|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Zach||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Zach Timberton
If youre a soccer fanatic youre going to want to get your hands on FIFA Soccer 07. The improvements that I perceive as modest may be monumental to you. But youre still going to be disappointed with the fact that there is no online multi-player mode nor will you able to Card share a game with friends this year. Thats right every player will need his or her own copy of the game.
How EA has evolved the DS version of FIFA Soccer 07 is impressive, albeit not at an impressive pace. Theres nothing here that couldnt or shouldnt have been included in last years game. You cant directly compare this game to any of the console versions and EA was only too aware that they needed to exploit the DSs capabilities, to which end they created an entirely new version specifically for the dual screen handheld. The touch controls and dual screen are put to good use with the action taking place on the top screen and the bottom screen facilitating the touch controls for moves and menus. There is a circular display that works like a radar system to give you a larger field of vision and thusly a better perspective of where everyone is in relation to the ball and field. Using the stylus you can outline a path for each player to run. Its a very accurate system and really comes in handy when you want a player to make some sharp turns.
You can play a very tight offensive or defensive game, shifting between commands on the fly. The menus, and submenus, are easy to navigate despite the faster pace of the gameplay. The AI does a commendable job of holding down the fort, so to speak. Your teammates play a fair game as do the opponents, also controlled by the CPU. They will work with you during passes, following your lead. You can actually count on them. If anything, the opposing teams might be a little weak. Even on the highest difficulty setting you can virtually be assured a win as long as you have a good grasp of the controls which can take a few hours or days depending on your aptitude.
Pick your favorite team or create your own. There are more than 500 teams encompassing 27 different leagues. You cant trade, buy or sell players. Youre basically stuck with the pre-transfer roster which cant be updated. If that bothers you, just make up your own team and bring them into the Career mode. There is an art editor that will let you design and tweak the new teams logo to add a personal touch. Youll manage the team for five years but like the roster, theres not much that you can do in the way of buying, selling or trading to improve the team other than get them involved in some training exercises. To make things even more complex, youll have to maintain a certain standing or ranking to keep moving up the ladder. In the Tournament mode there are some 20 different cups and tournaments that you can partake in. The Challenge mode gives you a variety of mission-based games to complete, almost like youre jumping in the middle of a match where you have to overcome some crazy handicap. There is a multi-player mode but its not online and it requires that the other players all have their own copy of the game. Not a great selling feature.
Exclusive to the DS is the ability to create and play back your own team chant. Just chant some trash into the mic and it will be stored for immediate playback at the press of a button. I can already imagine at least two words youre going to want to use in the chant. There are numerous things to unlock including mini-games, tournaments, players and cups but these dont really qualify as new content. The game overall looks better, feels better, sounds better, and plays better but these are all just marginal upgrades to what was already a darn good game. There is more dialog than ever and when mixed in with some less specific calls that can be reused somewhat generically, there seems to be less repetition. The camera pans and zooms like a real televised broadcast. Although the more it zooms in the uglier the textures look. Due to the limited processing powers, there are only a handful of arenas available and even though they are all generic they are definitely passable with a good amount of detail. Even at that the crowds do tend to come alive and root convincingly for the home team.
There is definitely a lot to do in FIFA 07, considering the various modes and unlockables in addition to the exclusive DS features such as the draw-a-running-path, touch navigated menus and record-a-chant. Hopefully the next version will have an online mode and some major gameplay upgrades. Until then FIFa 07 will get you by, but you might find yourself reaching for FIFA 06 just for the convenience of playing with friends with just one copy of the game.
CCC Freelance Writer