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FIFA Soccer 2002

Review By:  Joe Rolfe

Developer:  EA
Publisher:  EA Sports
# of Players:  1-4
Genre:  Soccer
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  1-10-02

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.

If you’ve 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.

Highs:

  • Fantastic new passing system
  • Audio and visuals deliver once again
  • Game just feels tighter as whole

Lows:

  • A little skimpy on the play modes and options

Final Verdict:

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.

Overall Score: 8.8

Additional Images:

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