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2006 FIFA World Cup

Perfect timing! The World Cup kicks off, and so can you, in your own living room with EA`s 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Read time 3min 50sec

It`s finally here - the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. It`s been four long years for many of us, waiting patiently, following our respective teams through their qualification stages, dreaming of seeing our country`s name among the other 31 hopefuls.

<B>Spec sheet</B>

[SidebarPicture]Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: EA Sports
Type: Sports/arcade
Platform: PS2
Supplied by: EA Sports
RRP:R362

The real thing evokes emotions unlike any others; it stirs the hearts of billions of people worldwide. Everywhere on this planet, kids are kicking a ball about. But you`re not likely to see an 88th solo run from midfield finished off by a wonder strike in the top-left corner by Sheva to give Ukraine its first World Cup, in its first appearance! Or are you?

The PS2 makes it all possible with EA`s 2006 FIFA World Cup. This game came at the best possible time, when World Cup craze is hitting everybody from young to old.

I never expected this to be a great game, considering FIFA`s previous offerings never got the dynamics right, and lacked the "feel" of a real football match.

This time, FIFA got it pretty much as real as technology allows (it can`t exactly put us in the match - yet!). The players move about the pitch like real players do, the defence makes mistakes with the offside trap, the tackle is sometimes a millisecond too late, that crucial through pass makes it in just the nick of time for the striker to clip the ball and change its direction towards the open net.

It is a joy to play, although not as much as its competitor from Konami, PES5. The graphics appear, well, outdated, but that is due to this game being a PS2 title. This console is becoming obsolete.

I`m sure the PC version will look much better. The graphics, however, don`t take away from the experience: the World Cup emotions are well put together, from the music, the player animations, the TV-style replays and the commentators. And of course, with the noise the fans make, I kept turning the volume up, basking in the fans` emotions.

This is a World Cup game, which means no club level competitions, no leagues, nothing but internationals - of which it has many. The nice thing is, the team goes through the whole qualification stage, exactly as it is done in real life.

Also, this isn`t a managerial game, so your options are limited to choosing the formation, the kick takers, the captain and the rest of your squad. That`s it, and it`s enough, because this is supposed to be an arcade football game where you sit down and win the World Cup. Manager games are in a different genre.

The soundtrack is great and thankfully doesn`t get too old after a day`s playing like previous FIFA games do. It caters for everybody`s tastes with the wide array of musical genres.

2006 FIFA World Cup features the 12 official stadiums used in Germany as well as extra stadiums from each of the qualification zones, such as UEFA, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.

Realism in this game also shines in the faces of famous players, such as Pauleta, Terry, Ballack and Toni. They look as much like as their real selves as is possible. Apart from the Road to Germany mode, players can also undertake the Global Challenge, which sees them reviving classic matches in World Cup history.

2006 FIFA World Cup also features a typical arcade-style points system, building more points the better the team plays, the more goals scored, the less concessions, the better the teams beaten and so on. These points can be used to unlock things such as boots, balls, and classic players like Beckenbauer, Rossi and Cruyff.

I found winning most points possible quite exciting, and a good target to have, but spending them was quite useless. What`s the difference between a yellow ball, and a blue ball? It is still a football.

Apart from an annoyingly inconsistent frame rate, this is a great game to support a hopefully great World Cup.

I rate it 7.5/10.

See also