FIFA's first appearance on PS2 looked fantastic, with circular mowed patterns on pitches and (mostly) recognizable players. Although we only remember Paul Scholes looking right, which is probably why he was on the cover. Mo-cap was now provided by six (count 'em) superstars instead of FIFA's usual one. But realism was lacking in the extremely arcade-oriented gameplay. Who could forget the crosses from the wing, near-guaranteed to be slammed home with an overhead kick? There was little finesse to its play and the path was clear for Winning Eleven to take the lead.
Not in any way copying Winning Eleven, FIFA 2002 saw power bars added for shots and passes. It wasn't enough, though - there were still traits from the 16-bit era present, like those 40-yard screamers beating the keeper in injury time. But one 16-bit hangover was finally laid to rest: through balls were now an integral part of the game, thanks to the "new passing model." Hard to believe, but FIFA had been that far behind.
Above: That's it, now pass it out to the wing and cross it. Just do it - you'll see...
Is it really that long since those "Be the Twelfth Man" ads were on TV? The game's main feature was the ability send a player on a run with a shoulder button, which gave him a path of arrows to follow, showing you his path so you could open up the defense with a through-ball. FIFA 03 also featured superb commentary and post-match analysis, with shots and passes all mapped onto a graphic of the pitch. Very nice. Not so nice was the right stick being used for skill moves. Shudder.
Oh, and don't forget the new free kick method - "Find the angle, find the sweet-spot and find the top corner." Every. Single. Time.