EA shoots…and hits the bar
To be honest, EA’s FIFA franchise has never been comparable to Konami’s PES. However, for most people, this was the year that FIFA bridged the gap and finally gave PES some true competition. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do like this game. There are plenty of teams to play with and plenty of championships to play for. So it’s sad that the bad outweighs the good, because with a couple of more months, the overall score down the bottom of this page could’ve been 1 or 2 points higher.
The strongest point of this game is the controls. Basically, there are four main buttons plus a couple of directions you’ll flick the Wii Remote or Nunchuck in. A is to switch player in defense or to pass in offense. B is to tackle in defense and to send a through-ball in offense. Z is to run and C is to do tricks or send a player on a run. That’s all reasonably standard issue controls for a football game. However, it all changes when you factor in the Wii Remote. Basically, this is what controls your shots. Flick it up for a strong shot, flick it down for a soft shot. Combine flicks to the side with C for tricks, and that’s the basic controls. What’s great is that they all work really well. They’re so simple that you’re not combining 8 different button presses to dummy a player. Simply hold C and flick the remote to the left or right and you’re done. Add the controls to an incredible amount of playable teams in the single player as well as a very solid multiplayer online experience and you get some very good gameplay. A sore spot is the lack of modes to play compared to other versions. It’s missing a character creator mode, a Career mode and the all new Be a Pro mode. These were traded in for some horrendous mini-games featuring a Ronaldhino Mii who gets horribly annoying, and a uninspired Challenges mode. Overall however, there is some very good gameplay in FIFA 08.
What’s not very good is its graphical quality. Firstly, it looks like a low end PS2 game. I wasn’t expecting a 360 level of graphical quality
A sore spot is the lack of modes to play compared to other versions.
but something that wouldn’t have looked out of place 7 years ago is simply not good enough. Secondly, this game is glitchy. I’m not talking small, tiny glitches either. This game is so glitchy it actually almost breaks it. There are glitches where certain players on your team vanish, there are glitches where your goalkeeper will come out to gather balls on the half-way line. There’s one immensely frustrating one where the game refuses to acknowledge custom formations you’ve applied to your team. And it’s not a case of simply stopping the game before a match and changing the formation back – that formation is gone for the duration of your gaming session before it pops up again the next time you play. Honestly, I cannot remember being as annoyed at a game as I got in this one – and I played Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It’s so disappointing that EA finally got the gameplay right, only to package it with something so infuriatingly broken.
FIFA 08’s sound isn’t excellent, but it’s not as bad as the graphics either. There’s a wide range of commentary, but the thwacks of boot on ball are a bit meh and the crowd is basically a dull roar in the background. It also supports EA Trax, which is the music that features in all of EA’s sports games. There’s a good variety of different songs, but they’re for a younger generation, with bands that I’m definitely not familiar with. Overall, the sound’s not bad to the point where you don’t want to listen anymore, but don’t turn your TV up too loud.
Overall, I am left feeling a bit of hope. FIFA 09 could be the game where EA finally delivers. If they keep that gameplay the same, fix the glitches and a give the sound a bit of a one over then I’ll certainly be back next season
The Bad: Uninspiring graphics; I hate the Ronaldhino Mii; No career mode; No character creator; VERY glitchy;