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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

October 2006

 

 

- Player animations are realistic and lifelike

- Interactive League using Xbox Live provides excellent fantasy league-style play online

- Once again, FIFA 07 far and away provides the best crowd involvement in any sports game around, with the teamís fanatics filling the stadiums with vocal pride in the form of wonderfully realistic soccer chants

- For fans of the sport, a truly great simulation of the real game, with over 500 teams from 27 leagues from 20 countries

 

 

- If youíre not a huge fan of soccer (without weapons or beheadings), FIFA 07 is too much of a simulation with low-scoring affairs the norm due to improved defensive A.I.

- All the fun of slide-tackling gets wiped out with constant carding from referees

 

 

Review: FIFA Soccer 06 (XB)

Review: FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 (XB)

Review: World Tour Soccer 2005 (PS2)

 

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FIFA 07

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

I 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 America ís favorite sport, National Football League football, maybe the most vicious and gladiatorial sport around. If soccer reverted to Mayan rules, well, that would be bloodlust entertainment at its finest.

 

fifa 07          fifa 07

 

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

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usual treat for the senses from the magnificent virtual crowd, cheering and soccer-chanting away throughout each match, in realistically rendered stadiums.

 

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

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worldís 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.

 

As 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.

 

fifa 07          fifa 07

 

Once 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 opponents.

 

Iíve 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.

 

Expanding 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.

 

It 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.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(January 23, 2007)

 

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