Review by spadeviper

Reviewed: 05/01/06

2006 World Cup Soccer... is the fever alive?

I have always enjoyed soccer and it is the second best sports title I play next to hockey. I have gone through some transition recently. I started out on my xbox getting FIFA 2005, was not bad at first but quickly found the gameplay to be just annoying and graphics in my opinion were awful. SO then I get Winning Eleven 8 when it came out, updated all the rosters and fell in love with the game. The gameplay is amazing but I just didn't feel drawn in like the FIFA title. Why does one have to be so good at one thing, and vice versa with the other? Anyways... to the review.

Got my Xbox 360 at release, loving it, the games are for the most part amazing. Just picked up 2006 World Cup Soccer on release and have had some time to take some notes.

Presentation
Thanks to this game's presentation I have World Cup fever. The way this game draws you in with it's presentation, it is spectacular. Putting aside graphics and sound for a minute, just the way it is all been put together from the international music at the main menu to the camera angles showing off these massive stadiums...words can barely describe.

Graphics
I tend to be critical on graphics, so how are they? Good in some ways, 'EA' in other ways (no what I mean?). I like the cutscenes, the player faces and bodies are very well done and I didn't expect that kind of detail. In the forums people have bashed the way the stadium and crowds look but I think they are just above par. The area that I think EA failed is the grass, I know it's from high up with these camera angles but the pitch just leaves much to be desired. The confetti is a nice touch but eventually becomes too overbearing. The big flags held in the crowds aren't good either and don't really move. But something to improve on I suppose. One final point on the graphics, if you play on HD watch out for some framerate issues, as I have found it to be choppy depending on camera angles. If you don't experience it then great.

Audio
This is where EA shines big time. This ties in with presentation, the music and crowd chants are top notch, playing as England I was following along with them shouting the anthem during the game... and driving my wife nuts. International music is perfect for this style of game, shows diversity and really aren't we all just sick of these "up and comers" that are in all the other EA Sports games?

Gameplay
Well you know what they say, gameplay is king. EA might as well copy their competition because Winning Eleven will not be getting player rights for a long time now after that deal was inked to 2014 for EA. FIFA's gameplay is sub par in my opinion, it's just tolerable really. I don't hate it, but I don't love it. Winning Eleven I think has the magic formula and EA needs to follow their lead. It's all about personal preference but I don't like how your player is automatically switched to someone else because I am trying to set up a block and then all of a sudden I'm controlling someone else and it can get confusing especially with a crowd around the ball. My other big problem is there seems to be an invisible wall when making a pass, it's like the ball is on rails and the player seems to go in slow motion approaching the ball and does not consider opponents around him. The same happens with tackling I find, if you tackle or get tackled there is this animation delay that I don't like. Better then FIFA 2005 I think, but still a long road.

AI
Winning Eleven has great AI, FIFA this time around I feel has improved it. Yes there are lapses but for the most part I don't find it that bad but when the opponent has the ball and is trying to move up on you they tend to run around in circles alot, I suppose they programmed that so they aren't doing tricks all over the place and smoking by all my players singlehandedly. Overall much better AI then previous years but we can always improve on it.

Closing Comments
Yes the price point on this game sucks for the Xbox 360 compared to other consoles but they did spend most of their time on this game so they say. I can walk away feeling good about throwing down the money for this game and it will provide lots of entertainment through World Cup this year and I will trade it in when either FIFA 07 or WInning Eleven 10 comes out. Can't wait to see what EA and Konami come up with. If you like soccer, and are tolerable of EA then get it, it's a decent purchase and EA has done so much worse with other games.

By the way, the extras/achievements will keep you going for quite ahile.

Presentation - 9
Graphics - 8
Audio - 9.5
Gameplay - 7.5
AI - 7.5

Total score around an 8/10

Rating: 8

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