FIFA Street 3 PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports BIG
Release Date: Out Now
We have criticised the previous games in the FIFA Street series for not having the option to play online. Given that in the last round of consoles only the Xbox truly embraced online gaming (Dreamcast aside) this wasn't surprising. With the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 however, we have two consoles that are really focused on providing a solid online multiplayer experience and FIFA Street 3 really reflects this. In actual fact the game is multiplayer orientated and if anything you could argue that the single-player experience is rather lacking this time around.
FIFA Street offers a good selection of modes but most are multiplayer only. The only single-player options are to take part in an exhibition match (by choosing Play Now from the main menu), practice and FIFA Street Challenge. In FIFA Street Challenge you'll take your team through an assortment of tournaments. Each tournament has a variety of challenges that you'll have to complete. They aren't all a question of simply winning a match in the usual manner. Sometimes you'll have to be the first team to score a certain number of goals and there are challenges that require you to score with volleys or headers only amongst other things. FIFA Street Challenge is a decent mode but there's no sense of depth here. You don't have a player or team that you're constantly developing and that's a real disappointment.
Whilst the single-player side of the game is disappointing (in that there's not much to it) the same can't be said of the multiplayer portion of the game. The modes on offer are Head to Head, Playground Picks and Online. Offline multiplayer caters for four players on the Xbox 360 and seven players on the PlayStation 3. Head to Head allows you to play a best-of series with your friends. You can play a variety of different games with matches requiring that the goals are scored with a header or volley, goals needing to be scored with Gamebreakers, scoring a set number of goals within a specific time or having to win by a certain amount of goals etc. You can also opt for a straightforward game of Five-a-side. Playground Picks enables you to pick your team one player at a time, which is reminiscent of how children pick their teams when playing football at school. When playing online you can play a Quick Match, Custom Match, Playground Picks and World Challenge (which is similar in principle to the Interactive League feature that exists in the FIFA games).
If you've played any of the previous FIFA Street titles you'll already know that the series is far from a simulation. There are no penalties, corners or throw-ins. There are no offsides or fouls. The idea is to play with style, performing tricks and filling up your Gamebreaker meter. Once the meter has been filled you can activate a Gamebreaker moment during which your players will perform with skill boosts and as a result it's easier to score during this time. There are plenty of players, past and present, represented in the game and you'll get to unlock a fair few of them as you play through the FIFA Street Challenge mode. The players are split into four categories playmakers, enforcers, tricksters and finishers. If there is a criticism to make about how the game plays it's probably fair to say that tackling doesn't feel satisfactory and the AI doesn't do a great job of providing a good defence. On the whole however, the difficulty of the single-player game feels just about right.
The presentation of the game is impressive. Deaf gamers won't have any problems. There is no match commentary and all of the important information (such as tutorial tips and objectives) is shown in text. During a game players make some occasional comments which aren't subtitled. Icons are shown next to your players to show you what type of player they are. The players have an almost caricature look about them which seems strange at first but it certainly fits in with the nature of the game. The various pitches you play on include the usual kind of bizarre locations such as a Tokyo rooftop and tropical beach and they all look really good. The animations look good too. The ball physics aren't that realistic. On occasion it appears as though the ball is tied to the player with some kind of invisible string and the ball doesn't always travel as it should during some of the tricks. Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions look very good. The 360 version has a slight edge in that the frame rate is a little better and it generally looks a little sharper.
FIFA Street 3 is both pleasing and disappointing. The developers have taken the time to include an online mode this time around and the multiplayer side of the game is much more satisfying than in any of the previous FIFA Street titles. The single-player experience is a weak one however and there's not a lot here to keep you coming back for more once you've played through the FIFA Street Challenge mode. The lack of a quality single-player mode is even more disappointing when you consider that the game generally is more satisfying than in previous FIFA Street titles. If FIFA Street 4 simply polishes what's here and adds a deep and satisfying single-player mode, it will definitely be a game that's well worth the asking price.