After a slightly disappointing effort at reinventing FIFA on Wii last year, EA have gone back to the tactics board and devised a brand new formation. Dropped to the sidelines is the side-on adaption of the PS2 version (although a side-on view can still be chosen via the menu) and coming off the bench is a couple of all-new game types. There’s a simplified version of ‘straight’ FIFA, and a cartoony 8 vs 8 ‘Footii’ mode, which pits your Mii against the best international football has to offer. Sadly, despite their striking difference in appearance, they’re actually quite similar experiences.
It’s like having two gangly target men up front (like Wigan); they’re both affable enough and there’s plenty of graft, but there’s no flair. The streamlined play means that tactical decisions are in short supply. Still, you can counteract this problem somewhat by switching from casual play (which automatically deals with passes for you) to expert play, which allows you to pick out your passes by pointing at the screen. It’s not as complex as Pro Evo Wii’s system, but that may not necessarily be a bad thing depending on how well you got on with Konami’s effort. For us, it feels like a definite step backwards.
Still, you certainly can’t complain that there isn’t enough on the disc to hold your interest. The managerial mode (which rather ill-fittingly plonks your Mii’s face onto a suited man’s shoulders, in a surreal moment) is so packed with players and accurate stats that you might worry that they’ll start to trickle out of your Wii’s mouth and onto your carpet. Then there’s the traditional FIFA challenges, which give you a set criteria and a set amount of time to do it in (can you, as Tottenham, claw back a 4-1 deficit with half an hour to go? Martin Jol could do this one, you know). FIFA 09 All-Play is pleasant enough, but you should only seriously consider it if you don’t have access to any other consoles – and even then, you might want to hunt down a copy of the superior 07 on the GameCube.
Oct 28, 2008