Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | October 7, 2006

Fifa 07 Impressions

As with the Need for Speed series, I’m not an avid fan of this series. I was, up until FIFA 03… The year I discovered Pro Evo. I must say I’ve never turned back, I’m definitely what you would call a ‘Pro Evo man’ now. I had always felt in comparision to Pro Evo, FIFA never had the same sense of control, in fact, I would go as far to say I thought you never felt completely in control of the ball in FIFA games. But moving away from a rant about how I think past FIFA’s haven’t cut it in the gameplay department, there has been much talk these recent months about EA’s Fifa 07 and how they’ve completely re-written the game, boasting all new gameplay, or as I perceive it, a stab at trying to be as good as Pro Evo. Sorry to all those readers who are fans of the FIFA game, no more FIFA bashing (I promise).

The demo starts with one of the features which EA has been insistent will be integrated into all of their sports games. This feature lets you play a simple version of the full game while you navigate menus to set up your game. In this demo, your given a ball, half a pitch, and ronaldhino at your disposal to start with. You can choose to either mess around trying to score some goals past the keeper, or you can dive straight into the game. I was content to play around shooting at the goal keeper for quite a while actually. Seeing as you only have once player to control, all you can really do in this part of the demo is try out the dribbling system, and the shooting mechanisms. Also, you have the option to take a direct free kick from anywhere on the half-pitch you’re given. The free kicks were exceedingly easy to score, up to around 40 meters away, all you had to do was align the middle of the screen with the inside of your chosen post, power up to half way and it will go in nearly every time. The goals look good however, and it makes a very pleasant change over Pro Evo’s very difficult to master free kick system, however I must say I prefer it the hard way though, it makes you feel so much better when you do manage to score a free kick. How easy free kicks will be with a wall in the way remains to be seen.
After extensive free kick scoring, dribbling and lobbing the keeper, I decided to dive into a match. As soon as the match opened up (Barcelona VS Manchester UTD) I was disappointed. I’d gotten used to the close-behind-the-player view which was used in the ‘main menu’ which was much more enjoyable to play with. The camera was now very far out and it became difficult to see which direction the ball was travelling. I got past that and just got on with playing the game, but still, no matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to like it. Believe me I wanted to, I’m one of the only Pro Evo men in my social circle, the rest all play FIFA and I’ve read a number of articles about FIFA playtests at TGS/X06 saying that it was closer to playing like Pro Evo and that play felt more responsive. Now I’m a reasonable guy, but if the play had felt any LESS responsive than that, I wouldn’t have been able to play the whole half, as I was close enough to ending the demo early as it was. It was so difficult to retain possession of the ball, and there was no real control of your player and the ball. (Now I may suck, so again like my last article, someone let me know if it IS just me). If i didn’t mention it previously, i found the shooting mechanism very enjoyable in the one on one section… In a full game however, it was bloody awful, I don’t think I got a shot on target compared to 9 out of 10 earlier. I couldn’t understand it. Then i remembered the thing with FIFA’s – you do the same thing over and over for a goal and if you don’t do it that way, you don’t score. I obviously hadn’t found that WAY of scoring. Passing wasn’t great either, short passes exchanged between players were quick and snappy, but trying to get a string of passes of more than 10 meters together was a bitch, the players just didn’t kick it hard enough, no matter how long or hard i pressed the friggin’ A button. Through balls using the Y button never had enough power behind them either. I did notice that the way the controls were mapped a little better however. Switching players had now been more to the left trigger (a la Pro Evo) which was more intuitive for a Pro Evo man like myself. And in order to do chip or lobbed versions of shots or passes holding in the left trigger while pressing the respective button is required, again, like Pro Evo. Overall, i was very let down by the claims they had re-done the game engine from scratch, because it still doesn’t play well. To be honest, if the demo had just been the one on one mode with Ronaldhino, i would have come away with a much more positive impression. I for one, will not going anywhere near EA’s latest effort, as after exiting the demo, Pro Evo 5 promtly went back into my 360 tray. Or was it Saints Row…

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