FIFA Street 3 Review - 05/03/2008

The FIFA Street series has been well known for being a cheap cash-in that adds more tricks and a different style of football to what we all know and love, but has it paid off this time?

FIFA Street 3 is the first in the series on the current-gen consoles and adds a number of new features to the games. This time around you can't create your own player and make him a superstar, like in the older titles, but instead complete a series of challenges to unlock more 'Street Teams'; these consist of the best players in a certain area from the international teams. So the 'Strikers' have the best strikers in the game from all around the world, whereas the 'Speedsters' contain the fastest players. While it's disappointing that you can't create your own team to play through leagues and the main challenges, you can create them in a multiplayer mode (more on that later though). The challenges that you take are extremely repetitive, so much so that they become dull, boring and often frustrating. These are essentially the same throughout the game, only differing in the number of goals that you have to score to progress or the way you have to score. It is either a game where you have to score via heading/volleying, game breaking (exactly the same as the previous games) or just beat the team by scoring 5 times before they do. After doing a set of challenges, in which there are nine, you will unlock a few 'Street Teams' and the next set of challenges. This is the only single player element to the game and has literally no replay value and only takes a handful of hours to complete.

The game controls almost exactly like the prequels, with O acting as shoot, square as lob pass, X as normal pass, R2 to sprint, right analogue stick for tricks and triangle for flicks and keepey-uppeys. These controls are almost exactly the same in all football games, so are really easy to melt into if you're a fan of the FIFA or Pro Evo series and have played any iteration. Although it doesn't quite feel like a football game, more of a show-off convention as the shooting and passing isn't quite up to scratch.

Characters and scenery alike look superb.

The game's mechanics have not changed either since the original: you do tricks and then shoot, simple. Although now the tricks are more precise and you can counter, if an opponent does a trick, it almost becomes impossible to tackle as you watch your player stand and fall on the floor as the opponent dances his way past. Using the right analogue stick is a lot better than just pressing a button and waiting for results, it really makes it more satisfactory to drag the stick forward and flick it past another player. With this in mind, FIFA Street 3 also adds more tricks, such as running up walls, but it really feels like EA are milking the genre. Shooting should be perfect in a game like this, especially after FIFA 08's shot system that analysed pressure and the player's ability to determine the quality of a shot, but unfortunately FIFA Street 3 just doesn't seem to hit the nail on the head; almost every shot that you strike from a volley goes in and any shot that is on the ground won't (unless you get a game breaker). The game breaker has been implemented in many games as well as the Street series, and is always loved by gamers as it literally makes the avatar better: tougher, faster and stronger. For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, you have a game breaker bar, and to fill it you must perform tricks and shots; once it's full, hit R1 and you're away and almost guaranteed to get at least one goal whatever your playing ability may be. But this really unbalances the game and makes it even more difficult to tackle opponents using it, as they can shoot from just about anywhere and score a goal leaving you very annoyed and frustrated.

The presentation of this game really departs from others in the football genre and it is very refreshing to have EA trying something different. It really shows how much effort has been put into the character models. Whilst the graphics aren't second-to-none the cartoon style of the players adds an element of humour and variety to the game. Crouchy looks like a stick-instinct and Rooney still looks like Shrek, but zany looking players aside, the pitch (if you can call them that) are very South-American in style, and look like something out of a Joga Bonito advert, which was clearly intended. Although one of the newer features ruins this: 'Out of Play', destroying the fluid movement of the game. They may as well have added a 'Please could I have my Ball back, Sir?' mini-game. The soundtrack is not too bad of a game of this calibre and suit's the game just fine with fast, octane techno beats that would be familiar if you happen to live near a council estate.

Some of the gameplay elements don't quite work as hoped.

Surprisingly this game has big multiplayer potential as well, and can have up to 5 players locally to take on another 5 people across the world, a la Warhawk. But this is a novelty to PS3 owners, as 360 owners have had local-online play implemented for months now. Obviously it isn't as smooth as it is played locally with a friend and lag is sometimes an issue, but overall it's what you would expect with few modes and the same repetitive experience all over again.

In conclusion, this is a repetitive title that has hardly any replay value. The only people who I would recommend this to would be footy fanatics and people who like to play after a few drinks. But if you are looking for a football sim, FIFA 08 or Pro Evo will be your best bet.

- Sam Foster



EA Canada
PS3 - 360 - DS