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3 on 3 NHL Arcade Review

February 20, 2009 Written by Adam Wolfe

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PSN has been a great place for games, with everything from puzzles to RPG and episodic content. But the one thing that has always been missing was a sports game. Enter EA’s 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, a wacky hockey game that encourages big hits, big shots, and big goalies. Now that last description may be a little confusing, but rest assured, a few minutes with this game and that will all be cleared up.

Now when discussing with friends on the best way to describe this game, my one and only answer is NFL Blitz on ice. Now if you’ve played NFL Blitz then you pretty much know where this game is going. There is no season mode, no franchise mode, and you cannot create your own players. This game is pretty straight forward and the title tells you all you need to know.

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First thing you will do is select your players. They automatically set you up with 3 players and a goalie, but you may mix and match any players you want from the 40 players they have available. Now you may be asking yourself “What?! Only 40 players?! What a ripoff!” and yes it may of been nice to have a few more, but every player for the most part is exactly the same. They do not have any attributes and the only difference is each player will fall into one of three categories: ‘strong’, ‘fast’, and ‘all-around’, so really more often than not you are just going to be using the default guys they give you.

Once you pick your team, you then set up your game. You can decide if you want power-ups (more on that later), cpu difficulty, and how many goals you want to play to. Now unlike regular hockey, the games do not end after 3 periods. They go to a set amount of goals ranging from 5-20, so you very easily could be playing til period number 8 or 9.

After you’ve selected all of that and the game starts, the first thing you will notice is that your guys are rather large and the ice rink is smaller then normal. All this works extremely well to increase the fast-paced slug fest that will ensue after the puck drops. Also there are no penalties or out-of-bounds; pretty much anything goes.

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With the intense smashing and bashing you will be doing you will notice that after the occasional hit a power up will pop out. This is where the real fun begins. You may pick up one and your player will increase in size… pick up another and the opponent’s goalie will shrink so small you can barely see him. Say you’re behind by two goals…if that’s the case then keep a sharp eye out, because there is a power up that will double your goal upon scoring. These power-ups take an already hectic beat ’em up and cranks it up to 11. You’ll see giant players and goalies, super slap shots & rocket speed. This is what really separates this game from being mediocre; this is what really makes the game just plan fun.

The multiplayer aspect of this game is such a blast, whether it’s you and 5 of your closest friends playing on one TV or just you and 1 friend trying to work together as a team to beat that pesky computer AI; it is a genuinely fun experience. The online multiplayer is relatively fun, but where this really falls flat is there is no friend system or mic support. This is a real shame since most of the fun of this game comes from playing with friends and smack talking as you shove them over the boards.

The sound and visuals are really nothing to write home about the visuals are decent, which in a game like this really is not all the important, and the sound…well there really isn’t a lot of variety. Childish noises are heard in the menu screen as you move from page to page and the occasion goal yell from a deep-voiced announcer. Now the draw of this game really is more gameplay wise then sound or visuals, but a little better-looking visuals and a little more variety would have really helped a lot.

When it come to the drawbacks, a little more depth would have been nice. The lack of a friend system or mic support is also a real shame, because a game like this really needs the ability for you to be able to tell your friend he has no talent and should just quit as you’re crushing him into the boards.

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This game is such a blast with friends, it is non stop action and mayhem. If you’re looking for a game with a lot of depth and choices look somewhere else, but if you want a game where you can lay out a goalie as your friend is scoring the winning goal, then this is the game for you.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


NFL Blitz on the ice.

Sounds and visuals are ho-hum.

What it lacks in depth it does make up for in fun multiplayer gameplay.

6 out of 10