Fifa 2005 Review - Fifa 2005 Review

Sections

If this all sounds good in theory, then you’ll be pleased to know the reality lives up to the promise, since lag is minimal for those with a decent connection and while the less fortunate of us still using dial up will suffer against those with lower pings the game is far from unplayable. In sum, the experience is not a million miles away from the slick first person shooters which rule the online community, so that is high praise indeed.


As for the expanded management in FIFA 2005, it remains a mixed affair. The 15 year lifespan certainly lets you become more engrossed in proceedings but the cynic is me says EA deliberately dumbs down this aspect of the game so as not to negate sales of its Total Club Manager series. Given that there is now the ability to link up the two titles to harness action in a way not seen since Anco’s Player Manger incorporated the Kick Off engine, there may be some truth to this theory. As a result there are frustrations that really should not be there: you can only coach lower league teams in the beginning, there is no specific search function to find players with specific abilities and while you can prise a star player away from a club by offering more money, you cannot get anyone for less than their market value.


On a side note, why can’t the new Football Manager series (made by the old Championship Manager team) simply do a deal with Konami for the PES engine and let me die happy? But before I get carried away by this fantasy let’s get back to FIFA because it is important to point out that despite the landmarks in the 2005 edition these managerial shortcomings are not the only flaws.


For a start, the computer controlled teams seem so enamoured by the fluid movement and passing system that they will appear at times to play primarily to show it off. After all, when a computer controlled striker bursts clean through on goal only to float a beautiful but tactically nonsensical 30 yard ball out to the wing I have to raise an eyebrow. Also, the convoluted mathematical set pieces are largely untouched and they remain a love it or hate it feature. For me football is a game of touch and feel, where set pieces should be chaotic affairs with pushing and shoving. If I want elaborate power bars and curl metres they should be in golf games not before a last minute corner kick in a Cup Final. As I say, there are fans but I am not one of them.


I find the much heralded new FIFA ball physics also leave me cold as they continue to remind me more of a beach ball than a football. But then again, I have yet to have a single six all or 10-8 scoring game and despite endless attempts to find this edition’s particular guaranteed goal scoring method I have drawn a complete blank.


So how do all these pluses and minuses tally up? Without question, the developments are far more positive than negative. FIFA 2005 is a landmark in the series. All the superb aspects of the presentation remain; the amount of official licenses verges on the ridiculous; the track listing makes a far better compilation than any Now That’s What I Call Music CD; and finally the game play is a genuine rival to PES. Is it better I hear you ask? To be frank, not yet – but for the first time in a long while EA has a game which sells itself, and that is something those overworked hordes in marketing will be very glad to hear.


”’Verdict”’


Quite simply, the best FIFA game to date by a very large margin and it breathes new life into what was a stagnating series. Hardcore fans of PES are sure to find fault, but for the more open minded among us the football gaming landscape just got a whole lot more competitive.

Score