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Kiddy FIFA 09 better than PS3/360?

EA hasn't taken the easy option of shoehorning the same game into every platform for FIFA 09. No, instead we get the home console version, a dedicated PC version (sharing some assets from the PS3/360 game but not base code) and a special Wii game. Or rather, two Wii games.

The reasons are clear. FIFA 09 has to please the hardcore by being a realistic simulation with player likenesses and stadia. It's the law. But Wii simply isn't that kind of console and those 'casual gamers' we hear so much about may be put off by the complexity of a standard footie sim. And so there's a separate 8v8 kickabout with Mii versions of your favourite superstars. Called Footii.

On paper, it sounds rubbish. Fewer players on the field, smaller goal sizes, no offside rule, no radar… it should be a crappy, overly-simplistic, kid-pleasing, foam-cornered mess. But the reality is it's the most fun we had with any of the preview versions of FIFA 09.

Why is it so great? Firstly, it's got a sense of fun, and the Mii versions of Rooney and Ronaldinho are highly endearing. You can also use your own Mii, so you can indeed play alongside your heroes if you like. With such stylised graphics (similar to Wii Sports, but with a little more flair), the Wii's technical limitations don't matter so much, so you won't be cursing 360 owners for having such a great-looking FIFA to play.

But secondly, and most importantly, the control is superb. In advanced mode, you point the Wii-mote to move your player with the stick, pass with A (pass height is context sensitive and cannot be controlled), pull off skill moves with double taps of B and shake to shoot or tackle. As with PES, you can call a defender to close in by holding B. It takes maybe two minutes to get used to it and then you're away. Having fun.

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