Review by Falensarano

Reviewed: 06/28/06

Not the best FIFA game ever

I have played the majority of FIFA games since FIFA 99, back in the day where simply pressing the circle button on the Playstation produced an on target shot from outside the box. Gradually the games developed and added new features and improved until FIFA 2006 was released.

Then along came 2006 FIFA World cup which I found really good when I first played it, but after a while I started to notice little chinks in the game play here and there. Firstly, the options of how to play the game have been drastically reduced. You can’t alter the difficulty or game length in FIFA World Cup mode. This meant I was beating teams by 5+ goals in every game I played and I was getting bored of having to play 6 minute halves without having to defend and being allowed to have 10+ shots. Every team was a complete walk over, including the likes of Argentina and Brazil.

The options to change the difficulty are available in Play Now, but the fact they aren’t available elsewhere makes winning the World Cup and qualifying a monotonous task and seeing as to unlock all the in game achievements you have to play through with a team from each continent.

The tactics options I found to be very poor. You have a choice of 4 attacking options and 4 defensive options which cannot be edited to suit your own playing style. This is an area where Pro Evolution Soccer has the upper hand for game play. There is a wide selection of formations to choose from but I found that none of them have a strong all out attack potential. This is frustrating in the Global Challenge section of the game where you have a set amount of time to score goals.

Team selection is another area in which the game failed to impress me. Again, using England as an example, Theo Walcott, who was picked to go the Germany by Sven is not included in the players you can pick from when selecting your own World Cup team. Also, the quality gap between subs and the starting eleven is huge. Owen and Rooney can both shot well inside and outside the box whereas Defoe and Crouch both send shots trickling towards the keeper from where ever they shot from.

At the start of the game the Commentators are pretty good. They give team specifics about their chances in the world cup, which changes from team to team. However, when playing the Global Challenges they don’t adapt to the various situations. For example, as England you play against Germany in the 1990 semi-final, but the commentators talk about the game as if it's a 2006 World Cup match. This completely ruined the atmosphere of the challenge and all the other challenges. This issue alone makes me think that the game was rushed. It also would have been good to have the old teams playing in the old world cup finals but that would perhaps be asking too much.

The replay of the 1958 World Cup final between Sweden and Brazil is ridiculously hard and makes the Xbox360 challenges nearly impossible to complete. The world class difficulty setting doesn’t help as it seems to make your players worse and give the opposition extra ability rather than making then play improved football.

On the good side the Graphics in the game are impressive. You can see the player’s leg muscles and extra detail to make them look more like real people. However, because of this some of the players don’t look like their real life counterparts, Michael Owen in particular.

The Play Now options make the game great for multiplayer and online fun with lots of selections as to what type of match you can play, the time of day and weather, half length and difficulty.

As long and monotonous as it is taking your team through the World Cup is, it is still great to see them celebrate their victory and this is one place where the commentary makes sense.

In summary the bad points of the game greatly outweigh the good and for FIFA, 2006 FIFA World Cup doesn’t meet their usual high standards. However the game is still worth getting for online play alone. Once the challenges are completed, which will probably take a lifetime, the game has very little single player replay value… But who buys a football game for its single player features?

Rating: 5

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