FIFA Street 3
The idea of a football game 'taking to the streets' is something that does not immediately appeal to the ardent supporter. However, as a fan of some of EA's previous 'street' versions of NBA and NFL games, it is actually quite refreshing to see a football game done differently from the norm.
Clearly if you're interested in all the teams, all the kits and all the leagues playing football on the 'street' won't exactly float your boat. Still, the fact that FIFA Street 3 has excellent gameplay and an easy-to-understand engine, makes for an enjoyable experience that may see more fans turning to football.
Tricks are big business within the real game and it's easy to see how the appeal of Brazilian star Ronaldinho brings credibility to the 'street' version. Less easy to understand is the inclusion of both Peter 'Good touch for a big man' Crouch and Gennaro 'chunky' Gattuso on the cover.
The premise, of course, is that you can play with a different type of player: Tricksters Enforcers, Playmakers and Finishers; and one of the best features of the game is the fact that you can unlock around 250 players by completing various challenges.
You are left with a slight feeling of distance from your players though, as you simply swap new (and better) players for the ones who got you through the first stages. While the unlocking provides a decent challenge, a good innovation would have been an 'editor' to help create your own player, to then mould into a superstar. Without this, you have no real connection to a player, as you usually would in this type of game, but there are still plenty of other features which keep it entertaining.
Firstly the multi-player options that have become the norm in next-gen games are great. The ability to set up a match between different countries, where you can choose your own nations to represent you, is impressive; while the World Challenge mode allows you to combine your results with other fans, culminating in an international ranking.
'Playground Picks' (which can also be taken online) offers up international teams with ten players to choose from and you and your opponent end up having to pick them one by one, playground style. The enhanced gameplay is definitely an improvement and you'll be impressed by the speed and fluidity of the moves. Tricks over the heads of defenders look great and the only thing that is lacking is an ability to mirror the attacker's moves in the defensive half.
A 'gentle' or 'aggressive' tackle isn't really enough to cope with the multitude of options for the attacking player.
Lacking this kind of depth brings the game down slightly, but the 'wow-factor' you'll get from some of the tricks and locations that the game brings you is impressive. From American beaches to Italian rooftops, FIFA Street has a real international feel and that is what the game is all about.
Overall, it's not going to compare with the likes of FIFA 08 or PES, but for a fun, impressive looking game with the chance to express your creativity in a different medium, look no further. More depth would help establish the game in the future, but football fans will be sitting up and taking notice after seeing what this has to offer.