FIFA 07 Review (Xbox360)

Another year, another Fifa, with new players and new statistics. The question I find myself asking every year is, how could they possibly continue to improve it? The Fifa series is considered to be one of, if not the finest, football video games, it has been re-fined over the years to what could be considered, football perfection. A lot of sports games currently released on the Xbox 360 have simply been ports of their previous-gen counterparts. While this might not have been such a bad thing in Fifa's case, it appears that EA were determined to start from scratch for the Xbox 360, improving not only the graphics, but the fundamentals of the gameplay as well.

If he wasn't animated he would be getting stage fright right nowThe Grass looks nice

For any good sports games, the key to success is the realism. EA have as usual put a lot of  effort into making Fifa 07 as realistic as possible. The main thing you are going to notice is the major improvement of the graphics over its previous-gen counterparts. To be quite frank, Fifa 07 looks fantastic, it looks how we would expect every good next-gen sports game to look. The player animations are some of the best, and most detailed I have ever seen, although it is let down a little by sometimes blunt, dull faces. The pitches also look very detailed, even the crowd has more detail than I would usually expect to see in a sports game. The lighting effects are superb, as are instantly noticeable on any of the beautiful flood lit pitches.

The tunes blasted out by the game are pretty standard of any EA sports game, new age pop music. Whether you like it or not is simply a matter of personal preference. The sound effects are crisp and up to scratch as well, each dull thud of the ball produces a pretty impressive noise. The background commentary is not over-bearing, which is usually one of many common faults of a sports game. Instead, the commentary can occasionally be quite interesting, pointing out faults in your gameplay which you might have been too busy to notice. The only thing which really lets the sound down is the crowd. I might be nit picking, but I feel the sounds produced by the crowd are all to similar and predictable, it starts to get on your nerves after half an hour, and doesn't improve after that.

Another feature which adds to the general realism of the game is the energy levels of your players. Sprinting with your players, you will quickly notice that it is not only affecting the performance of that player but also the performance of the entire team. This adds a large sense of realism to the game, often forcing you to play the game more as a team, to share out the team's energy levels.

I found that I ran into a lot of problems with the intelligence in the game. Simple through-balls and passes are much harder to get to their targets than they have been in previous instalments, and the probability of your shot being intercepted is a lot higher. I have noticed that goals are also a little harder, more specifically the cross goals are very hard to score in the game. The difficulty of scoring a goal in this method, is a real disappointment, as I for one always preferred this method in previous Fifa games.

The game has some, questionable contentThey always keep their eyes on the ball

The in-game physics have also seen a major improvement since the last games, the way the players move and receive the ball is as realistic as I have ever seen it. Players change direction, and side step the opposition very smoothly. The control system also feels so much more real, the way you tackle a player feels more physical than it has in any of the previous versions. Another new feature I liked is the loading screen, we can all safely say we hate loading screens, usually consisting of a simple bar. EA have spruced up the loading scenes quite a bit. While the game is loading you get the option to play around with a player and score some goals against a goalie. Not only does this provide something entertaining to do while the game goes through its necessary game processes, it also means that new players get the chance to play around with the controls, getting a real feel for the game.

Another nice feature is the team management, where you can customize the team, improving certain attributes. While it hardly adds much realism to the game, it is actually surprisingly fun to manage your own team in an rpg environment.

There are a whole bunch of leagues available to play in, I am not going to state all of them because there are too many, but it is basically all the ones you would expect. What surprised me though was how few teams were present, compared to its other console counterparts. There are a good few hundred less teams, which is a significant disappointment, and also presents a mystery as to why they would not include them.  

It is exceptionally easy for a beginner to get into this game. I confess to not reading the manual and diving straight in, and I was fully in the swing of things by the first five minutes. The controls are exactly where you would expect them to be, so it does not take long to pick up. It is one of those games which can be picked up and played, without having to get too deeply into it. Subsequently, the game also has a fair bit of life in it, enough to keep you occupied until the next release at any rate. I was not too fond of the menu
system, while a lot of effort had gone into designing it so it looked good, the same amount had obviously not been put into making it user friendly.

Look in the sky, its superman, oh, no waitThe 360 allows for better hair cuts

There is no doubt Fifa 07 is another solid release in the Fifa series. If you are a fan of football, you will enjoy this game. It features everything that was great about all the old Fifa games, but includes new and improved graphics, as well as a better physics system, which improves the gameplay to a considerable degree. It is however let down by sometimes poor AI and some bad sound emitting from the crowds. By re-building the game from scratch for the 360 platform, EA have managed to include some fun extra features, but also left out some enjoyable ones.

Top Game Moment: This one was an easy choice, the part where you can score some goals while waiting for the game to load is really unique and makes it so much more enjoyable.

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