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only search AE

 

Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2006

 

 

- Realistic, silky-smooth player animations
- Lag-free online gaming plays just as good as offline play
- As usual, the best crowd involvement in any sports game around, with the wonderful soccer chants constantly filling the stadiums with the vocal pride of ardent fans
- For fans of the sport, a great simulation of the real game of “football”

 

 

- For those not so engrossed with the sport, goal scoring is a rarity, making it too close to the real game of “football”
- Totally frustrating to get carded almost every time you use the sliding tackle to get the ball away from opponents
- I know some teams in the actual World Cup are better than others, but many are given too much of an advantage on the video game pitch

 

 

Review: FIFA Soccer 06 (XB)

Review: Sega Soccer Slam (GC)

Review: Ultimate Beach Soccer (XB)

Review: World Tour Soccer 2005 (PS2)

 

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FIFA World Cup Germany 2006

Score: 8.3 / 10

 

fifa-world-cup-2006-1.jpg (22288 bytes)         fifa-world-cup-2006-2.jpg (27474 bytes)

 

It happens only once every four years and is the biggest sporting event in the world everywhere except the United States. Millions (maybe even billions) will be completely transfixed on the events transpiring the next month in the soccer (or football, to most of planet Earth) pitches of Germany, as the World Cup tournament will crown a new, truly world champion. And once again, Electronic Arts is releasing a video game that captures the fanatical spirit of the World Cup with FIFA World Cup Germany 2006.

There won’t be many casual soccer fans that will find this title totally exciting, because it is frustratingly too much like the real game with little scoring. But to the rest of the gamers out there that actually love soccer and will be watching each and every second of their respective nation’s team at play in Germany the next few weeks, FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 perfectly, in typical EA Sports fashion, portrays a realistic game of soccer with the engulfing aura of the World Cup as a

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What probably is FIFA World Cup Germany 2006’s biggest blessing and curse is that it really is a great simulation of the game of soccer, particularly the brand of soccer played during the World Cup. That is, highly defensive, low-scoring affairs that keeps fans of each team on the edge of their seats for 90 minutes. Those that are real soccer fans (which is almost everybody outside of the

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U.S.) will fully appreciate this aspect of FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. But casual soccer fans will be frustrated with the lack of offensive output and may not get much gaming satisfaction, despite FIFA World Cup Germany 2006’s realistic approach to soccer in gaming form.

In addition to the simulation quality of FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, let me focus on what’s here for the hardcore soccer fan instead of the casual soccer fan. First off, since this is the official game of the World Cup, EA has the license to include each and every team that qualified for the World Cup and all the superstar players on those national teams known around the globe (but who wouldn’t get noticed on an American city street even if they were running down it on fire).

Those superstars are given the royal treatment, as FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 has very good character modeling that gives the players a more true-to-life appearance (although I’m just taking EA’s word for that visual authenticity, because I have no idea who 99.9% of these players are or what they really look like). Visually, FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 is overall very good, with the most impressive graphical facet being the spectacular animations of the players while on the field. They move and react with life-like authenticity that really at times can make it seem that you’re watching a real World Cup game unfurl in all its magnificent spectacle right before your gaming eyes.

Adding to that sense of realism, FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 has spectacular usage of crowd involvement in the game. I’ve always, back from the days of playing EA’s soccer title on the Sega Genesis, been impressed with the crowd’s authentic audio “soccer chant” performance that is by far one of the top two (possibly leapfrogged only by EA’s NCAA football titles with band-enhanced cheering crowds) greatest uses of involved crowds in a sports video game.

 

fifa-world-cup-2006-3.jpg (23181 bytes)         fifa-world-cup-2006-4.jpg (16683 bytes)


Just like the real teams, the top-ranked squads in the world are the toughest to beat in FIFA World Cup Germany 2006, sometimes too tough. I usually played with the American team, which in the game is ranked 12th (although it’s fifth-ranked by FIFA). When I played any of the top-tier teams, especially the number-two Czech team, they were given almost superhuman skills on the field, nearly impossible to get past offensively and just as hard to defend.

FIFA World Cup Germany 2006’s controls are generally really good, but there are so many moves to learn, that it will take a while and many, many games under your belt before you start to get a grasp on the array of different offensive and defensive moves necessary to learn before you can become a championship-caliber player. Once you master the controls, then you may have a chance to deviate away from the “usual” low-scoring games that will dominate your early scoreboard results.

One major control annoyance you’ll encounter when you first start playing FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 is the use of the sliding tackle. By using this move defensively, you’ll sweep the ball away from an opposing player practically every time. But it can be too effective at getting the ball, because nine times out of 10, you’ll incur the carding wrath of the referee when your sliding tackle knocks down the player you just took the ball away from. Keep on using the sliding tackle, and expect to see plenty of yellow and red cards. But once you get more adept at the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006’s controls, the desire to use the sliding tackle as a last resort to get the ball is much less tempting, as you can rely more on your better understanding of the other defensive controls that will become more second-nature with more and more playing time.

Online play is a big winner for FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. The game runs just as well (with no lag) online as does an offline game. There is a Tournament mode for up to eight players, a good test of your gaming skills. Another online mode is The Lounge, sort of a tourney mode, but with a few little nuances. You can play a Winner Stays On match, where the winner keeps playing until they lose, or a Best vs. Worst contest, with the top team in your Lounge going up against the worst.

I’ll admit I’m the typical American sports fan that places the World Cup way down on my interest list of sporting events. National Football League football is the only football that the average U.S. sports fanatic has any interest in, placing the World Cup somewhere after the National Hockey League and Arena Football, not too many spots above Olympic curling. But regardless, I am able to realize that FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 is a stellar soccer game that will be absolutely enjoyed by those that actually have a real interest in the World Cup and soccer. A true simulation of soccer with all the hoopla of competing for the only real “world” championship with excellent online play kicks FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 into the net of quality video gaming soccer.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(June 12, 2006)

 

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