A have been baffled by their FIFA Street series, as despite many critical maulings and mixed feedback from gamers, the games have sold like mad. This could be because footie fans have more money than sense, but it's more likely that many felt it was an enticing concept, poorly executed.
Which brings us to FIFA Street 3, with EA determined to produce a quality game worthy of its sale figures by addressing several key areas - primarily making it feel like a football game. Before it felt more like contemporary dance than a kick around, so now EA have made it five rather than four aside and cherry-picked the AI from the recent FIFA game to make sure the players defend and move off the ball with intelligence. The result is a game that actually allows you to create chances with simple passes and movement.
Next they've refined the tricks so they have more than just cosmetic value. So hitting y flicks the ball over outstretched legs, the right analogue stick adds a flourish to jinks and there are Parkour moves enabling players to bounce off the arena walls to gain advantage.
Equally important is the change in presentation - rather than slightly greasy photo-realistic player models prancing about, FIFA Street 3 uses cartoony caricatures which turn players into comic-book-style superheroes. The look of the game now suits the exaggerated moves and over-the-top action, giving it the same arcadey feeling as the NBA Street series.
The result is significant improvement from the last in the series, making it feel far more like a game of football than before. Let's just hope the players approve their caricatures, as EA have made Crouch look really thin and lanky, and Rooney like an assassin-faced baby. (Spot on.)
The new look really helps - it never really looked right before when a photo-realistic John Terry followed a flick-flack with a bicycle kick. Also the gameplay has a more balanced feel, giving you more control, especially in defence. Hopes = high. Ish.