3 on 3 NHL Arcade (PSN)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, February 9, 2009

Graphics: 6.50
Sound: 7.00
Gameplay: 8.50
Replays: 6.50
Gamelength: 5.00

EA’s latest light-hearted arcade title, “3 on 3 NHL Arcade” for the PlayStation 3 is here and it’s a sure-set way to kill some time with a few friends.

If you’ve ever played a game in the “NFL Blitz” or “NBA Jam” series, you have a general idea of what this game is like. As arcade games go, this is pretty much the “NBA Jam” of hockey. There are laser shots as well as oversized and undersized players. It’s everything but realistic and for anyone just looking for a casual, but fun sports game to play for a few minutes here and there, this is a definite way to do so. At only $10, despite the lack of options, this is a great buy. If you’d like to hear more about this fun little title, hop onto the ice with me in “3 on 3 NHL Arcade” for a few matches of hockey.

Don’t expect much. This game is not a visual masterpiece. It is, however, very comical and fitting of the “arcade” name. It looks next-gen in that it’s very smooth, the framerate is constantly very high and the ice looks pretty slick, but otherwise it’s very cartoony in it’s own weird little way. Big heads, deformed bodies and crazy powerups galore make this game a zany visual experience throughout. On that note, this game is very appealing to the eyes and while it’s not the next step up on the ladder of technology, it fits the theme absolutely spot-on.

Just like the visuals, the sounds are very comical and quirky. The announcer reminds me of other whacked out arcade games and the sound effects are unrealistic in a way that might make some people laugh. The music is generic and boring, but it’s not terrible. Some people may get into it, but there’s not exactly a large variety in that department. Again though, everything fits the extreme arcade theme very well.

Although the name implies “3 on 3” gameplay is the core design, most of the game is still designed for 2 on 2 play because of the offline approach. There’s online play, but not all that many people seem to play this on the PlayStation Network. Online, it’s the same general idea, so there’s no real change of pace or gameplay. The general idea is to play the game like a standard hockey game, only with crazy powerups and a bit more humor, as well as a few less players on the field and a bit more simplified controls. The controls feel almost exactly like a standard hockey game with EA’s dual analog stick design and are very tight, which helps to make the game even more fluid and thus, a perfect arcade experience. Most matches are quite short and people do still bail out mid-match online, which is one of the faults of an arcadey title, but it doesn’t really stop the game from being fun. Most people actually stick it out, anyway. There are both player and ranked matches, as well as leaderboards, too. There aren’t really many options and while a few different players are selectable, there’s not a huge variety to choose from. The game is more about instant action, so don’t expect much realism or a huge amount of customization. As for the powerups, there’s a bunch, but my favorite is the size powerup. It’s hilarious roaming around as a gigantic hockey player and crushing the other little players. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a fascination for the oversized body powerups in just about every video game. That stuff cracks me up! If you’re looking for a replayable, but still very casual sports game, this could be your calling and at $10, it can’t really be beat.

Overall, EA did a pretty good job with this one. If you’re a serious hockey fan, it’s probably not your bag, but for everyone else, this is a pretty solid and inexpensive little game and it’s fairly comical to boot!

-Very comical graphics and sound.
-Easy learning curve.
-User-friendly interface allows for very quick setup.
-Good bang for the buck.
-Powerups are fun and humorous.

-Not much customization.
-Can get boring very fast if played too much.

Bottom Line:
If you have a craving for some arcade hockey action, this is definitely the way to go. At $10, this is the best arcade-style hockey game you can possibly by right now on the PlayStation 3.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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