This time around, even EA Sports seems to know that the game might be up. Slapping a price tag of a far more modest £19.99 on it, 2006 FIFA World Cup arrives just six months after FIFA 06, and if anything takes away more than it adds.
Let’s look at the taking away first. Whatever you feel about the FIFA gameplay style – attacking, fast flowing, glitzy but without the tactical depth of Pro Evolution Soccer – you simply can’t argue with what FIFA 06 allowed you to do with it.
The team management game is superb in FIFA, as are the flexible and numerous tournament options. Here, you don’t have that. It’s about taking national teams through a World Cup, and not much else besides. Once you’ve done that, there’s not a huge incentive to carry on, and fans of the game will then be better off loading up FIFA 06 to get their kicks.
And now let’s look at what’s been added. It looks mildly better than the last FIFA game, the razzmatazz has been squeezed up to eleven and, for sheer World Cup feel, there’s no game to touch it this year.
On top of that, there’s the comedic joy of a screen of information about each nation you’re about to play, prior to a match. Ripped straight out of a Eurovision Song Contest broadcast from what we can tell, each features an idyllic and highly stereotyped image of the country in question, with a piece of information only useful to those who enter pub quizzes and choose not to text their mates for the answers. In Wales, for instance, you’ll find the train station with the longest name in the world. It’s riveting.
Back to the game, though. In true FIFA style, once you’ve mastered a foot-in tackle, how the through ball works and a couple of simple defensive measures, you’re pretty much sorted. No amount of little targets, of rewards for meeting certain standards and differing qualifying campaigns can ultimately compensate for that. And, as fun as this is in the short term, it’s a good way behind the standards that Pro Evolution Soccer sets, and there’s even the resurgence of Sensible Soccer for FIFA to be wary of.
To be fair, this isn’t bad for £20, especially as savvy shopping can easily shave that price down. But it is lazy, does lack the more substantial options of the earlier FIFA game, and yet still manages pretty much the same gameplay. Not essential by any means, but a passable impulse buy.
Company: EA Sports