Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
11/13/2006 11:20:00 AM
Review: FIFA 07
Posted by Lang Whitaker
We're not going to kid anyone here: Soccer in America still has a long way to go. The MLS Cup was played Sunday, and while it was shown on national TV and, egads!, even rated a highlight package on SportsCenter, I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 people -- maybe even 9.9 out of 10 -- couldn't tell you who won the match (that would be Houston), or even name one player on Houston.
MLS is growing, and soccer in the States is burgeoning, but something needs to push it along and over the edge into the mass consciousness. Some people believed Freddy Adu would be that "thing," a marketing shove in the right direction. Three seasons after his MLS debut, Adu hasn't been the long-term answer.
I remain hopeful that "thing" will be a soccer video game, maybe next year, maybe 10 years down the road. How often do we hear about how incredibly popularity the NFL has developed over the last decade? Now why doesn't anyone mention that the Madden series of games has made its rise to prominence over the same time span? Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but it's a heckuva coincidence if it is.
This brings us to EA's new FIFA 07 for the Xbox 360, which probably won't cause a run on MLS stock anytime soon. But if you enjoy The Beautiful Game, this game is beautiful. Well, in some ways. Its beauty lies almost completely in the look of it: shadows dance dramatically across fields, rain splashes down and pools up, players clatter into one another and stumble backwards. Visually, the game is Pamela Anderson.
Intellectually, unfortunately, it's closer to CJ Parker; While the game looks terrific, it doesn't always make a lot of sense. For some reason, players who are off the ball mostly stand around like statues, watching the action as if they'd bought a ticket. Kick a slow pass to a player, and he stands there waiting for the ball to arrive, even if the ball nearly rolls to a stop a few feet in front of him. And don't get me started about the runs some of my midfielders were making. I'm not sure why the game's AI isn't up to par, but it isn't and there's no way around this.
But after playing it for a while, you learn how to accept what the game can and can't do. If you're able to adjust, it's still a fun game to play. For instance, in older versions of FIFA, one of the best ways to score was by working the ball down a sideline and then curling in a centering kick to set up a header, much like in real soccer. In FIFA 07, this almost never works. Instead, for some reason, your best bet seems to be making a series of short passes directly up the center of the field and then passing it to a forward, even one who's marked closely by a defender, who can then generally spin and shoot before the defense can close on him. In general, there seems to be less offense in FIFA 07 than in any other version of the game. And in some ways, I guess that's a good thing, as in many real soccer games, a team may have only five or six genuine scoring chances over the course of a game.
EA has made a big deal out of the new ball physics in the game, saying they've completely reworked the way the ball bounces. Honestly, I couldn't tell a huge difference, other than it seemed that I couldn't make any long lead passes to my guys, particularly through the air.
The best part of FIFA 07 is the manager mode, which has always been a strong point of FIFA. Like in other years, you pick a franchise and then go about acquiring players, cutting players, loaning guys out and negotiating deals with talented young players from other leagues. The trick is to find a sponsor that pays you a high enough weekly sum that you can turn a small profit each week, allowing you to accumulate cash and invest in your coaching staff and your stadium. You also receive e-mails through the season, asking you to attend to various issues (from disgruntled fans to a team bus that's fallen into disrepair). These might seem rote, and many of the questions are recycled from previous games, but I love this aspect of the game, pretending that I'm getting to put my stamp on a club.
The online aspect worked great when I gave it a shot, and the action was flawless. There's also a game mode where you and a friend can go online and take on other groups of two, although if you're sitting on your couch playing games with a buddy, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just play against each other.
Ratings System (1 to 10)
Game Play: 7
The decision you have to face is whether or not you're able to sublimate your view of what soccer should be and subscribe to the way FIFA 07 presents the game. If you can, you'll probably like the game just fine. Otherwise -- maybe not.
The high point of the game. Once the AI catches up to the graphics, this will be a game to reckon with.
I found the manager mode addictive, even if there are about 300 fewer teams on the 360 version than on the PS2 and regular Xbox versions. There's also a vast series of challenges that can be fun to try and beat.
The explosion in NFL popularity is primarily due to fantasy football, not video games. Figure out how to make soccer a successful fantasy sport and Americans will start taking interest. Good luck with that.
Actually, I think the popularity of football is due more to the attention span, or lack thereof neccesary to watch a game. It is broken up into series, each of which either succeeds or fails, as opposed to the beautiful game which is an ongoing event through each half. As a casual NFL fan, I find the pauses (including 'TV Timeouts') annoying, but that is just me.
All I know is that the FIFA franchise for video games may be some of the best sports games ever. Even if people do not know anything about soccer, the more people that I play this game with, the more excited they get about wanting to know as much as possible about soccer. Yes MLS does have a long way to go, but this game is so indepth and amazing that I do not see how anyone would not automatically not love soccer nor the game the minute they played it. FIFA is amazing!
Do you guys have a deal with EA or something? Just wondering why, scanning your posts, you only review games from EA. A lot of people (myself included) thing Winning Eleven does a better job of modeling soccer. At least, it's competitive with it. Just wanted to point out that EA doesn't make the only video games in the world. Cheers.
thats an absolute joke. soccer isnt popular because americans need high scoring, fast paced, instant gratification...once we as a culture can respect soccer for its strategy and athleticism - soccer will be popular
Americans will never understand soccer regardless of any fantasy developments, rule changes or technological advancements that highlight the ball and put a blue streak on it when kicked ie: FOX SUPERPUCK. The game is too cerebral for the common American sportsfan to appreciate, partly because the U.S. is no good at soccer, and partly because the final score is not 91- 88.
In my case you are dead on in regard to both the NFL and Soccer. I always enjoyed football, but developed a whole new understanding of plays and formations thanks to the Madden series over the course of the last ten years. FIFA 06 coupled with the World Cup hype this year made me a soccer fan and taught me a lot about the game as well, which is necessary to absolutely enjoy watching.
sorry to say this, but i completely disagree with your post on fifa 07.
i'm a big fan of fifa ea games and i've play lots of if not all the versions of fifa including my current fifa 07 which i play everyday if not 24hrs a day.
most of the things you've complained about is probably because you don't know or understand the game play in fifa 07.
you've talked about long passes not possible and players standing to watch the ball etc. hints on how to play the game is usually shown while the game is loading and you can go online for more hints on proper game play. better still, you've got the practice mode in the game.
to give long passes, estimate the player's distance and hold down the pass button then release(not immediately). this will give a longer pass. for short passes just tap the pass button.
even in real life soccer you don't usually have players running from their wing to another wing, every player has his position. better still to make players go to the ball when you're not in possesion, press the pass key to switch between players or set your game to auto change players.
notice how the ball bounces, if in high altitude it bounces higher than when it's in lower altitude. also when you have water logged pitch, the ball strikes the ground with less momentum.
there lots of other things which i've not mentioned, just check out your game again and notic what i've mentioned.
one more thing you said nothing about the outstanding commentry in fifa07.
"...For instance, in older versions of FIFA, one of the best ways to score was by working the ball down a sideline and then curling in a centering kick to set up a header, much like in real soccer. In FIFA 07, this almost never works..."
In my experience with the game this is still the best way to score a goal. Problem is there are more difficulties in delivering the ball. So I think it's more realistic then in previous versions. (also an left footer on the right wing does a terrible job in delivering the ball ;-)
Fifa has a long way to compete with Konami's PES and Winning Eleven! the gameplay is much more realistic than Fifa 07. PES Winning Eleven is truly the best soccer game out in the market right now for those who love the true passion of the game. sorry FIFA 07 you guys suck!
Its quite worrisome that the video game industry hasn't really gotten to it's fully potential in terms of visual plausibility considering the advanced nature of 3d animation in use by the movie industries in the west.I think we the buying public of all this games should challenge the likes of sony,microsoft,ea and their like to give us our money's worth.
It is clear that the reviewer spent no more than a single session with this game, perhaps an hour or two.
While the Madden Franchise has devolved and lost features, it is entirely reassuring to witness this latest FIFA offering.
I can't even begin to comment on the review, as the entire piece warrants a thrashing.
Although none of text in the review should ever be reproduced, I feel I must make a single exception.
"although if you're sitting on your couch playing games with a buddy, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just play against each other"
Welcome to the 21st Century. Have you experienced things like online multiplayer and offline cooperative play?
The fresh and tight new gameplay and independant ball physics may have escaped the reviewer in his frantic attempt to produce a document. I maintain that this is the most realistic offering of any football/soccer game. Packed with loads of features, it is a complete departure from FIFA 06 World Cup.
I rarely support the bloated EA Sports Monster, but I honestly feel they've come up with something wonderful here. Innovation after innovation.
See you all in 4v4 online throw-downs, I'll be running up the score with Crespo as Inter crush the life out of Europe!!
Coming from a person who has played soccer at a high level outside of the US, and continues to support, watch, game, and coach soccer whenever free time presents itself outside of my 9-5; I feel that some of the people who are considered to be professional game testers/reviewers no nothing about the actual sport or game. If you have played football/soccer past the 3rd grade level you can really appreciate FIFA 07. I have purchased (and still own) every edition of FIFA since its conception. The games do have their glitches like most other video games, but each version that is put out year after year gets better. I feel that as far as game play other soccer games besides FIFA are nowhere close to the realistic feel of actually playing the game in person. The guy who wrote this review probably was thrown this assignment because there was no one else left in the office to waist their "precious" time on actually studying soccer in the US. Dude your review sucks. Why don't you learn the real game Yankee!
i truly believe this web-site does have a relationship with EA. It has been long agreed, amongst almost all soccer/futbol video-game players that EA's soccer games fall short of the Japanese Winning Eleven series. The only aspect of EA's that you can find better, is the visual look, which with most camera screens, is not too different from the Winning Eleven Graphics capabilities. Now when we talk about game play, options, and overall strategy, EA's Fifa serious falls well short of its counterpart. In W.E., players actually make correct runs, heads are headed towards their intended targets, players play to their strengths. The most important aspect to me however, is the ability to create, and edit players. In fifa, a defender from Ireland can run and catch up to ROONeY, or a certain number #10 from Brazil. In WE, there is no way a striker is outran by a slower player. this is realism, at it's best. You can also create new players. I just created the new players that were new to the leagues. So in fact, the game can always be edited so the rosters are new and correct.
wow, this is the dumbest review i have ever read and clearly the reviewer not only played this game very little, but also on a low skill level and really sucked at it. The cross is the best way to score, it just takes more skill because the game made it so you have to time the cross and the shot in order to score(just like real LIFE), its only on amatauer that of course you can take the ball right down the center, so try the game on pro or world class you dumbass! also the reason you "just stand there waiting for the ball" is because if you dont face the player you wont reach him with the pass and you need to change players and move to the ball to adjust(also as any soccer player can tell you REALISTIC!) as for your other stupid complaint about them just standing around, they are playing thier position, and u need to hit L1 to send them on runs finally, soccer is not about the homerun ball or the hail mary long pass, so it should be harder to connect with a long ball, but it is not impossible please next time you review a game, hopefully never again, take the time to read the load screen tips, and spend time getting good at before offering an obnoxius,stupid,review about a game you dont understand in the first place I highly recommend this game to anyone, out of Madden 07, nhl 07, and college football 07, and nba 07, it has been my favorite this year
soccer isnt as popular as football in the U.S because it isnt all about the AMERICAN league. the best leagues or best games to watch are in spanish or german leagues. start getting some big names over here and itll get popular. in fact we are getting beckham.
also i play fifa o7 professionally and the 360 version does not have nearly as much control as regular x box. if they let u have 1oo percent control of your player at the moment u hit a button with these graphics this will be in my book the best game ever.!!
Football was easy to like, everyone I looked up to watched it, pulled for there favorite teams, and more important taught me the game and gave me someone to cheer into winning. Soccer is headed that direction with more and more kids getting involved each year and more parents understanding the game it continues to increase in popularity. To say a video game popularized a sport is crazy. The reason someone gets a sport video game is to furhter idealize the team they support and or be a part of their winning. Want some proof, I suggest taking a poll with video rental stores and I bet you will find that during football season football game rentals increase, during basketball season basketball game rentals increase, etc. Remember football had its beginnings as well and it was a long time before the US took hold of it. Soccer will see its day in the US just like nascar and I bet when it does the gaming world will come up with an excellent game for us all. I would have to agree with an earlier statement that Winning 11 is one of the best out right now! I would also have to say that the individuals currently creating these games may be soccer challenged!
every real gamer knows EA can not match Konami. the best soccer game is the pro-evolution series. just check out Pro - evolution 6. please talk a little about it or at least do a comparism. firstname.lastname@example.org
I think YOU need to catch up to the AI. Even though the game isn't as great as the Winning Eleven franchise, it's not as flawed as you make it out to be. Who says you should score every time a cross is put into the box? That's what real soccer is like. Try practicing some more, or set the difficulty level to amateur. Soccer isn't that popular yet because Americans don't understand it. Seems fitting that you speak for most of them...
As an American, I feel that NOONE around me pays attention to soccer except me. I have FIFA 06 and it is a very good game, outside of the stupid cuts the AI sometimes makes. But the reason we, as a whole, do not like soccer is because there is not enough scoring. The only sports I watch are football, soccer and college sports. But the answer could simply be that MLS does not have as good standing as Europe does. I prefer European soccer because it is higher quality.
The reason soccer isn't popular here in the states is because the league is simply not good, not because there aren't enough goals. And it has nothing to do with a video game. It's by far the most popular youth sport in the country for god's sake! The kids are already hooked by the time they're 7 years old. Let's take advantage of that (the big European clubs have been here for some time now doing just that). Why would a video game make 18-35 year olds all of a sudden be interested in a sport that they don't care for, never played and don't understand to begin with? It's too late for us geezers to affect what's going on here.
Even laymen can see. I was watching an MLS playoff game last year w/ a friend who hates soccer and we were BOTH laughing at the all around pathetic skill level. We then switched to a replay of the juve v. madrid champions league match. Yes, that match! Absolute f'n magic...(don't worry, we'll be there again soon to take it all over again...)
You want to see the sport surge in the US? Create fields in the inner city and give away free soccer balls. What this league truly lacks is that sense of struggle. All we have are whiny California kids that have been given too much attention growing up. "You're the best Josh! You're No.1! And don't let anyone tell you different" This is soccer mom country! It's all making sense now....I don't believe it!
Isn't the NHL video game super popular? How has that affected the popularity of the league? Minimal at best...
Actually I think he's correct. A year ago my one knowledgable soccer friend would be verbally beaten at even a hint that futbol was a superior sport to football. But once I got my hands on Brazil in High-Def in Fifa 06 and began breaking ankles with ronaldinho I began to wonder what his real game looked like. After a quick stint at you tube, that then turned into me viewing every futbol vid I could find (Pele>Maradonna by the way) I realized my ignorance and insistance that futbol needed more action and scoring (I once even suggested the net be made wider, ugh the shame) or the pitch made bigger =/ could not have been more wrong. There a reason that futbol is the world's number one sport and slowly but surely Americans are beginning to realise it.
Who ever did the review on FIFA '07 sucks at the game because when u pass it regulary you need to push the direction to come to it and if you through pass it, it is meant to lead you not you come to it. The ball physics if you actually reviewed it is that its not attached to the player anymore...no more animation where your foot can go right through it and u can nutmeg people on purpose. Plus look at the player's stat to see if u can win headers, in this game you have to know your team to win and put it on professional for your team to do more or change their attack/defense pattern. This game isn't automatic anymore, you set your team's motives and habits, you are in control.
soccer video games are making an impact...my friend knew nothing about soccer except the name Pele. After being convinced by me to buy FIFA 07, he is all about soccer and has researched everything there is to know about the "beautiful game".
EA defintly dominates Konami and Fifais a hell of a lot better in evey way and will always be the best soccer game on the market. Nothing touches fifa you stupid idiots. Winning eleven Konami are u f****** kidding
I am a man who loves all American sports with all my heart. I also lived in soccer mad England for a year. In my opinion, the biggest reason why Americans dont like soccer is the overall wussyness of the sport. In football, hockey, and even baseball they have high impact plays where men are men. In soccer, they are not. The most gentle flick of an arm sends the other player to the ground crying for a foul. If FIFA are serious about mass appeal to America than they need to reset their rules to allow for more of a phyisical and overall less whinny game.
"Americans dont like soccer is the overall wussyness of the sport. In football, hockey, and even baseball they have high impact plays where men are men."
You mention baseball. People that play baseball aren't athletes. They are fat people who dip and can't play any other sport. Try getting their fat arses to run constantly for 90+ minutes a game. Then we'll see who cries. Even NFL people don't run constantly for that time. Talk about being men, watch cricket. Try to catch that ball coming at you 85 miles an hour with your bare hands. That's a man's sport. Baseball, please you use a glove. If someone "accidently" catches it bare hands, it's an instant Top 10 play on Sportscenter.
FIFA 06 IMHO was the best of the FIFA series. I really miss that game after I sold my Xbox. That was one game that I could play for 3-4 hours consecutively. It was awesome. Haven't really tried out FIFA 07, but the graphics do look incredible looking at the pictures.