FIFA Street 3
Last week footy fans everywhere were able to get their hands on the first playable FIFA Street 3 demo via Xbox Live. While the series has always been received with a mixed reception critically, the first two titles have sold extremely well across a number of platforms. You can bet your half time orange that EA Canada are looking for this title to capture the hearts- or rather feet- of the gaming world once again in 2008 with a new arcade formula.
So, after spending some time with the demo, how are we expecting it to perform?
With England and Brazil available to play as, there is little difference between the teams. In fact, there seems to be little difference between each individual player, apart from visually. Players are outrageously exaggerated, and take the form of caricatures rather than opting for the practicality of real life. Peter Crouch looks particularly ridiculous, as his awkwardly stretched frame resembles a stick insect chasing the wind. This is in keeping with the new, arcade style approach EA Canada are taking with the title, as it becomes obvious that they need to offer something less realistic in order to compete with the championship winning formula of the big two, FIFA 08 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008.
Graphically, the game isn’t very inspiring. Although there is still development time left to get this right (as the game is penned for an 18th February release in the US and the 22nd for Europe), it may disappoint a few if it stays as it is. It doesn’t even match the next gen sheen of NBA Homecourt, EA Canada’s other street style sport release. Although this is the case, FIFA Street 3 will be using the same engine as its basketball counterpart, giving players the full EA Sports BIG treatment.
One issue I can pick up from the demo is the difficulty of the game. A player should not be able to win on the hardest difficulty, against one of the best teams in the world, with little trouble at all in only their second game. I played another to see if it was a fluke, but no, again victory was easily mine. The tactics seem simple already; pop enough tricks to gain the “Gamebreaker” boost, and then shoot from just about anywhere inside the opponents’ half to pretty much guarantee a goal. Maybe this is the new arcade direction EA are taking? Although the other two FIFA Street games were never completely authentic as far as the football experience goes, they offered much more of a challenge than this demo gives. It seems as if EA Canada are forgetting the adult side of gaming and are aiming this toward the younger end of the spectrum. Still – whatever gets sales, right?
With that said, FIFA Street 3 is ultimately about the fun side of football. The tricks are still satisfying when they are effectively executed, and many will welcome an arcade style football title amongst the serious ranks of Xbox Live. Let’s just be thankful for one thing; at least MC Harvey is nowhere near the commentary this time.