FIFA World Cup 2006

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2006-06-16


Developer: EA Canada Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: April 24, 2006 Also On: GCN, PC, PS2, Xbox & Xbox 360

The first time I spent a considerable amount of time on a soccer game was back in 2004 with 989 Sports' World Tour series. I'd hardly call myself a fan of the sport, but I have grown fond of it in video game form. FIFA is no exception. I was a big fan of the N-Gage and PlayStation Portable (though critical of its lag) versions of the game. So far, I'm pretty pleased with what Electronic Arts has done with the console FIFA as well.

Normally a soccer game would revolve around a season of play (or in the case of World Tour, building a dynasty from school-level to the big leagues). FIFA World Cup 2006 is all about the World Cup. There is no season to speak of and you're definitely not going to build up your own team. In a sense, the World Cup limits this game compared to other FIFA's and soccer games on the market. Sure, there are an impressive 130 or so countries represented, but it's the modes of play that need quantity, not just the team selection. The good news: you get to play as well known (U.S., England, Brazil) and lesser known (Azerbaijan, Macedonia) teams.

Where World Cup 2006 falls is that it fails to provide a compelling reason for gamers to keep playing. Basically you can play from the qualifiers in each region (Europe, Africa, North America, etc.) or you can start from the World Cup Finals. The qualifiers are not single-elimination, so you will play multiple games against teams in a group, receiving points from wins and draws. Obviously your goal is to advance as far in the World Cup as possible.

There are a few other game modes to speak of. You can play back classic games of old, play a friend or try out a penalty shot challenge. There's also online multi-player, so you can display the colors of your home country while beating someone from somewhere else in the world. Interesting enough, there are four and eight-player online tournaments as well.

Being the first time that I've played FIFA on a home console and not a portable, I'm surprised how constrained you are with gameplay when games like Winning Eleven go very deep. That said, FIFA is a much friendlier game for soccer newcomers to play than Winning Eleven and as such, probably more attractive to gamers in America. If you can't make it to Germany, this may be your only chance to take part in the World Cup; that makes this an acceptable package for some fans of the sport.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.9
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell