2006 FIFA World Cup

August 21, 2006

Despite the fact that the soccer World Cup has been over for more than a month now and while I was waiting for [i]FIFA 07[/i], I decided to get this game and try a few things out.

All of the countries in the world are listed in this game. So let’s say that I wanted to play as a country that didn’t get in (my home country, Hungary). Then I could! I think this is very cool. I would, of course, have to go on a long and hard road of qualifying for the World Cup (which by itself is no easy task) before actually winning it.

If you don’t want to play in qualifiers, you can immediately jump into the World Cup with the countries that actually got into it in real life. However, I think it’s a bigger honor if your country didn’t qualify in real life, and you take them to victory in the game. (Plus, this gets you more achievement points.)

There are also Global Challenges in which you can recreate certain events in FIFA history. This is a very fun concept; not to mention the 500 achievement points one can get by completing all of the events. (You also get 50 achievement points for completing just one event the first time.)

In case you don’t know about soccer, there are two 45 minute periods in a game. Of course, the game is not 90 minutes long; the timing goes much faster. There are some additional minutes added by the referee in case of injuries, penalties and the likes. If there are no goals, and the game happens to be near the finals, there are two 15 minute overtimes added. If there are still no goals, then you shoot penalty kicks.

The gameplay itself is pretty good, but there are a few aspects that keep it from being a great game. If you are new to the game (or to the genre), you will find the game to be frustrating. The learning curve is a bit steep. Memorizing all of the ways to pass, do tricks, and all that jazz will take some time. Sometimes the controls are a bit unresponsive as well.

The graphics are excellent and horrible at the same time. The stadiums and fields look nice, but when there are close-ups to players, they sometimes look outright freaky. A few times while in close-up to Rohnaldino, I got the impression it was an alien from the Ridley Scott film. However, ball and character animation is great-looking. The character animations are alright, but faces aren’t the best at times.

The sound is alright. Commentating can get a little annoying, but the soundtrack is [mostly] listenable. Good thing they are only in the menus. I also think that it was a very special touch to play the national anthem when you win a game.

If you have [i]FIFA 06[/i], this is a rental without a doubt, and even if you don’t have it, I still suggest renting it. The game is fun, but I don’t think it justifies a 60 dollar purchase on the Xbox 360 (especially when on other platforms they are 30 dollars). Rent this, and wait for the upcoming [i]FIFA 07[/i] which is coming at the end of September.

Score: 2/5

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