FIFA Soccer


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Very few games show what the 3DO could do. Those few that do really don't hold up well today, usually filled with chunky FMV and pixilated polygons. Then you have "FIFA," a game that makes this console worth owning, regardless of what other consoles or soccer games you own. It's brilliant and still a blast to play, a game that every 3DO owner should have, almost without question.

Getting into the game can be a bit difficult, as the menu system is designed to look great, but not necessarily function well. Everything is done with video, sweeping players through a stadium as they get closer to actual gameplay. Load times and delays can be really annoying especially when you finally see what the game has to offer.

There are 49 international teams included and they can be taken through a variety of modes. Exhibition, league play, tournaments, and championship (i.e., quick tournament) modes give the game a decent life span, as if having the urge to go back and play it again eleven years later wasn't enough. Multiple players can enter into any of these gameplay modes.

The actual game is an upgraded version of the one that most people are familiar with on the 16-bit console. However, this is far more realistic, with a wider range of moves and strategy. You will not spend a lot of time trying to force the ball into the goal; you need to work to get in close. The speed has been increased a notch and the game simply has a better flow. It may feel a little more arcadey now that some of the newer games have hit the market, but for the hardware and the time, this is as good as it gets.

Obviously the marketing department had a field day (no pun intended) thanks to this graphics engine. If you remember EA's "Virtual Stadium" technique (which put sprite based players into a polygonal environment), you have a good idea of what to expect here. The players have far more detail and animation routines than they did on any other console. Just about any of the selectable camera angles are usable and it's going to come down to personal preference. The only slowdown occurs during a goal kick when the entire stadium and every player are in view. That's a lot to process. Making up for it are scoreboard animations, instant replays, and actual video highlights from the sports best moments.

The development studio won an award for "FIFA's" sound, and it's not hard to hear why. One of the early games to support Dolby Surround, the game does a flat out miraculous job of immersing the player inside the stadium. Though the lack of commentary may make things seem a bit sparse, once those crowd chants kick in, you're there. It's a sports game that simply must be experienced with the proper equipment to get the full effect. Even when they're not chanting, it's still a solid mix of on-field action and crowd mumbling.

Pretty much everything EA put out on the console is great, but "FIFA" is different. It's still one of the most immensely enjoyable sports games ever produced, dominating then and now. When the only real complaint is with the menu system, you know you've found a classic.


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Last updated: Sunday, March 20, 2005 08:43 AM