THE GENERAL IDEA:
Well, this is a football game. Its not hard really, two teams kick the ball towards each others goal, with various rules in between. Indeed, this is about as close to 'the beautiful game' as you wil see on the Xbox.
Football games today are rated largely on their gameplay. Since the rise to glory of Pro Evolution Soccer 4, FIFA has had a real contender for the football games market. Indeed, the last incarnation almost certainly saw Pro-Evolution Soccer take the crown as the most layable and enjoyable game. The gameplay was faster, slicker and generally got you more involved in the actual games themselves.
This meant EA Sports had to drastically improve in this area of the game or lose the market again to their new rivals. The first port of call was the game speed. Fifa games have always had the option to increase the speed of the game, but that could sometimes mean players shooting around like an inhuman cannonball - making keeping up with the play hard. But they have worked on this and we now see a slicker game, that flows much faster from player to player and end to end.
Further, the awful 'through ball' feature has been largely rectified. Anyone who has played a previous FIFA title on any platform will know this one. Its where you play the ball to a man and its a little behind him, but he waits... he won't move, he waits... And pop - in comes the defender and takes it away before it gets there. How annoying. So, after 4 attempts, we now see the ability to play a through ball with a man coming to meet it, avoiding the inevitable delay in play caused.
FIFA 2005 follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, with the official licence of all leagues wrth knowing about. You can play in the 2nd Division as Swindon and see Nationwide as the Sponsor... play as a German Bundesliga team, official names and kits are present here too.
This is what FIFA have generally relied on in the past. Nothing gets you going more than knowing its Wayne Rooney who's scoring for Man U, rather than Wayno Runoy... It just doesnt have the same ring to it does it...?
EA Sports have long been known for providing the best looking graphics of any football game. The ability to see a players expression as he shoots, the endless camera angles and the names clearly written across the back.
Indeed this game doesn't dissappoint with some superb modelling of players and even more player likenesses with the faces. Also of note is that the faces actually 'belong' to the heads in this version, and arent simply stuck on in those all too ugly close up modes.
The stadiums are also superbly modelled and changed depending on who you are (Spurs play at White Hart Lane fr instance). Lower league sides will play with blocks of flats in the background... great.
Importantly, the graphics run smoothly despite their detail, and there are no 'pop-up' moments that annoy me with many console games, but are clearly unjustified on the powerful X-Box.
THE SEASON MODE:
Every good football game will have a good season mode. This will make or break the game as friendlies can only keep your attention for so long.
FIFA sets you on the road to a 15 year career. You can start with a club of your choice... from the lower divisions :-D You then have to work your way up, each success putting you one step closer to that all important job offer from a top premiership team (or in my case Tottenham).
During your career you will realise just how important winning is. Unless you play on the easy settings, you will battle against relegation for the first year. With little start up cash and even less team ability, you'll be lucky to notch up 2 wins in a row.
However, you get money and upgrade points for everything you do, every goal you score and every result you get... with the points increasing if its a top competition or a local derby you succeed in.
Use the upgrade points to increase any one of 8 different areas of your managerial abilities. I find the two key areas are obviously Fitness (having good players means nothing if they dont last the match) and financial (the better you arem the more you get when selling players and the less you pay for new ones!
Also included are Physio (improve recovery from injury), scout (improve youth players you get each season) and coaching in various areas (striker coach means your strikers get better quicker etc...).
This all adds to the eventual game, and makes sure you will be playing for hours. Even if you achieve world domination, you can always start again with someone else and see yourself climb the tables all over again.
Still missing from the season mode is that all important stadium building. OK, I may be a minority but I find getting a little club to the top flight and building a 30,000 seater stadium in the process makes a big difference to me. Still missing though.
You can effectively play in season mode, or indeed play any one of the games hundreds of leagues or cups individually. This can be fun at times, and each time you win something, you get EA Sports points. This is the only time the navigation through the main menu's can become tricky though. To get to them you have to go to the EA Sports shop, which is hidden away well... manual time....
You can get all sorts of things, from Pierluigi Collina as a referee, 3rd kits for the top teams and even different types of balls for the different competitions! This is really FIFA extending the use of their licence in the best possible way, enhancing the gameplay no end for sad licence lovers like me.
THE NEW PLAYER:
Never played a FIFA game before? Then you have seriously missed out. But the new controls series allows you to pick up and play this game without reading a manual. With the ability to hold your own in a game with just the basic pass , tackle and shoot buttons this game can easily become adictive for even the newest members.
Well, you've played it as Man U or Chelsea and cleaned up in the premiership by relying on your ability to pass tackle and shoot. But now you have the added adventure of being able to mess around with the other controls. Indeed, the handy pre-game screens showing you the control buttons mean you can include at least one new trick a game, and practise it over and over. Soon you'll be flicking the ball about better than Ronaldo.
THE WORLD CLASS STAR:
OK, so you think you can handle it? Well this game comes with an added punch. Play in world class mode and you will have no chance of winning every game of the season - and a challenge is more than presented. Indeed, in my 13th season I have yet to win every title I've entered in any given season, and I like to think I'm pretty good...
Everyone loves having mates around for a good little footy tournament. FIFA caters superbly for this and unlike the PS2, the X-box has the space for 4 pads at once. So team up in pairs and go at it. Indeed, the gameplay is only improved when you play this way and the ability to create mini-tournaments or even have a full league with computer teams as well make this game a real cracker in multi-player.
THE ADDED TWIST:
I noted a weakness of the game earlier being the inability to build a stadium. Well, here's the added twist. Should you buy the FIFA FOOTBALL MANAGER 2005 game, you can manage in the management game and then switch to FIFA to actually play the game. This means you really do get the best of both worlds. Indeed, this extends the game no end and really adds to the experience and gives you something many games have failed to achieve in recent times... a management game that you can also play... thats playable!
The only downside is that you have to change the games in your X-BOX before and after every game - which can sometimes become a bit too much of a nuisance. Here's hoping FIFA do this on one disc at some point in the future.
AN excellent game that you can pick up and play. Even better is that in single player you can end up so involved you forget to go to sleep. Indeed, the game is so absorbing you will soon find yourself rushing home from work as you strive to end the season top of the league! Highly recommended for anyone. Get the manager version and link them up for superb play.
Like many parents i am constantly struggling to find a football game for the kids to play that does not involve me sitting for hours explaining how to set up matches and how to make substitutins etc.
FIFA 2005 is not bad for ease of playability and is very addictive for kids as scoring is not as difficult as other football games like the Pro Evo series.
The graphics keep kids interested and the commentary is quite entertaining and not too repetitive. Playing this game on the Xbox platform is ideal for kids as saving games is no problem at all, there is no need for expensive memory cards as the console has a hard drive.
In conclusion this is quite a good game above avarage FIFA 2006 is even better but thats another story...
There are events every year that people around the world look forward to and some events that people dread. Events like Christmas are loved by kids, anniversaries dreaded by wives because most husbands forget and to football lovers there is the Fifa series.
Ever since the 1990's Electronic Arts have updated this series every year and gamers are sick of it because there is a lack of differentiation between each installment. So now I will see whether EA have done anything at all to change the game to keep loyal fifa lovers happy.
The first ever Fifa game I played was the 98 road to world cup installment which was one of the first computer games i ever bought. I thought it was the best football game ever but how wrong was I. My friend showed me one of the first installments of Pro evolution soccer and I was hooked and thought Fifa was a measly attempt at a football simulation. So till around the Fifa 2003 installment I hadn't played any other because I was always told that Fifa hadn't changed. The moment I played Fifa 2003 I felt it had changed but still kept the old feel of the game which was what loyal fans enjoyed. I still wasn't convinced about the game and I went back to pro evolution soccer. When the 2004 installment came out I got it for the PC at Christmas and thought to myself that I should try it. The gameplay was indeed the same as 2003 and after playing for a few hours I left it for dead and proceeded in doing other things with my time as it had no longetivity unlike a game like pro evolution soccer.
The first thing I noticed about the game when I started it up was the style of the menus was the same as 2004 and reassured me that EA tried their hardest in modifying the game. The same option of choosing your favourite club was there, being from Liverpool I chose Everton and the only effect of this option is the logo is shown on the menus. The only thing that really changes every year in the Fifa series is the soundtrack and the soundtrack is always very good. It is usually the only good point about the game. Some of the songs on the soundtrack are not what you'd expect to be on bands like The Streets, Franz Ferdinand and Morrissey are there. The songs always seem to fit in well with the atmosphere of the game and in some cases I pause the game just to listen to the soundtrack.
The supposed brand new additions to this installment of the Fifa series are:
-First Touch Gameplay: All-new fluid player kinetic system gives you First Touch control with easy button presses on your controller.
-All-New Creation Zone: Design tournaments and customize players using the most advanced modeling system ever.
-Build Soccer's Greatest Dynasty: Deeper Career mode offers further immersion into the world of running a soccer club.
-The Absolute Broadcast: Enjoy brand-new camera angles, realistic weather effects, and improved contrast and lighting for players and stadiums.
- Enhanced Online Gameplay: Take your beautiful game online. Set up tournaments and chat with players across the nation.
(points taken from play.com description)
Every year only minor changes are implemented and it is a reason why alot of people choose to buy Pro evolution soccer over this game because it can't be differentiated very easily to other games in the series.
The first thing I noticed when I first played a game was that the graphics seemed a bit worse than last year. I don't know if its the game or whether its just my eye not accepting it into my standard of good graphical detail. The next thing I noticed was that there were new animations in the game which makes getting fouled even better looking than the last installments.
This game features hundreds of teams all of which are at your disposal. Like every year the players and teams are updated accordingly like Wayne Rooney's move to Manchester United etc. For the die hard football fan these updates are a must as it adds to the atmosphere of the game to them. But seeing as its just a game I feel its not important but its always nice for the die hard supporters.
Since all you could do in the previous fifa games was just play leagues in this installment you have the option of playing a career mode of 15 seasons. The career mode lasts 15 seasons and follows the tracks of you, the manager going from managing the lower league teams to glory to lifting the european trophy with real madrid. The career mode begins with you having to choose a region you want to manage, for example england/scotland or spain etc. After choosing your region you can customize the name and look of the manager. Once you choose the look you want you choose from a list of lower league clubs like Yeovil and then you reach an upgrades screen whereby you allocate upgrade points to staff so they reach a level. The staff include:
This system is an incentive system for winning matches. At the beginning of each season you are given a few hundred points to allocate to your staff. Each staff has a maximum level of 10 with 100 points required to level up. Each match you win if you're in the Premiership you earn around 15-20 points but if you're in a lower league you only earn around 5-10. This is an incentive to get higher up in the leagues to improve your administration who will push your team that little bit further. Apart from being able to play your matches you can also simulate the game in the style of the championship manager series. If you're unaware the game is simulated but you don't watch it but you keep track of it via text. But unlike championship manager you can intervene in the middle of the game if you're losing. For example if in the 88th minute your team is trailing by one goal you can press intervene and immediately enter the game in the 88th minute and help your team succeed.
This mode improves longetivity but in the end you need a lot of time to be able to complete the career mode and you won't be very patient after winning the league even if you're simulating games.
Other modes available are practice which is a bit obvious, tournaments where you can choose to play an existing tournament like the F.A. Cup or make your own by choosing the rules, how many legs etc.
The first touch system that is the flagship change of this version of Fifa is not what I expected and it is pretty easy to execute you just tap the direction the goal is and then you press the shoot button. This change isn't necessary and really isn't what the fans would have wanted. The other change is the animations have changed. In the premiership recently there have been alot of elbow involved incidents and the game picks up on this by having alot of elbow fouls in to capture the modern feel of football. In the game you are also fouled more frequently due to the numerous amount of ways you can be fouled. This results in silly things like you kick someone accidently when you miss the ball slightly, this can result in penalties which can be easily disputed in life.
The problems with this game is that the commentary by John Motson and Ally McCoist has been the same since the 2003 installment of Fifa and i feel that the commentary is also boring compared to John Motson's commentary for live football for BBC1. The other problems are that the difficulty of the game is very low and you'll find the longetivity of the career mode not what you expected and you will expect to be bored of it within half of a season.
If you've played Fifa before I recommend that you don't buy it and if you haven't but have played pro evolution i recommend you don't buy this.