Friday 29 September 2006
Judging by the reaction around the office, all those years attempting to get FIFA to be 'more like PES' seem to have paid off for EA this season. OK, so it's by no-means a carbon copy of Pro Evolution Soccer but the improved animations have allowed the game to feel much more free.
FIFA has always been trapped in scripted animations. You can usually tell when the ball's going to hit the back of the net before it's even left the ground, and the 'trick-stick' moves jerk like Crouchy doing 'the robot'.
But all has changed. From the randomness of the ball physics to the way in which players now jostle for possession, FIFA 07 certainly plays the type of football it's been threatening to do for years. You're no longer guaranteed to score from certain angles so the chances of seeing the same old swirling goal landing in the onion bag time and time again have also been transferred out.
What we're left with is an enjoyable footie game which reminds us why we liked FIFA in the first place. Plus it does loads of things better than PES too.
Take Manager mode for instance. Although the transfer system feels fairly soulless and wrong (we secured Owen Hargreaves' services for 3.4 million without a sniff of fruitless bartering or threats to be reported to FIFA bods), it's actually more playable than the Master League in Pro Evo.
You've got the Create-a-Manager mode where you can select your digital persona - including a few women. Then you can sign sponsorship deals in return for transfer funds, raise your profile to legendary status as you make headlines in the media (The Sun, no less) and guide your side to glory in every domestic and European competition around.
It all melds together to form a great experience. And little touches - like chants about your team ringing out while you're menu hopping - enhances your involvement beyond what PES can do.