FIFA scores a winner
Gamers tend to fit into two categories when it comes to choosing a football title, those who love the Pro Evolution series and those who swear by the FIFA titles. I’ve always been on the Pro Evo side of the fence as I love how Konami have managed to create the technical intricacies of the beautiful game; the gameplay flows and when I score a goal I feel exhilarated, such is the level of realism. The FIFA series to me, despite the fact that it offers an authentic experience in terms of the licences they’ve secured with all the top clubs, has consistently chosen style over substance, and although it’s still a decent game of football, I feel it hasn’t quite managed to match the superb gameplay of Konami’s soccer title - until now.
FIFA 07 for the Xbox 360 has made me re-assess my allegiance to Konami’s beautiful, methodical football experience. The presentation of EA’s latest soccer title, alongside the flowing gameplay, improved physics, new intelligent AI and online stability has finally won me over.
FIFA 07 has once again secured the licences for the world’s top leagues (over 20 nations). From the painstakingly designed stadiums to the fine details of our heroes on the pitch to the superb replay animations, FIFA 07 captures the overall visual experience of a football match, and while the EA style is still prominent in every area of the pitch, they have finally managed to achieve the most important aspect of a football game, great gameplay.
I kicked off my FIFA 07 experience in Manager Mode, choosing to be the manager of Manchester Utd. The menus have been given an overhaul and are superbly designed, both in terms of visual impact and ease of use, making navigating through your squad, league tables and the transfer market a much more pleasurable experience. All menus can be accessed by simple moving your left thumbstick to the right and then moving it to the left to back out, making jumping between squad lists, fixtures and team management a smooth operation that’s easy on the fingers.
There isn't an abundance of managerial options at your fingertips, for example if you wish to send a scout out to look for potential talent you can only choose the on field position of the player, four locations around the world and the length of the trip. The scout’s skill at spotting new talent is dependant on his scouting attributes and as you earn money from gate receipts or selling players you can upgrade him and other staff by assigning points in the staff upgrade menu. By assigning points to certain attributes, such as training in attacking or defensive skills or even stadium management you can improve every aspect of your team and staff’s performance.