2002 FIFA World Cup
Windows - 2002
Description of 2002 FIFA World Cup
You might be forgiven for believing that recent revelations about England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's private life would hold the key to the nation's success or failure in the greatest football tournament in the universe, whereas we all know that the real deciding factor is whether we can replicate England's 5-1 thrashing of the Germans in EA's latest PC soccer extravaganza.
EA has for years dominated the sports end of the PC and console market and so sure are the folks there that this is going to be a mammoth hit, they've released it in no less than five formats (sorry Dreamcast fans - nothing for you, though). But every time they trot out another FIFA footie game, they always have to face the persistent vital questions - what's new from before, how authentic is it and is it fun to play?
Well, the first impression you receive from the opening animation sequence is of colour, action and excitement - in other words, the essential elements that make the World Cup such a compulsive viewing experience. Cameras swoop across a packed Japanese stadium filled with flash cards, flash bulbs, streamers, giant flags and giant balloon figures as the players take to the field and the crowd roars on their approval.
To add to the sense of occasion, there's an additional bonus section that contains a number of filmed reports that provide some in-depth background to the event. Interviews are included with people from different nations expressing their passion for the game (typical quote: "A Brazilian who doesn't like football isn't a Brazilian") and what it means to be a supporter of their nation's team. Further discussions cover the impact of the tournament on Japan and Korea, a documentary on creating the original score for the game as well as an examination of the varied playing styles of the countries in the finals. A Highlights Reel also provides a whistle-stop tour through the game's graphics and camera angles to give you a flavour of what's in store.
The depth of the game is reflected in the large number of settings that can be altered both before and during each match. Match duration can last anything from 2 minutes to 45 and, during that time, bookings, offsides, injuries and fatigue can be switched on or off. Even the strictness of the referee can be controlled (i.e. random or defined) as well as the difficulty, game speed, player names and score display.
All 20 stadiums are lovingly recreated, giving you a preview of the breathtaking construction that's gone into making this World Cup a truly memorable experience. Matches can be played under floodlights or normal daytime conditions (although there are no weather variations) and team statistics flash up before the start of play and the usual match facts at the end of each half (corners, fouls, attempts on goal, bookings, possession, etc.).
The decision was obviously made at an early stage to recreate the television style coverage of each match, complete with commentary from the ever reliable John Motson and Andy Gray. There are no fewer than 8 camera positions ranging from End to End, through Tower, Sideline and Swing to Panoramic, plus a replay facility to watch the last piece of action.
Player modelling for once accurately reflects the true features of their real counterparts, though wisely EA opted for Beckham's Number One haircut over his most recent bohemian look. The commentary, too, has been made to match the players so you don't just get vague, "Oh how could he have missed that?" observations, but direct reference to the player who's been yellow carded.
Movement on the pitch has clearly been tweaked as well, as the actions seem smooth, including swivelling on the spot, feinting left and right and especially performing trick shots and bicycle kicks, etc. Close-ups have been included of outrage, pain or elation -- depending on the preceding incident -- and are more elaborate than just holding their head or grinning.
In the gameplay, two new elements have been introduced - Star Players and Air Play. The reasoning behind Star Players is that some truly exceptional footballers like Owen, Beckham, Figo or Carlos are especially gifted at shooting, bending the ball or weaving round the opposition and this is reflected in their actions. So moving into sprint mode with Owen on the edge of the area almost guarantees that he'll be in the perfect spot to slide home a winner. Broken up into four categories -- pace, power, passing and free kicks -- it allows each team to pull out that extra bit of magic just when it's needed. Or, of course, you can switch that ability off if you feel threatened!
Air Play is a refinement of the AI so that when the ball reaches a player from air, you decide how much power and direction to give to the ball and the AI decides whether to opt for a header, volley or overhead kick depending on which area of the body the ball is likely to strike. This can take some controlling, as frequently you can find yourself hoofing the ball well up into the stands rather than aiming goalwards. Similarly with free kicks it takes considerable practice to judge the right amount of pace and swerve to put on the ball. When it does go to plan, though, it can produce some spectacular results and is much better than the old system where you needed to press several buttons to perform a simple header.
Team management, as expected, plays an important role albeit a fairly rudimentary one. In other words, you can shuffle around the starting line-up, the formations and kick takers in addition to devising an attacking (possession, counter attack, neutral) and defensive (pressure, withdrawn, contain) style. But if you're hoping for Championship Manager, be disappointed.
After all, the game's the thing, and you can limber up for the World Cup proper by playing a number of friendlies. If you end a match with scores level, you can then choose to carry on for a Golden Goal or have a Penalty Shootout before watching the computer vote for Man of the Match. Personally, we think England has faced too many painful penalty shootouts to endure any more...
It's doubtful you'll spend too much time in warm-up matches, though, as the main competition -- thanks to the atmosphere, tension and music -- is suitably adrenaline-pumping. Although the difficulty level doesn't increase the further you progress towards the final, there's a positive crackle of electricity when you face the Big Two (yes, Germany & Argentina) and you'll find yourself replaying those matches until you get the right result.
With only a month to go to the real World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to launch into the spirit of the occasion. With the more realistic animations and televisual camerawork, together with the new passing and shooting techniques and individual star skills, EA can be proud of the fact that it is the best game in the competition.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
paleluna 2022-04-25 0 point
Jack Rainer I did all the steps and it just tells me to insert the CD of the game
MEROVINGIAN 2022-02-05 1 point
It works on Windows XP very well. Also it's better than 2006 FIFA World Cup to play
Jack Rainer 2022-01-28 1 point
If you want to play this game on Windows 7 or newer systems - use nGlide with patch from this link http://www.zeus-software.com/downloads/nglide/compatibility (first game in the list)
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