For all those eagerly awaiting my review of the game 😛 here goes…
There has been a litany of flaws accompanied by rather exaggerated and unreasonable laments about FIFA and how it doesn’t fair well in comparison to other soccer games in the market like PES. It’s been thought that EA waste far too much money on the licenses and stuff to make the game attractive to a vast majority of average football fans rather than paying attention to the technicalities of the game to attract those “elite users”. I read this somewhere.. “the people who buy FIFA are
1) People who dont play soccer in real life
2) People who dont follow actual soccer .. meaning football
I have to say a part of that is true. But it is nonetheless obviously harsh stereotyping. I have played PES demo but never the full game. So I am not here to compare the two games. But looking at FIFA objectively we all know there were, are and will be flaws in the game. Removal of each and every flaw will result in a neat game. FIFA 08 does have its flaws, some even repeated over from 07 and 06 .. rather frustrating to know. But it has improved a lot too. To say the very least, it is one step closer to realistic soccer than its predecessors.
After a week of playing this game, a few friendlies with liverpool to see how Torres fits into the squad and then a be-a-pro season with a midfielder and then finally the ever reliable manager mode, I have been convinced that FIFA is not even close to a failure.
To start off Torres in Liverpool is just awesome, I played online and much to my satisfaction raped quite a few Man utd and Barca players. Much to their agony, FIFA 08 is a surprise. It’s not a game for dribblers and those who only like to dribble and pull off tricks or outrun the defenders. FIFA 08 lays significant emphasis on Build-Up play. Pass and move kind of stuff. More midfield action than end-to-end stuff. You are more likely to see
http://youtube.com/watch?v=2bmK-XhIIMA in FIFA 08 rather than
quite rightly. Events like Messi’s goal should be landmark events not something that you see in every league game. In short, If you are disciplined defensively, you can make life difficult for the opposition. The defensive AI has improved a lot. One of the main features is the ability of the players to track back to position. Plus the Goalie is much more difficult to beat. You can choose how difficult you want him to be. The manual finishing and the optional control over the goalie make it all the more difficult; which makes perfect reasoning for introducing the be-a-pro mode in which by holding a button you can get back to your position. If you did that you are likely to receive the ball without even calling for it. But Be-a-pro is not much fun playing alone. If I were in India it would have been awesome playing it with my brother. And Be-a-pro is not online for PC. The most ridiculous part is after you complete a season with a player, that’s about it, it doesn’t even let you play in to the next season. But the challenges are good and quite hard to complete.
Finally, the manager mode. I started the manager mode with Wrexham FC in league 2. The introduction of pre-season friendlies is a good improvement although not very great. It might be a good way of testing your academy starlets and new signings. Manager mode is a perfect blend of football and football management, which is definitely a key attraction to any FIFA game. The main new feature in my opinion is the scheduling of trainings. The effect of training sessions are very obvious when you play with a team like Wrexham. I recommend playing with weaker teams in manager mode to enjoy it more. Training also introduces fatigue and dealing with substitutions and rotations more cleverly. With weaker teams convincing a player to join your club is a challenge by itself. I had to get my negotiator to level 6 to make my first transfer. And the board was quite pissed off since my coaches were only level 2. And scoring with a team like Wrexham is a much more rewarding experience. For example, I pulled off a win vs. Cardiff in the FA cup and it was a phenomenal last minute winner. You can see the fan support rating soaring.
There are flaws however. The most annoying is the commentary. When you hit a shot over the bar or wide, the commentators say “It was hit really hard, but the keeper was up to it” or “it almost took the goalkeeper in to the goal” and then it would be a goal kick.. ridiculous. Further the exaggeration of saves “OH WHAT A SAVE” when it was hit straight to the keep kind of stuff which existed in 07 and 06 are not corrected for. But with top-flight teams the commentary is closer to being realistic, with player names now attached to the strings and extra comments about the derby games. Aside: The fans now sing “you’ll never walk alone” in anfield, which is awesome.
Presentation: poor. The same old menu system. I am sure changing the menu presentation wouldn’t cost EA much time and effort. I would definitely love to see a new menu in a new game. At least, they should have changed the font!
Graphics: A shade better than 07 with improved texture and player faces. The ball physics has also improved.
Other significant improvements are, manual crossing and manual through balls, choosing the defender you wish to control and flipping control to the goalie with the right stick, semi-auto, auto and manual finishing controls which test different degrees of skill.
Overall it’s an 8/10 from me and a must buy for FIFA fans.