The ‘much awaited’ tag has never really been attached with the year-end FIFA releases. When you have two FIFA titles (the other being FIFA Manager) released every year, the hype doesn’t really build up. But FIFA 08 promised to be different. And different it was!!
In the year 2007 came Konami’s Winning eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 07 which made FIFA 07 look really passé. FIFA had to do better. FIFA’s developers have shown tremendous improvement in the gameplay as well as the player modeling. Let’s take a closer look at what FIFA’s latest installment has in the offing for those hardcore soccer enthusiasts.
What’s new: A truly next-generation ball-striking engine has resulted into better passing, more precise long balls and accurate shots on target. Here even ball spin, pressure from defenders, player attributes spice up the game. The ball doesn’t stick to the player as in previous versions (therefore you probably can’t just run through defenders and score goals at will). A much improved AI lays greater emphasis on good passing. Team formations plays a very big role in winning matches. You probably need some basic knowledge on how to counter your opponents formations. So it’ll probably take a couple of games to get into that winning streak (even if you are playing Italy v/s New Zealand!!). Another noticeable feature was the ability to create custom team formations. All teams have their original formations as in real life. It was very pleasing to play with Barcelona’s trademark modified 3-5-2 formation. You can actually place players anywhere you want.
You can now take full control of your goal keeper. Did a striker just run past your defenders? You still have the option of manually controlling the goalkeeper! Another added feature is the ability to make through passes. You need not always pass to a point where your teammate is present. You can just pass the ball into void and have another player reach to the spot and take it further. Really useful when you are outnumbered as a striker.
‘Be a Pro’ is probably the most exciting feature this game has to offer. Start with a player and have him rise to fame with the game teaching you all the way through. Each match has certain tasks listed out. A defender can have objectives like ‘Win 10% tackles’, ‘50% successful passes’ etc. listed out to him before the match. Defenders, midfielders and strikers all have different tasks to perform.
But then everything isn’t rosy here! One look at PES 2007 makes you wonder, “What have EA been doing all year??” Here’s a small comparison between FIFA’s Thierry Henry and PES’s Thierry Henry. (Both the images are my screenshots from the games played on the same rig).
(Psst: Here’s an actual photo of the French bald wonder)
As it is clearly seen, Pro Evo Soccer 2007 clearly has an edge over FIFA 08. Even the grass looks livelier! It’s players even show various emotions whereas FIFA players don’t. Key layout has changed (again???). The ‘Manager Mode’ is the same as of the 2007 edition. Gets really boring after a couple of seasons. With the PS3 and XBOX versions of the game you can create and execute signature moves. With the PC version, the developers decide to totally give it a miss (how rude)!!!
AngadSodhi dot Com Verdict: The FIFA 08 version is very analogous to Windows Vista. Vista is a step ahead of Win XP but not as good as Mac’s OSs! Put FIFA 08 and PES 07 head-to-head and the winner is obvious (hint: begins with a ‘P’ ). Hopefully FIFA Street 3 can live upto the hype it is generating!!!
AngadSodhi dot Com Rating: 7.9/10
Price: INR 999/-
Developer: Electronic Arts
Requirements: Win XP/Vista – 1.3GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, 128MB video card, 3.92 GB HDD space.
Official site: http://www.fifa08.ea.com/
PS: This is my first game review!! Tell me how you like it.