FIFA 06: Road to the World Cup

Xbox 360

Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 5

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


It was in 1998 that EA realized they could milk soccer fans twice per year. For those that complain about the Madden franchise and its once yearly release, they seem to have no idea how bad soccer fans have it. In the case of the Xbox 360, Road to the World Cup isn't only missing the World Cup, it's missing about every other possible feature too.

fifaroad1xbox360.jpg (95367 bytes)Borrowing the menu system from NBA Live (or possibly vise versa), fans can play a short offensive attack while the game loads. This is deeper than the menus which feature a depressingly small selection of modes. The actual Road to the World Cup is around 20 games at the most, and all that's left when that's complete are standard multi-player and custom leagues.

Everything the game has to offer can be found in a few days for a dedicated fan. Teams are missing, including the American MLS. While not necessarily appropriate for World Cup play, there's no reason for their deletion for multi-player purposes.

Actual gameplay on the field is fine, though by no means innovative or revolutionary. Gameplay is slower than you might expect, better capturing the feel of the game. The right analog stick performs a small variety of special moves with the ball, while the face buttons will get most of the work.

Controls are responsive and fluid. Then again, they have been for some time. Nothing has been done to update the gameplay for its first appearance on a new console. Meters still dictate how much power is given when passing or shooting. There's still limited control at best with the goal keepers. It doesn't necessarily feel like a simulation either. The limited number of techniques fail to create a deep enough atmosphere.

fifaroad2xbox360.jpg (153088 bytes)The only noticeable update on the 360 is the ability to sub and change various strategies without going into any sub menus or pausing the game. Again, it's borrowed from NBA Live. The d-pad lets you select which action to take and quickly.

FIFA's visuals are meager at best, especially with the jerseys. Players have small expressions to show off some emotion, and the faces are accurate. For whatever reason, the jerseys have an action figure like sheen over them. Their lack of movement doesn't help. Depth of field is also handled poorly. Commentary is active, accurate, and realistic. Eventually, it does hit a rut where the repetitiveness shows through.

Unless you're an insanely rabid fan of the sport, purchasing two soccer titles a year will seem a little crazy. With some extra time, EA pulled off a far better game in World Cup. The road getting there can hardly be considered in-depth.


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Last updated: Monday, July 17, 2006 02:28 PM