FIFA Soccer 09 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PSP | DS
FIFA Soccer 09 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Canada 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: EA Sports 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 14, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4, 2-20 Online 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The new online features in 09 include the Adidas Live Season and BAP: Online Team Play. The Adidas Live Season feature, similar to NBA Live 09’s Dynamic DNA, allows you to update real-world player form. However, unlike Dynamic DNA, the service updates weekly rather than daily and is available only for an additional fee. Having to pay for current player form is discouraging. Nevertheless, gamers can update player form from any or all of the following leagues: English Premier League, French Ligue 1, German Bundes Liga, Mexican Primera, Spanish La Liga, and Italian Serie A.

FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot

BAP: Online Team play is a neat mode of play, though it suffers greatly from selfish ball hogs. Players can hop online and join a match with 19 other people. These ten Vs. ten matches are cool because you get to see a lot of great tactics being employed off the ball; human players are constantly making great runs. Regrettably, there are always a few players who decide they’re better than everyone else and hold on to the ball too much and waste these brilliant moves. As a result, BAP plays a lot like Be A Pro except you have absolutely no control over how the ball should be moved or when it should be shot. Also, because the game has to match 20 people together, lobby waits are long and you may experience some lag if enough people have poor connections. Nevertheless, there are always people participating, so it’s easy to find a game. And, getting friendly with locals and demonstrating your ability may allow you to join a virtual club (much like clans in shooters) to vie for the top spot among the FIFA faithful.

The visuals are amazingly crisp. The stadiums, players, animations, the pitch, signage, etc. all look fantastic. It is extremely easy to get lost in this beautiful title. The only jarring aspects are the pixelated crowds and the often inaccurate look of key players that have yet to get the fully realized facial tuning. Case in point: Marcos Senna of Villarreal. Heck, the entire squad at Villarreal is woefully depicted.

The sights and sounds of the game are of very high quality. Andy Gray does an excellent job of color commentating, Martin Tyler complements Gray’s insight well, and the crowd noise is spot on. Unfortunately, the selection of global pop, usually such a standout feature of FIFA titles, seems to be less dynamic. Don’t get me wrong, the list of titles is varied, but it seems that the selection is far too difficult on Yankee ears. In fact, localization seems to be a problem throughout the title. The folks at EA Canada have simply made one UK-centric English edition of the game and haven’t bothered to tweak the song lists or spelling for the unshackled and unkempt colonials.

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As is usually the case, FIFA 09 is yet another sterling entry in their line of footie titles. Tweaks to gameplay and the silky smooth HD visuals do make for the most convincing offering yet. Nevertheless, the old mantra still applies: There aren’t enough new features to make this game substantially different from last year’s effort. If one were to apply transitive logic, it would mean this year’s title is essentially the same as that from two years ago. Thankfully, transitive logic doesn’t exactly hold, as the cumulative effect of the minor gameplay tweaks does result in a more refined experience. If you haven’t played FIFA in a while, now’s the time to jump back in; this is a great game of soccer. But, if you’re an old hat to the series, the most compelling reason to purchase FIFA 09 may only be the roster update.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.6
Graphics
The “Beautiful Game” lives up to its moniker in EA’s title. Only the pixelated crowds and frequent unrealized player likenesses hold it back from perfection.
4.3
Control
The many gameplay tweaks have resulted in very user-friendly controls.
4.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sounds of the game, crowd, and commentary are spot on, but the music selection is a little too global for a Yank’s liking.
4.5
Play Value
If you’re looking for a quality game of virtual soccer on consoles, FIFA’s your best bet. The varied online modes and tremendous licensed support is tough to beat.
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Polished, refined gameplay: Featuring 250 additions and enhancements to core gameplay, including new animation technology that creates more responsive first-time shooting and passing, faster and more controlled dribbling, and improved trapping, and new player momentum physics that delivers realistic player collisions, authentic jostling for the ball, and more variation in tackling.
  • Custom Team Tactics: Become a first-team coach with the power to tune and balance 11 tactical sliders for 140 attacking and 40 defending options (more than 50,000 combinations) so CPU players and your team perform just like the real-world team or how you think the real team should play. Save your tactics to make strategic decisions to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses during the game. Plus, share your strategies with friends online.
  • Be A Pro: Seasons: Pick or create a professional player and test your football ability over a four season campaign. Master a single position and develop your skills -- passing, shooting, positioning, marking -- to ultimately become a national legend.
  • Improved Goalkeeper Intelligence: Goalkeepers position themselves more intelligently, react to shots more realistically and recover from saves faster.
  • Customized Controllers: Create your own bespoke controller configuration, save it and even take it online effortlessly. Assign actions to the buttons exactly how you like them for complete control.


  • Screenshots / Images
    FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge FIFA Soccer 09 screenshot - click to enlarge

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