The beautiful game
This review originally posted at MentalGamers – www.mentalgamers.com/game_reviews.php?r=29
EA’s FIFA franchise needs no introduction so let’s get stuck right in to FIFA ’07…
FIFA ’07 is the latest installment, following on from 2006 FIFA World Cup a few months back.
To be honest there’s not much point in me writing the same stuff again, so I’ll just ask that you read my review of 2006 World Cup and then I can list any differences or anything I feel worth mentioning here 🙂
Having said that, here’s a similarity: To play with a keyboard you’ll need a numpad to use the tactics system. Cue some digging around to find that gamepad I got loaned for my last FIFA review… I actually found FIFA ’07 to be a lot easier to get the hang of than 2006 World Cup. I’m not sure if that’s because of the time I spent playing previously because its been a while since I wrote that review, so I’ll give EA the benefit of the doubt and say the controls have improved.
Graphically it looks a lot more polished, not least because the stupid confetti and balloons are now gone. The stadiums also look nicer, and as always you can make out who the players are supposed to be.
Sound is pretty much the same too, and while the commentary is still repetitive and doesn’t quite sound natural, it is improving. There’s also a pretty decent soundtrack to listen to in the menus with a good range of tunes from around the world.
Gameplay is what a football game is all about though. Every iteration of the FIFA franchise feels more natural than the last thanks to the constant tweaking, and certainly ’07 feels more natural than ’06 so the tweaking is working. The most noticeable tweak is to the physics, as the way the ball reacts is now a lot more realistic. The AI is also constantly improving and as I found with ’06 you need to plan your attacks to get past the defence as lucky goals are few and far between. You will also find your team-mates react more intelligently, catching on quite well to what you are trying to do, especially if you pick a team with a high chemistry rating.
EA have hyped up their online mode for ’07 with its online leagues, but again I haven’t actually tried this feature. As with 2006 World Cup I’m too embarrassed to try, but there’s also the fact that when I went to have a look I discovered you need to pay a subscription to play online. There’s an option to let your subscription be paid for you in exchange for consenting to marketing emails being sent to you but I get enough spam already, and I refuse to pay to play so that was the end of that for me…
Offline however, there are challenges to be completed for points as in World Cup 2006 and again you can exchange these points for prizes like new kits, sounds, enhancements etc. “Star players” are back again too with unique abilities you can try to exploit. If you aren’t great at football you can also take advantage of the new management mode, although I wouldn’t buy FIFA ’07 if I wanted a management game. Creating a team is fun diversion too, as is creating a player.
One point of note is that out of the box the teams are not up-to-date with transfers made after the end of August, although you can edit the teams or download the latest rosters.
There’s not much else to say really. Again, if you like the FIFA franchise then FIFA ’07 is the natural choice. It looks good, sounds good, and plays good.
The Bad: Subscription to play online