FIFA is a franchise that has been around for as long as i have been in gaming. Just like we're bound to watch terrible television over the summer, EA never fail to deliver a yearly update to their soccer games. In recent times the FIFA series has been wailing, so the pressure is continuously on for the series to provide a more realistic game of soccer. The handheld incarnations of FIFA have generally always been scaled back, and this can be put down to hardware limitations and the control issues that come with it.
FIFA 06 marks the debut of the series on the PSP (FIFA 05 was released earlier in the United States but it never made it to PAL regions) and it's a rather mixed result. EA have tried to port the game directly from the console versions, but unfortunately there intentions were ultimately too ambitious, as the game is left feeling like a watered down scaled back title.
Features wise the game includes many gameplay modes including practice, exhibition and tourmanent. One of the notable omissions it the manager mode, which hasn't made the cut. We're unsure why this is but it is a bit disappointing that cutbacks had to be made. The main single player mode is the season mode. This is the mode that you'll spend the most amount of time with in single player, as you're able to play a 38 game full season. There is also no create a player options though which is disappointing as EA are normally fairly comprehensive with their create a player options.
EA have also included an exclusive PSP mini game that's best described as a juggling mini game. The objective of the game is to kick the ball up into the air and not let it touch the ground. This isn't just done by pressing the one button, you have to press the corresponding button that appears on the screen. The mini game isn't deep, and it isn't likely to provide more than novelty value, but a bonus is a bonus.
Full multiplayer support has also been included. Up to three players can play in a match wirelessly, which helps to expand the appeal of the title. Surprisingly though, the game also supports online play. We were unable to test this for the purpose of the review, but this is a great addition because it makes the multiplayer even more appealing, if you cannot find friends in a close range then you can just play online.
Gameplay wise the game is a little hit and miss. FIFA has gradually made the transition from arcade gameplay to simulation based, as such as the gameplay is a little slower than an arcade soccer title, but it plays out a bit more realistically. The ball physics are just as average in this game as they were in the Xbox version of the title though, which takes away from the realism of the title.
Graphically the game isn't as impressive as we'd hoped either. The character models are barely distinguishable, and in comparison to the console versions this game lags behind considerably. The only time the game looks good and the players look detailed is after a goal. When a goal is scored the action then zooms in, and shows off a fair amount of detail on the players, which we would have loved to have been shown through the entire game.
The sound in the game is nearly the same as that in the console versions, which is to be commended. There are also some included music videos and the commentary is fairly decent, thankfully it doesn't become too repetitive either. The commentary is provided by Clive Tydsley and Andy Gray so that provides a welcome change of pace. However, the crowd doesn't sound very good and is often drowned out by the commentary, this doesn't help to create much atmosphere in the game, we would have loved for louder celebrations after a goal for example.
There are a few modes which should help to extend the lifespan, but the manager mode really was the flagship mode of the console versions. Those who will get good value out of the multiplayer modes would be worth considering a purchase if they cannot hold out for Pro Evolution Soccer, but casual fans can probably bear the wait.
FIFA 06 isn't the stellar soccer game we were hoping for. Anyone who is an arcade soccer fan would be best advised to pickup World Tour Soccer, and if you're a simulation fan then it is highly advisable that you wait for Pro Evolution Soccer 5 to come to the PSP. Soccer fans are being treated on the PSP, with some great games coming out, but unfortunately FIFA 06 isn't one of them.
Xbox: FIFA 06
NDS: FIFA 06
27 Oct, 2005
27 Oct, 2005
FIFA 06 Review
PSP Review | Goooooooooooooooal?
|FIFA 06 isn't the best soccer game for the PSP and with Pro Evolution Soccer still on the horizon it's unlikely this game is worth the purchase.||6½|
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