Almost all football fans adore to see some stunning tricky skill out on the pitch. So it’s no surprise that the 5-a-side FIFA Street series has been so popular over the last few years.
While the main full FIFA title has been gradually getting more realistic, this "urban" offshoot has been focusing more and more on the skilful side of the game. The portion that the likes of Sky Sports are eager to popularise, all while us fans of lower league clubs make do with a team full of untalented cloggers.
Let’s see if this can be the Ronaldinho, to FIFA 08s steady Owen Hargreaves.
Don’t go expecting your typical rainy 5-a-side outing here. No chubby keeper blocking half the goal, or a defender that can barely reach a jog without breaking into a sweat.
The first half hour promises a heck of a lot. Flicks of the right analogue stick unleashes a barrage of tricks and side-steps, and goals start to flow quicker than a home game against Derby County.
Your line up is key, with players defined into four different types. Tricksters possess some silky moves, and ushering them to rattle off some moves will see your Gamebreaker meter fill up at a rapid speed.
Finishers are pretty self explanatory, as are Playmakers. The Enforcers are the big brutish type, who’ll only be too happy to hack you down and send you crashing to the astroturf, cutting your knees to shreds.
Skilfully slotting away goal after goal soon becomes second nature. Your opponents can be tricky to break down however, especially on the higher skill levels, making unleashing your Gamebreaker at the right moment an absolute must.
With silky moves, and completed passes and goals upping your Gamebreaker meter, you’ll never be left lacking an opportunity to unleash your teams’ true potential. Set it off, and the screen drains of colour, with your players faster, stronger, and much more able to score than before. If only we had that kind of thing in real life. Might brighten those dull nil-nil draws a touch.
To look at, too, FIFA Street 3 is a bit of a corker. The players are all heavily stylised, so Wayne Rooney looks even more of a powerful brute, and Peter Crouch somehow manages to look even freakier than before. Something that’s surprisingly possible.
The Challenge mode offers the real single-player meat, handing over a series of progressively more difficult tests of your footballing ability. Instead of just scoring the highest number of goals, you need to slam them into the back of the net in a specified manner. So you might have to force a few home by only volleys, or maybe a series of headers. A bit like we used to play back at school.
After a few hours of play, the cracks start to show. Your team mates can be a daft bunch, refusing to run into space and forcing you to play the game the way the AI wants rather than how you love the game.
Scoring too is a little irregular. One blast may bring about a flying save from the keeper, while another simpler effort somehow sneaks in. It just feels rather random instead of down to your abilities. Never a good thing for a sporting title.
Fun in short blasts – and it’ll sell by the truck load – but don’t go expecting long-term thrills. It might try to replicate the abilities of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, but FIFA Street 3 is a long way short of having the skills to pay the bills.