If you look at professional athletes today, the most famous of them stick out because of their ability to do things that the rest of us would find impossible. The ability to jump high, run fast, and have tremendous strength usually sets these superstar athletes apart. EA Sports Big has, once again, attempted to put that power into the hands of the “rest of us” in their latest edition of FIFA Street 3. EA Big has taken an ordinary soccer game and attempted to stylize and visualize it into every soccer player’s dream. While playing FIFA Street 3, gamers have the ability to defy gravity, pull off unfathomable gamebreakers, and last but not least, get bored really quickly. FIFA Street 3 is EA’s latest attempt at street futball that will leave you wanting more.
Right from the whistle FIFA Street 3 is an unexpected letdown. As the start up menu appears on the screen, your eyes look right for a “Career” or “Franchise” mode. However you are left a little bit confused because there is none. The only thing that comes close is the “FIFA Street Challenge.” In this mode you are given challenges in nine different tournaments. Tourneys have their own rules and challenges that make each one different yet not very exciting. The biggest “twist” you might encounter is playing without gamebreakers or playing “volleys and headers” only. Upon completion of these challenges, players will unlock teams and other rewards that give incentive to keep playing. Don’t get me wrong, balling it up can be fun for a few hours but it gets old relatively quickly. FIFA Street 3 has the depth of a handheld game, which is very disappointing for its capabilities.
Something that EA Big has included from the beginning of its street career is the gamebreaker. Pulling off nutmegs, wall climbs, drags, volleys, and other crazy tricks earn you points that fill up your gamebreaker meter. Once this is full you can basically score from anywhere on the pitch! In previous FIFA Street volumes, a lot of emphasis was put on gamebreakers, but never more than in FIFA Street 3. The AI defense will basically take a nap while you try and juke out no one on your own side of the field in order to fill up your meter. Once you activate your gamebreaker, shooting from midfield is like shooting a PK with no goalie (granted the field is scaled down so midfield isn’t that far, but you get my point). The same is true for the AI’s gamebreaker shots. It seems to me that the gamebreaker is too easily acquired. It either has to be something less common during play or cut from the team. It is also unfair that the gamebreaker can last more then one goal. A score should negate the remaining time of the gamebreaker. I have had times when the challenge is “First to 5” and I scored 5 times on one gamebreaker. Where is the fun or challenge in that?
As for controls, they are very user friendly. I would say that it is a great perk to be able to pick up the controller after 15 minutes of play and feel like I am at a level where I can compete fairly. However I did spend some time looking for a defense button to counter the offense’s tricks until I realized...there was none! When the offense is dribbling at you, you would think there would be some way to counter their tricks. However, apparently defense was overlooked. You have the choice of either an aggressive tackle or conservative tackle. With no countering technique your players are left falling (literally), subject to the humiliating nutmeg (when the ball is put between the legs of a defender). However, the offensive side of the ball is quite enjoyable. Tricks are somewhat unrealistic but fun none-the-less.
I noticed a few weird issues during the game. I’m not sure if the rules have changed but last I checked the goalie was not allowed to walk into the goal with the ball and then walk back out. Also, some of the tricks are simulated in the sense that if you are controlling a player on defense and the offense initiates a trick, you may lose control of your defender and have no other choice then to be shamed by some pre-determined trick. The game also discourages different styles of play. Balls crossed from the sideline inside the 18’ regularly get batted down by the goalie. One vs. one style play is basically the only way to score. Overall, the gameplay feels unfinished.
Instead of adding things like Career Mode and trying to fix glitches in the gameplay, it looks like EA spent a lot of time on the presentation of FIFA Street 3. The exotic settings are not that different from the last edition but the effects of the ball hitting different surfaces and the way the walls bend when you run off them are all done very well. It may have taken more time to design the graphics than the gameplay!
If there is anything that saves FIFA Street 3 it is the online multiplayer. FIFA Street 3, like most games, gets more exciting with multiplayer. I guess EA decided to drop the ball on the single player end and focus on online play. Online allows you to pick your team and your rules and play against people from all over the world. It will take some practice once you go online because single player AI does not prepare you to play against the competition you will find on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. So it won’t be a total waste of money if you buy FIFA Street 3 for the online multiplayer. Just don’t do it for the offline multiplayer because “Head to Head” (you versus a friend in a series) and “Playground Picks” (you and a friend take turns picking from 10 players, just like the old days on the playground) don’t always make the cut.
FIFA Street 3 single player lacks the depth that is needed to have players coming back for more. After just a few hours, you have explored every excitement that the game has to offer. If this title was released for a handheld system it would be a score, but for the capabilities of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, it is very underdeveloped. Hopefully EA Sports Big can add some much needed depth to future renditions because the online multiplayer, the graphics, and the offensive controls are the only things that keep this game from being rained out.