|System: X360, PS3, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Electronic Arts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Canada||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tom Kelly
Casual sports games aim to provide light hearted entertainment, minus the serious sim feel. They are all about those oh so loveable pick up and play mechanics, which make a game easy for everyone to enjoy. The key here is that just because a game is easy to handle and accessible to everyone does not necessarily mean it is all that fun.
When it comes to FIFA Street, it has always had the unwelcome task of playing second fiddle to the tighter NBA Street series. In part maybe because pro basketball is more popular stateside; or simply because basketball is a sport more deeply rooted in the playground. Sure hoops may be in the spotlight here in the good old US and A, but popularity aside, FIFA Street 3 simply does not deliver the goods.
The main flaw of FIFA Street 3 is the 'been there, done that' feel of it all. There is almost nothing we have not seen before from this type of title. You travel the world, going from one strange locale to the other partaking in silly challenges all aiming to establish yourself as a reputable team. Challenges range from winning by two goals, first team to score four, accumulating a certain number of trick points, etc. After you win a certain number of events in one place, you are given the opportunity of recruiting a player from whatever ridiculous team you just played, and so the game goes. It is up you to determine how long you feel like partaking in these stale challenges because that is basically the depth of the game; there is not much to it. Here is something to be excited about: the more you play, the more you get to unlock new soccer balls and kits, so instead of the plain black uniforms you can get navy blue. Aside from the all too easy and mundane Street Challenge, players can engage in exhibition matches against the computer or play friends via system connect or Nintendo Wi-Fi. Not surprisingly though I could not find anyone to play with, and yes I have friends; ok, maybe I don't. Last but not least is the mildly entertaining Kick up, which is a rhythm based mini-game aimed at knocking the ball around hackey sack style. Simple, yes; addicting, you better believe it.
Graphically FIFA Street 3 is a tad bland. The arenas appear really flat, almost like you are just running on top of artsy black top. Nothing pops out at all. The players all mesh together as well; think to yourself, "sweet, I have Christiano Ronaldo on my team, but which one is he?" The only way you can differentiate most players is if they have different color hair. The players do move smoothly, the animations are pretty good, and you get a sweet Johnny Cage like green trail following the ball when you do tricks. The multitude of arenas all do vary in appearance, going from the ship yard to Rooftop will provide you will a change of scenery no matter how dull each appears.
The sound on the other hand may be my favorite in any sports game of recent memory. Who doesn't love that pseudo techno rock that apparently fuels all soccer games? It's great! Aside from that, there is really no other sound to speak of, but let's be honest: that is all it needs. I don't know if this can be considered negative after hearing how annoying Trey Wingo was in NFL Tour, but there is no actual commentary. Although that is not surprising, after all this is a Nintendo DS game.
As for the controls, the always innovative stylus comes into play as usual, but here it creates a more awkward feel than necessary. It is a little too uncomfortable moving your player around with the d-pad while shooting, passing, and breaking fools down with different swipes of the old pen. The buttons provide a better option. Shooting and passing comes with ease when simply tapping 'a' and 'b' rather than sliding across the stylus. No matter which set up you choose, the controls are responsive, although the different tricks are much more difficult to pull of with regularity when you are using the touch screen controls. Seeing as how piling up these points is a big part of the game, that is not what I consider a good thing. These tricks, of course, lead to 'Gamebreakers,' or guaranteed goals, at which point no matter which control style you have chosen you will have to tap the touch screen at the appropriate times to belt that ball past the keeper.
The truly unfortunate thing about FIFA Street 3 is the shallow Street Challenge because the play mechanics work fairly well and the game can be fun. It is just aggravating to do pointless challenge after challenge after challenge. I think a welcome mode would have been a season where you could use your favorite Euro League or International team, perhaps even a World Cup mode to spice things up. Running around acquiring trick points or playing keep away for 20 seconds is just as pointless as it sounds; a little bit of good old fashioned competition would have been nice. Sure, you get the odd tournament thrown in the mix, but it just is not enough to keep the competitive juices flowing. P.S., shaking clowns down on the soccer pitch is not as hip as breaking ankles on the basketball court. Is the movie called 'White Men Can't Corner Kick?' My point exactly.
CCC Freelance Writer