|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: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Visually, EA soccer has never looked better. Theyve implemented a new animation system that has improved on the fluidity of the game and the way players interact with one another. While in-game animations are improved, they wont drop the jaws of anyone familiar with the series. There are new animations of players celebrating a goal, complaining to the ref, becoming injured, and other incidents to give FIFA 09 an updated feel.
Still, this game is far too familiar to other FIFA games in the past. The menus look great as always, yet are completely unchanged. End-of-the- half replays look exactly the same as they have for years, with the same slow-motion montage of highlights from usual camera angles. Stadiums look pretty much the same as they have in recent years, with bright-lit fields and massive crowds that are blurred in the background. Ambience of the cheering spectators captures the atmosphere of a soccer match, though all sound effects are completely the same as they have been in the past. Player models are also seemingly identical to recent installments, with some athletes who look nothing like their actual self. Shadows on shorts and jerseys gives athletes a realistic appearance, especially on replays, as clothing has the illusion of flapping in the air and moving around. While EA has seemingly perfected their soccer simulation on the PSP and have changed some gameplay elements for the better in 09, visuals and other elements offer little reason to believe their latest installment is at all fresh.
The commentating is typical of past games, sounding much like a live soccer broadcast with a little too much repetition. The soundtrack is filled with enough Brit-pop and Euro dance music to make me want to turn off most of the songs in my playlist (the option is nice), obviously intended to appeal more to gamers on the other side of the pond.
For the football fanatic and the casual sports gamer, FIFA Soccer 09 continues the tradition of offering a great handheld experience on the PSP. It may very well be their best offering to date, and while less enthusiastic fans of the sport may not feel the need to update their yearly collection, if there is one PSP soccer title to purchase, this is it.
CCC Freelance Writer