FIFA Soccer Review

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Developer: EA Canada Publisher: EA
Release Date: April 25, 2005 Also On: N-Gage

Soccer may not be America’s sport, but American developers sure know how to make top-quality soccer games. I’ll be upfront with you: FIFA for the PSP isn’t one of them. There are too many problems with the game to even begin to draw a comparison between it and its console brothers. In fact, it is much more similar to the N-Gage version. You may immediately see where this is going, but honestly, the N-Gage version is not bad at all. However, that is not what you expect from a PlayStation Portable title.

Let’s start with my main complaints with the game. My first complaint is what I just said: it feels more like the N-Gage version than a console version. Complaint #2 is the controls, which are oftentimes unresponsive. When you move in a certain direction, say right, it will sometimes go down-right or something along those lines. It’s pathetic, sure, but the N-Gage version has better controls. I averaged about 5 goals a game in that version, but on the PSP, it took me over 20 games to score just 4 goals in a single game.

So you get past the control problems and the not-so-detailed graphics. You still have to overcome the lag that takes place in gameplay, usually only after shooting a goal, and the atrocious load-times. The fact that the music is on will only further lag the game and cause load times to be extended further. I suggest you turn off the music first thing. It is a shame Sony has media storage, like the UMD, yet developers can not use it to its full potential because of lag and load time issues.

If you are still reading, not all is lost. The rest of the review will be positive, I assure you. There is still a mildly fun time to be had, in small doses, and when out of the house. Many of the actions on-field present in the console versions are present here, at least I assume so, because they weren’t in the N-Gage versions that I played. So much so, in fact, that I am a little bit confused by the bars that appear when taking a free-kick outside the goalie’s box. There’s a bar at the bottom of the screen, and you have to press it twice, once to set the power of the kick and the other for accuracy of the shot. Anyway, I never figured it out, and the manual was not much help in this regard.

The level of depth in FIFA for the PSP is impressive. You have a Create-A-Player feature, a FIFA Soccer Store, you can manage your team, you can create a tournament, you have Season play, and then you have Challenges. There is also a Head-to-Head feature, but being that I don’t know anyone with a PSP, I was out of luck when it came to trying that game mode.

Let’s start with Challenges. In this mode, you need to complete a challenge, either a comeback or a rout. The comebacks can be no comebacks at all (the game’s tied and you need to win) or you could be down as much as 4 goals with just 30 minutes remaining. The rout challenge has you up (or tied) and you will need to score x number of goals to reach the “win by x”. There are a total of 20 comeback challenges and 20 rout challenges.

The Season mode is where you will consume the most of your PlayStation Portable battery. Select from Mid-Season, Full-Season, or Custom-Season. Once you do, select a team like Manchester United. From the FIFA Soccer Store you can buy new kits, balls, and stadiums, but other than that, there is not a whole lot of options open to you.

As far as console-to-portable ports go, FIFA is on the lower-end of the list. I would like to see next year’s game make strides, because there is plenty of potential there. Still, don’t get me wrong, FIFA’s a playable title with enjoyment to be had. It is just not the wisest choice for a game that will cost you $50. If you are a soccer fanatic (or rich), check FIFA out.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 6.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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