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FIFA Soccer 07 Review

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Developer: EA Canada Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 17, 2006 Also On: None

EA Sports’ motto, as long as I can remember, has always been “it’s in the game”. That hasn’t always been the case for some sports titles from EA, but FIFA Soccer 07 for the PlayStation Portable is full of game modes, teams, uniforms and stadiums, immersing you “in the game” like no other soccer game on a handheld gaming device has ever done before. FIFA 07 is a game that should keep you entertained for a good amount of time.

I got the PSP version of FIFA 07 at EA Canada for the FIFA Soccer 07 Community Day. While the console version on Xbox 360 has a whole new physics engine, controls and a fresh coat of paint, FIFA Soccer 07 really only has the new controls and a few new game modes. The biggest change, the controls, is relatively minor but useful anyway. Switching between defenders is now controlled by the L trigger and square can be used to call a second defender on the player with the ball.

There are many game modes, but FIFA 07 Manager is by far the best of them. This is where you select a team to start a career with as a manager. As the manager, you can control the team’s contracts by signing new and current players, transferring players, making changes to your squad, scouting new players (which costs money), upgrading the staff and stadium (which results in higher attendance), setting ticket prices, finding sponsors, meeting board expectations and most important of all, winning matches.

EA also threw into the mix a cool new system of experience. Your players can improve their stats by performing well in a game. They also can improve through the training mini-games that are included in FIFA Soccer 07 for the PSP. Juggling returns from last year’s version of the game, where you flip your PSP screen 90 degrees counter-clockwise and press the buttons on the screen to juggle the ball in the air. Wall Attack is new to the mix. You kick a ball at a wall to knock off blocks, similar somewhat to one of the mini-games in Virtua Tennis for the Dreamcast. Improving your skills becomes more difficult with players that are already good and if you train too much, you’ll get fatigued.

FIFA 07 Manager has three main bars that you need to be aware of at all times during the game. First you have team chemistry, then job security and fan support. All of these things will go up and down depending on how well you play each match throughout the season, whether you win or lose and how you handle yourself in the media. There will be different press questions that you will have to answer, and depending on your response, one of the three bars (or more than one) will rise or fall to a maximum of 99.

The other game modes in FIFA Soccer 07 for the PSP are Kick-Off (quick start a game), Ad-Hoc and Infrastructure (online) multi-player, Tournament, Challenges and the two mini-games. Challenges are obviously scenarios that you have to play out and fulfill. You’re given a set amount of time to score x amount of goals. Whether you’re up by a couple goals or down by a single goal, you’re going to need to score or hold your lead within the time allotted.

I feel like I have written FIFA reviews a hundred million times in the past year. This is actually my fourth since the PSP came out in March 2005. Steadily the franchise has improved each iteration that comes out…which seems to be about every six months. That it keeps getting better is a good thing, because I wasn’t too thrilled about the first PSP FIFA. It’s now up to the level of a console soccer game, with short load times and deep, long-lasting gameplay. I may be tired of writing about soccer, but I’m sure not sick of playing it. As Game Freaks 365’s 1,000th game review, I proudly encourage you to pick up a copy of FIFA Soccer 07.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide