FIFA Street 3 Review
So far, EA BIG titles for the PlayStation 3 have been hit and miss. There was NBA Street Homecourt, a definite hit, and then there was NFL Tour, a miss. FIFA Street is EA's next major arcade franchise that deals with a popular sport, and its third entry has arrived. The first two were quite welcomed; gracing both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and that makes FIFA Street 3 the series' first next-gen iteration. So how does it bow in?
It's been a long time since I've played the past two games, so I'm not going to compare FIFA Street 3 to its predecessors. That said, FIFA Street 3 enters into an all new generation, one where you are expected to show your gamers something new, and eye-opening. Unfortunately, Street 3 brings nothing new to the table. It does still feature its well-known arcade gameplay, with wall running and over the top tricks, but it does it in a fairly average fashion.
But don't think that FIFA Street 3 is a bad game, because it really isn't; it's actually quite fun to play. The problem is the value of the game. For $50, you aren't getting a whole lot of bang for your dollar. For starters, there are only 18 national teams for you to choose from, so no Premier League squads, etc. In addition to the 18 national teams, there are a number of categorically selected Street teams. For instance, there is a Street team called "Stocky" and it is composed of the sport's heavier players, such as Rooney and Gattuso. Another team is called the "Youth Stars" and it is as its name indicates.
Initially, most of the Street teams are locked. So in order to unlock them, you have to defeat them in the FIFA Street Challenge mode. Challenge mode is the game's tournament mode, and here is where you'll play through a series of 9 events, each event complete with its own series of challenges. Challenges will include winning by scoring five goals, winning by creating a three-point spread, winning by scoring five header and/or volley goals, etc. The FIFA Street Challenge mode is only as long as you make it out to be, so veteran players should be able to breeze through the events at a more brisk pace than newbies.
Aside from that, there isn't much else to FIFA Street 3. The other game modes include nothing but multiplayer modes, such as: Head to Head and Playground Picks. Head to Head is your standard versus mode, where a total of seven can compete. You can choose the match type, be it a timed game, first to score certain points, score difference, Gamebreaker goals only, header and volley goals only, and a standard match with no Gamebreakers.
The Playground Picks mode is a multiplayer mode where you and a friend select your teams, then before game time, you take turns picking which players you want on your team. It doesn't really deserve its own game mode, as it could've been used as a match type - but I suppose filling some space was required.
I also have to mention that a seven player cap is a little unusual, seeing as how these teams are comprised of eight mobile players, and two goalies. Why this game doesn't support eight offline players leaves me clueless - but it is better than the four supported by the Xbox 360 version. Online, thankfully, is good for a proper eight gamers. Here you can play much of what you have available offline, but instead of a Challenge mode, you have a World Challenge mode, which will take you on an 18 game tournament against others.
Finally, I have to express my concerns with the A.I. I've noticed my players far too often stand still as a ball slowly rolls past them, or stand still as a ball stops nearby them. Little things like that bug me tremendously, and I found the A.I. repeating various mistakes on even the hardest difficulties. Ultimately, though, this just doesn't feel like a worthy package. At $40, I'd have said that FIFA Street 3 is an acceptable value, but at $50, and a lack of interesting modes makes the game suffer. It is a fun game, but it'll wear thin quick.
Visually, EA's decision to go with such a cartoony look still hasn't settled with me very well. I do appreciate the art, and it does give the game a very quirky look and feel. Additionally, it allowed EA Canada to put together some very bright and artistic stages for the game. Still, that doesn't mean that the players have to look so simplistic. I firmly believe that the game's stars could've retained their artistic caricatures, as well as feature next-gen details to make them pop. I do applaud EA on a job well done artistically, but on a technical scale, I'd like to have seen more.
That aside, FIFA Street 3 does run at an exceptional framerate - a silky 60 frames per second, while outputting at 720p. There isn't much in terms of texture detail, but the image quality is rather polished, minimizing any blemishes such as jaggies and tearing. Animation is also nice and clean, which isn't a surprise, seeing as how NBA Street Homecourt did well in that area too. And I really do love the scenery of each of the game's locales.
As far as the audio goes, my hat goes off to EA for putting together an absolutely brilliant soundtrack. The soundtrack consists of 30 tracks, all of which are electronic and heavy on the bass, and fit the game exceptionally well. I wholeheartedly believe that the soundtrack contributes to the gameplay, as it captures the feel of the game like few soundtracks can. There is no commentary here, but you will here players converse and exchange words every now and then. But the soundtrack truly is the star here.
If you really loved the first two FIFA Street games, then I can recommend the third. If you've never played a FIFA Street game and have a PS3, then I suggest renting the game first. If you're a FIFA Street veteran expecting something drastically different, then you'll likely end up disappointed with Street 3. As I mentioned earlier, it is a fun game; it's just that it doesn't offer much in terms of value. It looks nice, for the most part, it controls well, and soundtrack is fantastic...but at the end of the day it needs to pack a bigger punch...or should I say kick. Har-har.
Fun game. Lacks value.
2/19/2008 Arnold Katayev