Of all the game modes, however, it is FIFA’s online options that continue to impress above all else. Gaming online is naturally slightly slower than in single-player, however it is predominantly smooth and in my time playing the game I’ve yet to experience any game crippling problems – which is amazing considering how flaky the office Internet connection can be.
Basic options include ranked and unranked one-off matches, which are great quick and easy ways for an online gaming fix. Moreover, in many respects playing online is far more entertaining due to the greater unpredictability of it all and the fact that defences aren’t nearly as steadfast. Another key component is the excellent stats tracking system, which records your wins and losses, streaks and all sorts of statistics besides. As with the main game, you also earn points for playing online that can be used for purchasing extra features such as shirts, boots and various other in-game paraphernalia.
As with most online games there’s a leaderboard to climb, which will be used to match you against similarly skilled opponents. For a more structured experienced you can also enter and create leagues, or choose to represent your favourite team online as part of an ongoing league table. These are all excellent features, making the online experience, on the Xbox 360 at least, among the best you can have in any sports title. This is joined by FIFA’s traditionally exhaustive customisation features, allowing you to create players, teams and so on to your heart’s content.
Taking the massive range of teams, game modes and online options into account, FIFA 08 is another well featured and deep addition of the series. There is a load to do and the game is backed up by some superb animation, graphics, and all the usual things we’ve come to expect from EA titles. Despite some complaints, it also plays an excellent game of football and were it not for those niggles and some underdeveloped features, FIFA 08 could have been all the better.
Though let down by some gameplay niggles and under-developed features, FIFA 08 is still an excellent and entertaining football game that has a little of something for everyone. It’s not quite the killer blow, but it’s another step in the right direction and if you’re already a FIFA devotee, you need not be embarrassed anymore.