a good mode, but it does still have its fair share of problems. For starters, regardless of how well you perform on the pitch and the number of trophies you win early on, it won’t be until the fifth and final season of the mode that you get the call-up to the team you want. This is frustrating since by season four, my character was already rated in the 90s, yet the best club offer was Middlesbrough from the Championship (2nd division) in England. This was annoying since I had already won cups in Scotland and Mexico and my dream move to Barcelona wasn’t happening.
My time with Street to Stadium also showed that while FIFA 11 has a great soundtrack, the commentary needs an update. In each of my seasons as a pro, the first time I scored a goal they reacted like it was my first goal ever. They also never made mention of my past glory with other clubs or my success as a street player. As well, in Street to Stadium you don’t actually play full-seasons, instead playing 10 games which act as a prep for the league’s cup. Technically, you’re only playing - at most - 13 games per season. With that, a lot of the commentary doesn’t make much sense. In a few matches, Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray were making mention of trying to avoid relegation, yet we were undefeated in every match I played.
Visually, FIFA 11 hasn’t seen much improvement over last year. It isn’t ugly and players do look close to their real-life counterparts, but when putting this beside FIFA 10 or even 2010 World Cup, you will have a hard time noticing many improvements. While they’ve done a great job in improving the gameplay, hopefully next year’s edition sees more of a push with the visuals.
If you were turned-off by the last few versions and the focus on arcade action, the ability to choose between simulation or arcade soccer will make you very happy. On top of that, Street to Stadium will keep you occupied for a very long time and should be even better next year. This is how FIFA on the Wii should be and I look forward to seeing what other improvements are made going forward.
+ Indoor and Street Soccer are really fun
+ Nice balance of both arcade and simulation experiences
+ Easy to grasp controls with tons of options
+ Excellent soundtrack
- Visuals haven’t improved much in recent years
- Battle for Glory (Manager Mode) not that deep
- Street to Stadium should get even better next year
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Release Date : 2010/10/04
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : EA Canada
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10