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FIFA 06 PlayStation 2

Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

FIFA 06, an introduction.

The game industry's build up to Christmas just wouldn't be the same without the annual FIFA game. Beginning with FIFA International Soccer back in 1994, the series has steadily grown more and more popular. For years now it's easily been the most popular football game and what started out as a game with a few International teams (with fictional players) has become a game that has more official teams than any other football game to date. In terms of content there is an enormous gulf between FIFA 06 and its nearest rival. Of course content is only half of the story though and gamers demand a game that plays like the real thing. Will FIFA 06 be the best in this respect?

What's the game about?

FIFA 06 contains a Tournament mode, Create Tournament mode, Practice mode, an Online mode, a quick game mode called Kick Off (essentially an exhibition mode) and a Manager mode as well as a FIFA 06 Lounge mode. You also have an EA Sports Retro mode which allows you to play FIFA International Soccer, which is great for all those retro gamers out there.

What's good about the game?

As always with the FIFA series its strongest feature is the amount of official teams there are in the game. With over 21 leagues and 10,000 players FIFA 06 is easily the most comprehensive football title to date in terms of the amount of content it provides. With no Total Club Manager game on the consoles this year, EA have included a Manager mode for you to play out a 15 year manager career. It's certainly not a major inclusion but those who like a long term challenge will appreciate it. The FIFA 06 lounge mode allows up to 8 players to play offline with the results being recorded and leaderboards being kept. Of course you may want to experience the first FIFA game in the series and if you do you'll be able to enjoy FIFA International Soccer which even after all this time, is still fairly enjoyable. In terms of new controls you can now make tactical decisions using the directional pad as well as perform skill moves with the right analogue stick. Unlike past FIFA games the skill moves are less spectacular but more realistic. You can also choose an alternate control scheme, which is the same as the one found in the Pro Evolution Soccer games.

What's not so good about the game?

When all is said and done FIFA 06 still sees the series lag behind the Pro Evolution Soccer series with regards to how it plays a game of football. That's not saying it's not enjoyable, because it certainly can be, but player animations are not as fluid as they should be and the flow of the game just don't feel realistic enough. You still have the feeling that the ball is attached to the player rather than being a separate entity at times and there's still a perceivable lag between pressing a button and an action being performed from time to time. During a game in the Manager mode I've also seen some rather strange things such as watching a game in the Visual Sim mode and when I've been winning 1-0 I've decided to take control of my team and play the rest of the game. With no goals being scored it's been rather strange to see my team lose 2-1. The opponents pulled 2 goals from thin air, which is rather annoying to say the least.

How does it look?

Graphically it's fair to say that the limits were reached for the PlayStation 2 a couple of FIFA games ago. The last few versions haven't seen the game improve all that much and FIFA 06 looks pretty much the same as last year's version. The game suffers from slowdown which takes the shine off the game a little. The stadia and player models both look good (although up close the players look a little rough) as do player appearances, although only the more famous players are recognisable.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

FIFA 06, like other sports games, will give deaf gamers no problems at all. As usual the match commentary isn't subtitled. The introduction to the game isn't subtitled either and you'll also find no subtitles for the 'FIFA flashback' comments when the game first loads up. None of these omissions offer any cause for concern. It is a shame that the tutorials that highlight the new control features aren’t subtitled. You do see an onscreen controller that highlights what buttons are being pressed, but it still would have been preferable to have had the speech subtitled. In every other respect the game is fine for deaf gamers.

Final thoughts.

FIFA 06 throws in some new features and a few new modes but overall its feels very similar to last year's FIFA Football 2005. The Manager mode will compensate those who were enjoying the Football Fusion feature from the last couple of years (that was possible if you owned both the 2004 and 2005 versions of Total Club Manager and FIFA). The presentation of the game is once again first class and the amount of official teams in the game is amazing. Features and gloss aside though, in terms of how well the game plays it's still second best to the Pro Evolution Soccer series (some may find FIFA 06 more accessible though) but nevertheless it is still enjoyable and every football fan should have both games in their collection.

 

Overall Game Rating: 7.9/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:


(Click the letter or here for details)

In many ways FIFA 06 is as comprehensive a football game as you could hope for. However, when it comes to simulating a game of football, the series is still some way behind the Pro Evolution Soccer series.