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This is Football 2005 PlayStation 2

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by London Studio
Release Date: Out Now
Price : £39.99

The This is Football series has become a regular feature on the PlayStation 2's annual release schedule. Whilst it's all too easy to look no further than the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer series when it comes to football games, they are not to everyone's tastes. The last couple of This is Football games that we've looked at have been good football games that have offered a bucket load of features to keep you busy. This is Football 2005 continues that trend and improves on the previous games although it still needs work on some areas of the game.

First of all let's take a look at the game modes that are on offer. There's an Exhibition Match, Competitions and online play. The Competitions mode allows you to play cup (7 international and Time Warp cups are on offer), league (custom or Time Warp), season (31 domestic leagues from 23 nations are on offer and a full transfer market is on offer so you can add to your team if you want to), career and challenge modes. The career mode allows you to work your way up from the school team football to professional football. You'll be able to customise your team, kit and player appearances (the game evens supports the EyeToy camera so you can put yourself in if you want to). Challenge mode allows you to play one match and then you'll be rated on your performance. You can then enter your score on the This is Football 2005 website to see how you compare with other gamers. Online play (you can have up to 4 vs. 4 matches) makes a return and it gives you the opportunity to take on other gamers from around the world should you tire of the AI or beating your friends.

What kind of a game does it play then? Well it's essentially an arcade interpretation of football and whilst most things seem OK there's nothing spectacular about how the game plays. The ball physics definitely seem a little off and the player AI does not seem as sophisticated as in PES 4. The keeper AI is good though and they behave fairly realistically and make good saves whilst not being impossible to beat. I like the way London Studio have included colour-coded pointers to indicate where your teammates and opponents are (that are outside of your vision) and it works really well. You'll notice with fouls that the referee doesn't give a foul straight away and play will continue for about a second or so before the decision is made. Even with these complaints taken into account though it's not a bad experience by any means.

Graphically TiF 2005 is OK but it's not up to the standard of it's rivals. Player likeness are a real mixed bag and whilst some are fairly accurate others look nothing like the players they are supposed to represent. Frame rate does suffer the odd dip but it never causes any problems although it's unfortunate that it does do this. The many stadia in the game look good and even the school league matches have those goals where the net simply hangs off the crossbar rather than being suspended by a support. I did find it odd that some of the school children had full beards though. The presentation of the game as a whole is impressive with clean and uncluttered menus making navigation easy.

This is Football is a bit of an odd mix really. It has the features of a game that has been created for even the most demanding football fan and yet it's game play feels more suited to a casual gamer who doesn't want to spend hours learning the undocumented techniques of Pro Evolution Soccer 4. As with all sports games the only thing that deaf gamers miss out on is the match commentary and it's no real loss and certainly won't spoil your enjoyment of the game. The game does feel better than last years version, but it's arguably the third best football game on the PlayStation 2 although some will prefer it to FIFA as it's relies on less gimmicky moves to get the job done. If you can forgive the imperfections with the game play (and there's nothing here that isn't forgivable) then you will get a lot out of the game and the career mode alone will keep you busy for months.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
The amount of teams you can choose from and the game modes you can play are impressive but once again the quality of the footballing action falls short. Still if you can live with the game's faults you'll be impressed with what the game offers.

Deaf Gamers comment:
Match commentary is not subtitled but otherwise it's fine.