The latest installment, FIFA 07, from EA Canada creates even more opportunity for football fans to enjoy non-stop action
The latest installment, FIFA 07, from EA Canada creates even more opportunity for football fans to enjoy non-stop action.
Better realism, new rules
The best part of these sports game are their pickup and go style, if you don’t have much time but want something stimulating then look no further. Of course there’s much more to just playing football here, there’s setting up the positions of your squad, managing your teams players or perhaps if you feel really confident then put together your own club. Choose the players, which you can create yourself too, the name, home pitch and even put in your own club emblem.
Yes there is plenty for both on-the-fly gamers and those who live and breathe the game almost religiously.
After so many games have been churned out it’s almost inevitable to see improvements in both the presentation and the coding. Consider the old arcade style machines with little pixel men running about kicking a black and white blob around, you’ll began to notice just slightly that we’ve come quite a long way. Once extra enhance of realism for 07 is how players on the pitch move about, they can’t instantly go from a static state to running the marathon. Instead you’ll see how they speed up and slow down just as you would, it may only be a little thing but these all add up for a better experience overall.
There is one drawback from such a game on the PC platform, and that is the nightmarish keyboard control scheme. You feel as if you’ll be playing a game of twister with your left hand in order to execute some cooler moves. The keys are overlapped as they would be with a console controller, but seeing as how keyboards naturally have a ton of keys already it only confuses the matter. You can adjust with time I guess but it might be a put off in the early stages especially if you’ve never played a football game before. The learning curve suffers as a result which already was challenging with all the trick shots involved.
Ball possession has been spiced up with this newer form of realism. For successful passes you now really need to be facing who you intend to aim for as the ball won’t magically home in. Accuracy has been given a greater role, shooting for a teammate out of your line of sight will greatly jeopardize your possession. The players actual balance really affects the shots so if they’ve just received the ball and you make them do a 180 and shoot straight away you’ll get a poor result. This effects scoring just as much, frantic passing and just booting it toward the goal will really make your ‘strategy’ come up short. The game isn’t just harder in difficulty, it just requires you do more than button mashing; this is no arcade fighting game-esque FIFA.
Controls can be hard to get used to
Defenders could do with tighter AI
Some new features for FIFA 07 are Online Everywhere and Squad update. The first lets you know the latest scores and news of leagues when you start up the game. The news ticker ingame will display real-life scores so if you were to see a particularly displeasing result you could take up your revenge, on the virtual pitch of course. You can even listen in to podcasts. The other will keep all of your teams’ squads up-to-date automatically, so transfers and even positioning will be changed to reflect what’s happening in the world of football.
Interactive Leagues will let you play your club online against others. What’s interesting is that these are kept with real-life fixture matches, and the winners are decided after all the fans results are combined.
Manager mode comes with Player Growth. This is designed to let you feel better connected with players on the pitch. If you look after them well they’ll gain considerable experience and let them turn into star performers but if they get swamped with injuries and bench time, then they’ll suffer. Visual Sim lets players go through a better managerial experience of a club. Make pitch decisions before the match, so that during you’ll be watching from the sidelines – now you can look like you’re waiting for a bus too, what more could you want. You can play a host of leagues as you would expect, with many teams from many countries.
The players are recognizable to who they should be, well without compromising the games performance anyway. It’s mainly the visuals during the match, with fantastic shoots and especially the damn lucky ones you manage to slip through into the goal that will really get your football passion burning. Near impossible shots are harder to get because of the better and more realistic nature of the players and the ball, which means when you do land a particularly miraculous goal you’ll be chuffed no end.
Sound, more importantly the commentary is fantastic. It’s almost spooky to some degree the level of ‘clever’ commentary that takes place from everything you do. Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray deliver your audio experience, with far less repetitive lines than previous titles. Even greater perhaps is the ‘involvement’ of the fans, cheering and booing never felt better, they will even chant the name of the team over and over. Should you manage to get the home team numerous goals against the visitors then they’ll even celebrate each pass you keep the ball away from them, a grand humiliating spectacle and one that you can’t help feel proud about. The players bark at each other, but if the fans are all riled up then you’ll have no chance to hear them over the sea of audio.
Momentum can affect your teams’ performance on pitch and is decided by how well things have been going for you. Constant loss of the ball, injuries and lack of goals can really hurt the momentum (morale) and so you’ll see sloppy work. Of course if things are going your way then your AI buddies will do their best to bring everything together. Defense though is really questionable; out of all the general improvements this seems to have taken a knock to the head and even the goalkeeper. Defenders will seem reluctant to engage even when nearing their goal line, while the offense is much more aggressive and co-ordinates much better. Perhaps it’s somehow linked with the better physics of the ball, which acts better and responds accurately to force.
Models are better, still a way to go though
Do want to go hands on? Then play club manager
If football games are your thing, and especially if you like what EA Canada brings to the pitch, then don’t miss FIFA 07. Better realism gives you far better challenges and when coupled with the graphics and fantastic audio it makes the ‘beautiful game’ into a beautiful game.
Top Game Moment:
TOP GAME MOMENT
Scoring within the first 15 seconds of my first match on FIFA 07.