By: Joe Rolfe
Out of all of EA’s
long running sports series, FIFA soccer has been a franchise that
has been one of the most constant in comparison to other established
series like Triple Play and NBA Live. While we’re yet to see a
complete over haul to the legacy of games, developer EA Sports has
been adding new features and gameplay additions here and there, just
enough to satisfy the football/soccer purist. Luckily, the 2002
edition is no different in that FIFA soccer is still a fun,
harmonious game of soccer that is only hampered by a little lack of
polish and EA having to push for a near-launch release.
played any past FIFA extensively, then 2002 should be easy to get
into the flow of. The game offers a full season mode in an attempt
to guide your team into the World Cup tournament, although you won’t
be able to actually participate in the tourney until next year’s
game (FIFA 2003). Custom options for Tournament, Player and Team are
available as well. Playing in Qualification opens up Panini Covers,
bonuses that duplicate Madden Cards found in EA’s pigskin titles.
The controls in
FIFA are where the series has taken the biggest change this year.
Instead of simply driving balls with heat-seeking accuracy to
teammates directly, like the previous FIFAs allowed, 2002 employs a
spot-objective passing system. Passes instead are now guided to a
certain position on the field, depending on the power or spin you
put on the ball at the time. This is far more realistic and
challenging than before, as it makes the gamer time his through
passes and placement to a far greater extent than normally. One-two
passes are much easier to perform as well, with just the touch of
the yellow C-stick button in the direction of the desired teammate
you can quickly do a give-and-go.
FIFA 2002 is
not, however, all peaches and ice cream. If anything, EA Sports
could have used a little more time polishing this game. It just
doesn’t feel like the complete and total soccer package that will
satisfy even the most hardcore of footy nuts. Features omitted such
as a penalty kick mode (oddly found in the 2001 game, though), no
on-the-fly formation calls in game or even small things like a lack
of stadiums or weather details make FIFA 2002 often appear as a
slightly rush title.
On a higher note
though, FIFA 2002 still carries the tradition of looking and
sounding very tight. The visuals are, of course, some of the best
out there in sports today, featuring fantastic models and animation
along with nice weather detail and grass textures (although the
elements do hamper the frame rate a bit when applied). Aurally, the
British commentary tag-team of Watson and Gray deliver a respectable
performance. While by no means the new industry-standard, the
chitchat does its job of entertaining the gamer for a good amount of
time before the talking becomes bland and irritating. Otherwise,
crowd cheers, player jargon and even the Euro-dance music fit right
in. The presentation will not let down.
All in all, a
great first generation soccer game for GameCube fans.
new passing system
and visuals deliver once again
just feels tighter as whole
- A little
skimpy on the play modes and options
If you already
have the PS2 version, then don’t even give the GameCube edition a
second look. Otherwise, any intelligent GC soccer fan has no choice
to pick this one up, as it’s the only soccer game around. Good
thing FIFA 2002 is a solid one at that.