In the 26 months since the Xbox 360 launched in our fair country, EA has only managed to release a mere four football games: FIFA 06, 07 and 08 and UEFA Champions League 2006-2007. Clearly ashamed by this pitiful attempt to swamp our shelves with ball-based titles, it's decided to put things right by chucking a fifth - FIFA Street 3 - straight at our football-deprived skulls. Surprisingly though, even though the "cash-in alarm" may be ringing in your head just now, it's actually not as dodgy as you may think.
In case you failed GCSE Maths (as well as basic human-level logic), FIFA Street 3 is the third title in EA's spin-off FIFA Street series. Rather than focusing on the painstaking realism offered by its big brother FIFA games, the emphasis here is on style, tricks and generally acting a bit of a wide boy on the ball. The more fancy moves, juggles, volleys and headers you perform the more you build up your Gamebreaker meter, and when that fills to the top you can power up your team for a limited time, giving them the sort of shot power that Dirty Harry would be proud of.
The tricks range from relatively simple stuff like flicking the ball over your opponent's head as he approaches you, to ridiculous acrobatics such as backflips off the perimeter walls or gravity-defying overhead kicks. It definitely doesn't take things too seriously and this attitude carries forward to the graphics: each player is a caricature of his real-life counterpart, so Peter Crouch is about eight feet tall and Rooney's facial features have all gathered up into the middle of his bulbous face.
FIFA La Revolution
The controls are surprisingly easy to get used to considering the seemingly vast array of fancy tricks. But as you play on you soon realize that all these tricks are really just context-sensitive and you can look really impressive just by tapping the Y button a lot to juggle the ball then waggling the right analogue stick around to pull off some fancy dribbles. It sort of defeats the purposes of using real skill to build up your Gamebreaker when you're playing against the CPU because you can just pass the ball around the back and do fancy dribbling tricks to build the meter up quickly.
Of course, this isn't the case when playing against another player, and thankfully this is where FIFA Street 3 comes into its own. The multiplayer is great fun, if only because the matches are just ridiculous and it's immensely satisfying to pull off a huge string of juggling moves, run along a wall to dodge a tackle, backheel a chip into the box and finish it off with a bicycle kick to really rub it into your mate. You'll know it was actually quite simple to do, he'll know it was actually quite simple to do, but it won't matter because it looks damn cool.
It's a good job the multiplayer's so enjoyable because, if we're being honest, the single-player mode is pretty shallow. The Challenge mode is just a case of playing numerous fantasy teams made up of specific styles of star players (one team consists of fast players, another of "veteran" players over 30 and so forth), and playing them in various match types. There's no motivation to develop your team, there's no narrative to keep you going to the end: you just pick your team, win the match and move on. Disappointing.
Still, if you plan on making the most of multiplayer (be it locally with your mates or over Xbox Live) then the fun factor increases immeasurably, and this should really be your deciding factor in whether you want to buy this. Some streets are never fun when you walk them alone: just ask Will Smith.
Great in multiplayer but solo gets boring
- Great fun with multiple players
- Simple, easy-to-grasp controls
- Stylish cartoon-like graphics
- Single-player mode lacks depth
- Maybe too simple for its own good