EA Sports wants you to ‘Bend it Like Beckham‘…
The guys over at EA Sports have already impressed us with Madden 10. Can they repeat the same with FIFA? They’re promising full international teams and players, groovy control methods and lush graphics. But how much does the game really deliver (if at all)?
Here we see EA’s familiar gray / semi-transparent buttons / virtual joystick and buttons. This time though, it’s nice to see EA bump up the menu a bit. It’s not so plain. You get a very nice background, and a 3D soccer ball you can move around in the menu. I think soccer fans will appreciate the fact that FIFA has a quite extensive list of teams and full team rosters.
Keeping in mind I’m on a iPodTouch2G, I’d say the graphics are pretty darn good, which I must give EA props to considering how fast moving a soccer game is. And most importantly, no lag. A nice touch I was surprised to find are “statistics” at half time and at the end of the game. This is something I remember seeing in EA’s console version of Madden and such games. It shows you what percentage of the time the ball was on either team’s side, or the middle. It also zooms you into the net, and shows you the direction of the kicks. I thought this was a really cool, nice touch to the game that makes it stand out.
One thing I found FIFA had different was more complete control over the gameplay. Yet, keeps it with two buttons and a d-pad. So how are the controls? Not bad, but a bit disappointing. You have a 8-way d-pad you move. You can push the joystick to the edge to sprint. This is whats dissapointing. The joystick is stuck in place, unlike “the competition”. The main problem with this is that your thumb goes off it often. Which was really frustrating since it sometimes happens right when I’m about to try to score a goal.
Apart from that though, the rest of the controls are pretty solid. You can press “A” to pass, or press and hold it to make a more powerful pass. “B” is to shoot, and like pass, press and hold for a stronger shot. Though keep in mind, too strong and it’ll go over. For defense, you can press “A” for tackle, or press and hold it to pressure the opponent. Press “B” to switch players, or hold it to call for 2nd defender. So what makes the controls different? Sliding your finger from one of the buttons to the other for a different action. What’s so great about it? It gives you more control, since you can have single tapping, multi-tap, and press and hold as an action, and have this as a whole other option. For example, when on defense, you can tap A and slide your finger to B to do a slide tackle.
When it comes to penalty shots (whether you’re playing as the goalie, or as the player trying to score), IMO these are the most iPhone like controls of the game. You move the icon (whether hands for the goalie or the soccer ball) and drag it within the square. For the goalie, you must move it to where you think the ball will go (either bottom left or upper left, etc.). For the player, you must move the soccer ball icon to where you want it to go then tap it.
Well, it’s a soccer game… do you need me to explain it? Alright I’ll explain the basics of this odd sport. Feet only, move / run to the opponent’s goalpost and score a goal past the goalie. Sounds simple but it’s very hard. Oh and don’t get too physical with the players or the referee will be on your tail. I have to give it to them, EA brought a very realistic FIFA experience to iPhone. This is a complete game of FIFA on your iPhone!
FIFA comes with a quick play mode, which is a useful for when you first start playing the game and still need to get the hang of the controls / sport. Aside from that there are other game modes for you to play with. There’s “Manager Mode”. In Manage Mode you play as the manager (surprised? ) and it’s similar to season mode. As a manager you have certain goals to meet, you must play games, and manage the team. Next up is “Tournament” mode. Tournament mode is sort of like the World Series in baseball. You choose what cup you want to try to win and what team.
“Be A Pro” mode which allows you to create your own player to play with! And training and penalty shootout mode. Those two are good for practicing before playing a important game or before playing your friends. And yes, what you read is correct. You can play with your friends on the same local network.
Pros and Cons
Though currently the most complete soccer experience on the AppStore, it’s not perfect. I noticed lots of bugs, like every so often during a replay you’ll notice a bit of lag. Though it auto-saves your progress when you quit, when you come back to resume it sometimes it’s a pain to get back, and sometimes you just have to start all over. Honestly, it’s not something that happens a lot, but it can be annoying when it happens.
Pros though, it’s a great realistic soccer experience with thought out controls that will please all soccer fans.
In conclusion it’s a mixed bag. Like I said above, though the most realistic and well done soccer game I’ve played on iPhone so far, the bugs sort of turn me off. I personally am not a soccer fan, so I would go for something cheaper and not as good. However if you’re a soccer fan, or a fan of the FIFA franchise, FIFA is definitely for you. So think about it before you choose FIFA or any other .