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FIFA Soccer 2005 Review

Developer: EA Publisher: Nokia
Release Date: November 10, 2004 Also On: None

Baseball might be America’s pastime, but football is America’s true sport. The same is true for the rest of the world, except to Americans, futbol is called soccer. In January of 2004, Nokia released FIFA Soccer 2004 to please the world audience. The game had an arcade feel enough to make it do well in America. Months later, Nokia released a sequel by the name of FIFA Soccer 2005. Thankfully, the Bluetooth and N-Gage Arena support beef this game up to become one of the best sports games on any handheld system.

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For this being a handheld title, it’s amazing how Nokia managed to pack so many teams. There are hundreds (I’m not exaggerating) of teams to choose from. You select them by league, whether it’s MLS, International, FA Premier League, etc. The MLS includes some of the major markets, such as the Chicago Fire, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Columbus Crew, who are quite funnily called ‘America’s hardest working team’. The badges are correct, the rosters are updated from last year’s version, and the uniforms for each team are loyal to each team’s.

With such a large team presence, it might come as no surprise to you that it’s hard for me to find many faults with the graphics. The in-game action is consistently fluid, the players, while not detailed due to the camera’s distance, look different from one another. The camera is obviously from an over-head view, and tracks the ball precisely. The menus are clean, with obvious usage from the console versions, and the pre-loading screen provides you with a control reminder, which is quite handy for those that pick it up and play. The graphics also benefit from the replay values that are optional for you to watch after each goal.

From an audio standpoint, again, FIFA 2005 excels. There are licensed soundtracks looped during times when you’re juggling through menus, including international, non-English songs. There isn’t in-game commentary, but that’s to be expected from a handheld title. There are crowd noises, which is welcome in a game like this, where real-life sports fans of soccer go wild on an international level.

My favorite sports game of 2005 was surprisingly a soccer game. World Tour 2005 was the best product that 989 Sports has ever put out. FIFA Soccer 2005 reminds me a lot of World Tour, at least in the basic game mechanics and career mode. Instead of tracking a team as a coach from highschool to pros, you’ll start off in pros, and will try to build a dynasty, more or less. You’ll compete over five seasons, in which you must complete specific tasks, such as scoring x amount of games that season, placing in xth place, etc.

Something that I found unique to the game was the manager’s prestige rating. By winning games, you’ll earn prestige points. Points are tallied by your performance on the field. The higher you win by (blowouts), clean sheets (shutouts), moving up in the rankings, and such will all earn you extra points. If, however, say you’re #1 and drop, you’ll lose points. As I said, you’ll have prerequisites for a continuation as the coach of the team. By reaching the standards of the team, set forth at the beginning of the season, you can continue as coach into the next season, until the five seasons are complete.

If you’re bummed by the lack of challenge from computer controlled players, you should be happy to know that Bluetooth functionality has been included in FIFA 2005. There are, however, four difficulty settings to choose from, and I never got the impression that they weren’t enough of a challenge, especially when played on the harder difficulties. Nonetheless, there’s nothing like playing a friend and bragging afterwards.

All in all though, FIFA 2005 brings a surprising amount of value to the table. You’ll get dozens of hours of potential gameplay with single player alone, let alone the hours spent with modes involving multi-player and Arena. With sports games being such a rarity on this platform, it’s easy to recommend this game, even to non-enthusiasts like myself. Heck, you might find it more pleasurable than mainstream sports.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.1
Written by Kyle Review Guide