360 Review: EA 2006 FIFA World Cup


I finally got around to playing EA’s latest soccer game last week. As everyone else gripes, there’s usually not too much updated between releases, but I tend to get excited anyway. My first complaint was the default controls. Sure, I’m the type of gamer that hates the default controls on most PC games, but it’s usually pretty hard to mess up the controls on a console sports game…

That said, whoever decided to put ‘slide tackle’ where the regular tackle button usually goes deserves to be smacked around. In my first game I had 4 guys sent off for bad tackles in the first half. I looked through the control settings a bit and came across ‘New Analog’ which was laid out perfect. Strange that the ‘new’ settings were basically what I’ve been using for the last 12+ years of EA soccer games. Whatever.

The control issues don’t even stop there. Even worse, is that when playing in challenge mode, which would otherwise be a lot of fun, I have to reconfigure my controls with EVERY SINGLE NEW CHALLENGE. Why? No really, why? I’ve already configured my controls as mentioned above in the main menu, but I still have to change it back to this every time I start a new challenge. This is ridiculous.

The other whining I’ll do is more to do with EA games in general than this particular title. Why on earth do I need to choose where I’m saving twice AND choose to overwrite existing each time? That’s 4 clicks every friggen time I finish a game. C’mon now, doesn’t anyone play test this stuff for usability and bugs for anything more than just in game? EA’s menu GUI has always left something to desire, but at this point, stupid saving is beyond forgivable. Why is it I can’t get a job cleaning out this exact crap from games? Game companies, as always feel free to contact me for help.

The game itself looked decent, and game play was fast. The AI is typically weak, but at least they move defensively in a slightly appropriate manner. On offense the AI tends to run 30 yards backwards if you get near them. On higher difficulty these actions are cleaned up a little, though still a bit strange. My favorite feature is the ‘through ball’, which works almost too well. You can get quite the EPL style game going with lots of broad crosses and crafty through balls.

After playing through one full set of World Cup qualifiers and the World Cup itself I have to say I enjoy the game. I’m going to keep playing through, choosing a different team from a different conference, and bumping up the difficulty each time. The 360 Achievements are setup for you to play lots of games, so luckily the game has good replay value for me.

I haven’t tried FIFA 07 or Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 yet, but I’m sure I’ll post my thoughts at a future date.


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