Score: 8.5 / 10
donít care how much Major League Soccer istrying to ďspiceĒ up
its profile by signing David Beckham, most Americans, including
myself, simply do not pay much attention to the game of soccer. Now,
maybe if they played the game the same way the ancient Mayans played
their version of soccer (Pok tí Pok, sort of a combination of soccer
and basketball), where weapons were allowed and the losing teamís
players were beheaded, Americans maybe would find reason to actually
watch and have even a slight interest in the sport that doesnít
exist today. Weapons! Beheadings! Now, that's a violent and
high-stakes sport! That would top
While unfortunately thereís no weapons or beheadings to attract the typical soccer-ignoring American sports fan, Electronic Artsí FIFA 07 for the Xbox is a definitively great title for aficionados of soccer, with a fantastically stellar micromanagement mode and strong online play over Xbox Live in addition to the
treat for the senses from the magnificent virtual crowd, cheering
and soccer-chanting away throughout each match, in realistically
EA already released another soccer game in 2006, FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, and while that game was solely focused on the World Cup, FIFA 07 expands to cover an amazing array of the
soccer teams: 500 squads in 27 leagues spanning 20 countries. This
is truly a globetrotting experience for the video-gaming soccer fan,
who can select practically any team that plays anywhere on earth.
is the case with most EA Sports titles, FIFA 07 provides not only a
cornucopia of teams to play with, but you can also manage the squad
of your choice (or create your own) with the highly detailed Manager
Mode. Every aspect of running a soccer club is covered, including a
Madden-like addition that charts a playerís growth throughout a
season. You can see some of your younger players improve their game
once you take them off the bench and get them in games. Keeping
players benched too long or even injuries can stunt that growth, so
it takes careful consideration through a season deciding what
players actually play or ride the pine to build them up into stars
and create a championship-winning dynasty.
Defensively, FIFA 07ís A.I. has seemed to have ratcheted up the tough meter, as the A.I. is much more difficult to penetrate with your offense. Soccer fans wonít mind, because that will lead to the typical low-scoring affairs that soccer produces on a regular basis. But for the non-fan, that may be just a tad too frustrating.
again, the player animations on the pitch are done rather well, with
a realistic appearance and behavior. Controls have been enhanced
also, with improved ball control giving a much more true feel to the
gameplay. Slide-tackling is still strongly discouraged via
card-happy referees, even though the slide-tackle is the best (and
most satisfyingly injurious) way to dislodge the ball from
said it once, and Iíll say it once again here: nobody or no game
captures the aura of a crowd better than EA and its FIFA franchise.
Simply put, itís the best youíll ever see as far as getting a
true sense of crowd involvement in an actual sporting contest. With
the famous soccer chants and other realistic crowd vocalizations
filling your ears, youíll swear youíve got your very own seat in
the stadium watching the action unfold before you.
even further with the fantasy league-style excellence is the ability
to use Xbox Live and the new Interactive League to play a whole new
interactive soccer game. Youíll pick your favorite team, play its
real schedule, and if you win and other gamers also win using that
club, youíll see your favorite team rise in the standings. It is
indeed a collective online league experience that youíll play,
unlike any offered before by EAís FIFA franchise.
still wonít make non-fans like the sport of soccer any better
(especially with the absence of weapons and beheadings), but even
the non-fan will appreciate FIFA 07ís obvious capturing of the
sportís nuances. Thatís coupled with the EA Sports Interactive
League on Xbox Live and typical strong presentation values including
spectacular crowd chanting and cheering along with strongly
representing the vast array of stadiums that host these 90-minute
battles. If you enjoy sports-gaming league micromanagement like only
EA can provide, along with amazingly solid soccer offline or online
via Xbox Live, youíll get your kicks with FIFA 07.
(January 23, 2007)
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