Another year passes another Fifa is released, but every 2 years you are rewarded with an enhanced Fifa game from that year for either The World Cup or The Euro Cup. This time it is time for World Cup 2002 (Korea/Japan) and if it’s as good as the World Cup 98 on the PC we are in for a real treat indeed.
First thing you notice when you load up your Xbox is the intro video which graces each Fifa title.
This one has a variety of instruments blazing away in the background. A very majestic affair to say the least. Trumpets, strings and drums set the feel for what is to come in the game.
The game menu is very easy to navigate with your controller and you can now enjoy Bonus Materials (making use of the extra space on the DVD) which include comments from John Motson, comments from fans around the world and the making of the game.
You are offered the usual skill settings, beginner, amateur, professional etc and all are helpful in improving your game. I for one started on Amateur and quickly grasping the controls to master the higher levels of the game. So lets get down to the game factors.
The control system depends heavily on your reactions, power settings and all round visibility of what’s going off. Just like Fifa 2002 on other platforms you control the speed of each pass, cross or shot at goal. This will take some mastering and if you have had Fifa 2002 before this game you will have a distinct advantage. The passing and crossing and especially players controlling the ball in mid air is quite exceptional. Beautifully woven together to create a fluid football sensation. A nice notable extra is when you are close to loosing the ball off the sidelines you can press a button and the player makes a successful or less than successful attempt to keep it in play. Headers seem a lot harder to master on this one, especially if you are working from a cross in the box or a corner. Timing is essential, press to early and your opponent pushes you out of the way and retrieves the ball, press to late and you can fall over your self, press just right but not enough power can leave you frustrated as you watch the ball crawl to the keeper followed by John Motson ripping you apart for the lame shot.
The graphics are a true testament to the Xbox. Although not a Halo where you find yourself staring at objects and admiring their beauty, but rather the animations and the scale, the vast size of the stadiums and the faces all add to the admiration of this game, but slight flaws in the players mouths means that you can see through the mouth and through the cheek. Playing as England it was very easy to tell one player from the next, and of course Scholes was very visible with his bright ginger hair. The player shadows are perfect real-time shadows not some silly pointy representations. The grass is a little dull, could have done with some higher textures but maybe I am being too picky.
So now it is time to start your World Cup Campaign, and in true World Cup style you enter the amazing stadiums with the crowd cheering, streamers flying and confetti sprinkling in the air. Even the night games have a small laser picture on the pitch that rotates around for awhile. Also as playing you will notice around the pitch the mascots, the press and your coach shouting instructions to you. One regret you will notice as you watch the intro cut scenes to the game is the lack of the National Anthems. I would have liked this to get you even deeper into your own national pride of the game.
The commentary provided by John Motson and Andy Gray remains true to the other Fifa games. Varied and sometimes annoying. Andy will present World Cup facts as you are playing your match, if you are taking notice you can then be cut off by Motty saying “What a great save”. not exactly earth shattering commentary, but hey it is still good and I’ve heard much worse. If you are lucky enough to hear the full World Cup fact from Andy, you can then enjoy the same fact over and over again. By 2 weeks of playing this game you could enter a pub quiz brimming with useless knowledge about the World Cup and the players in it. Hopefully next World Cup will leave the facts out of the game so you can do what your supposed to do, which is of course to play football.
There is not more really to say about this game. The Xbox has done it’s job proudly and now has it’s first Fifa game on its list. May there be many more to follow.
Fifa 2002 World Cup for Xbox is the one of the best football games around. If you want to soak up the atmosphere for the World Cup, this is the game for you!