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FIFA World Cup 2002

EA Sports

EA Sports


1 - 4


The most popular sport in the world comes to Xbox. Go for the ultimate prize with EA's offering.

The game of soccer, or football as they call it everywhere else but the States, has been criticized in years past for its bleak and morbid play but has recently been redeemed by a new fresh look and a younger following. In recent years the video games featuring the sport have also followed suit and have become much more animated and fun to play. Sadly this year's rendition of FIFA World Cup comes with a price and cries out for more attention and effort from the developer.

A lot of people say that the appeal of a video game relies on the gameplay of the title but in reality the overall experience depends on both the gameplay and depth of the title. FIFA succeeds on one of these aspects; it's a great game to play. The soccer in the title features new aspects such as star players who exhibit specific skills in special ways when compared to the average "Joe". While this feature may not seem like much, in the end it adds a lot of enjoyment to the overall experience.

The controls of the game perform nicely overall, although (just as with the length of the game) they could have used a little more attention from the developer. All of the buttons on the controller are utilized nicely but the end feeling is a lack of intuitiveness and depth. You have one button that commands special moves and you have got absolutely no control as to what kind of move is performed, unlike in basketball games where special moves and used differently for specific situations. Thankfully some depth is found in the shot selection. You have the ability to add some spin to the ball as you shoot it towards the goal by pressing R to curve it to the right and L to curve it to the left. This makes for some wicked goals when executed properly.

The second aspect of video games that developers needed to pay attention to is depth. Sadly FIFA World Cup 2002 has only two modes of play. You've got your relatively short World Cup mode and a relatively uniform exhibition mode. Along with the ability to play with three buddies there isn't much else to do in the game. After you've conquered the World Cup mode you're basically done with the game unless you and some buddies want to fire up the game for some multiplayer action. There are a few teams that can be unlocked by winning the World Cup with different teams but that doesn't provide much solace to an otherwise bleak performance.

The graphics of the game pick up the slack a bit with very nice animations and player models. In this year's edition, EA Sports has added in a very cool sliding animation, which players use to keep the ball in bounds as it is teetering on the edge. Small little touches really help in the visual feel of the game.

While the game looks especially nice and clean, the framerate sadly stutters at every turn. As the screen zooms out you'll see players and fans start to glitch and slow to a crawl. Occasionally even with the standard game view the game will slow down if there is a large number of players on the screen and the action gets a bit heated. Thanks to the framerate issues in the game the fact becomes clear that EA made this game a simple port rather than the enhanced version that we were all hoping for.

The crowd graphics are done well enough although some close ups of fans' reactions could have spruced up the gameplay experience a bit. You'll see the appropriate flags of countries being waved throughout the stadium as well as some freakishly odd-looking dinosaur thingies (ported over from the PS2 no doubt).

The camera work in the game adds a very nice element to the game as FIFA 2002 sports a very active camera that zooms around the stadium to catch players' reactions at just the right moment. Say for instance a player has just missed an easy chance at a goal. The camera will swing around and zoom in on his face to catch the pain and agony that he is surely experiencing. All of this is of course done in realtime by the well-done graphics engine.

The audio effects in the game serve their purpose. All of the standard sound effects are in the game. Balls clanging off of the posts, the thud of a cleat colliding with the leather of the ball, and the friction of a player tackling another are all done very nicely in FIFA.

The announcers in the game hold true to form and perform adequately although they pale in comparison to the level of depth and intrigue that SEGA's sports titles bring to the table. Sometimes the commentators seem to be operating independently of one another and go long areas of time without even acknowledging the other's existence. Despite that one flaw the commentating is dead on and quite lively. It's cool to see how many different sayings they have for unique situations, of which there are many in the game of soccer.

The artificial intelligence in the game performs nicely although sometimes you wonder why the computer didn't pressure the ball a bit more. Sometimes you'll be dribbling down the field, void of any form of pressure from the computer controller players. There are four levels of difficulty which all vary nicely, adding a bit of much needed depth to the experience.

Overall the game is short - really short. There isn't much else to do after you've conquered the World Cup mode, which could take you an hour if you really work at it. While there are a few teams that can be unlocked by beating the game on different difficulty levels it really doesn't help extend the length of the game. You can really tell that the developers were grasping at straws when they added in some DVD-esque extras into the package. Thankfully they are all well-done and fun to watch.

Nate "GamerX" Ahearn
Football makes so much more sense than soccer.

FIFA World Cup 2002: The Scores













The Final Word:  FIFA World Cup looks good, plays good, lasts about as long as last night's Chocolate Mousse Cake. Sadly there isn't much there but what there is turns out to be really quite a fun ride. Rent this one and you'll be satisfied.

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