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Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
 
3/03/2008 11:04:00 AM

Review: FIFA Street 3 (360, PS3, Nintendo DS)

 
FIFA Street 3

Image Credit: EA Games
Things We Like
Just Like Hoops: This is NBA Street with a soccer ball. You're playing on a court (no grass) and you have to fill your GameBreaker meter with fancy dribbling and pretty passing. Once your meter is filled, you activate GameBreaker and the breakdancing music begins and all of your players get a skills boost for about 20 seconds or so, making it that much easier to find the back of the net. And in an homage to the NFL Street franchise, you can run up the walls with the ball here too. There's enough of an arcade style here to appeal to non-soccer buffs. Hardcore futbol fans might be turned off by the lack of realism (no offsides, of course) but once you get the hang of it, FIFA Street 3 proves itself worthy.
Be Like Pele: Bicycle kicks! You can break these off from anywhere on the court with a fairly decent rate of success. Headers are harder to set up but so much more rewarding.
One-Name Stars: Having the real players in the game is huge. There's more than 250 of the world's best in here, from Kaka to Ronaldo and Ronaldihno to Henry and Becks and all those other foreign guys who go by one name. American fans will recognize Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu. You can play with countries or club teams.
Highlights Aplenty: It's a bit like real soccer in that stretches of seemingly endless boredom is interrupted by moments of sheer brilliance. Even more so than in NBA Street, there are some killer moves in this game that will make you say, "Holy [bleep]!" But those moments don't come all that often, and even three or four minutes without a goal feels like an eternity.
The Challenge: The heart of the game is the FIFA Street Challenge, in which you engage in a series of mini-tournaments against nine different teams with varying styles. One club is all tricksters, another is enforcers, another is finishers, etc. Once you beat a team in at least four game modes, you get to play as that team. Though this process can get repetitive at times, the upside here is the unlockables and Achievement Points (on the 360) you can rack up rather quickly.
 
Video
Check out FIFA Street 3 in action:
 
Things We'd Change
Wonky Controls: The control scheme is less than optimal, and the really bad news is that you are stuck with it. EA fails to give us any alternate button layouts to choose from, which means you have to hit the left bumper (on the 360) to change players on defense.
Not Enough Variety: Some of the game modes can make for torturously long games, especially the "volleys and headers" format, where you have to either "one-time" a ball or head it for the goal to count. The defense can just camp near the goal and wait for the lobs to come in, then clock the waiting attacker. Other modes include "Gamebreakers Only" goals, which also can get tedious. Frankly I prefer the "No Gamebreakers" setting and just play the game straight up.
Incomplete Career Mode: There isn't much here for the single-player mode. Once you plow through the FIFA Street Challenge, you've got to take your show online to make this title worthwhile. The lack of a career mode is a major detraction if you are a solo gamer, so if that's the case you're better off renting it and harvesting it for some quick Achievement Points.
How About Some Defense?: Playing good defense should involve more skill and less randomness. Once you've lost the ball, it's really hard to get it back because the tackle function doesn't work very well. Tapping the "A" button is for a regular tackle and the "X" is for a sweep tackle. The sweep tackle rarely ever works; your defender ends up looking like he's breakdancing instead of playing soccer. The regular tackle is spotty at best. You end up helplessly watching the opponent rack up trick points far too often.
Weak Goalies: Speaking of randomness, that's the best way to describe the goalie play as well. Sometimes they make wicked-hard saves, sometimes they act like statues.
 
Bottom Line
FIFA Street 3 is a vast improvement over the franchise's first two offerings and makes for a satisfying multiplayer exerience. If you don't like playing with others, then this might not be the right soccer title for you.
Gameplay Graphics Audio Online OVERALL
7.5 6.5 7.5 8.0 7.5
 
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