There has been no lack of FIFA titles dribbling onto the market over the past year or so. We had FIFA 06, followed shortly by EA's World Cup title to match the greatest sporting tournament in the world. Now, not that long after, we have FIFA 07. With the more than usual amount of soccer titles, it would be very easy for EA to put out a run of the mill, nothing-new soccer game. Thankfully, this is not what EA has settled for.
FIFA 07 is a great game. It's a great game not because EA has done something revolutionary or drastic, but rather because they have taken a great game and made subtle improvements throughout, making it the best FIFA title to date. It feels, looks, and plays better than the previous titles, and that's saying a lot.
One improvement that is a big step forward this year is the physics of the ball. How the ball bounces actually depends on the way the ball is kicked or deflected, or on the context of the player position. This plays into the game in a huge way, as you'll have to think about your player position when winding up. If you are dribbling away from the goal, your shot will have no power. If you can gain your balance and move toward the goal and wind up, however, then you will be able to fire off a rocket. If a goalie saves a shot, the ball might bounce off to the side and roll to a striker because of the spin. It is truly a nice touch to see the ball physics at work.
Another big improvement is the AI. No longer will a player sit and watch a ball go by as if he is stuck into the ground. Players will react to runs, come to the ball, and actually act like soccer players. This is a very refreshing development.
As far as the game modes are concerned, it's your standard FIFA with some add-ons. You have your quick friendly match, your practice mode, etc. The manager mode is improved for FIFA 07, as you'll have a ton of in and out of season options, such as roster moves, organization decisions, and the like. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. The game also has a challenges mode in which you will go into preset scenarios and overcome the odds to win the scenario. It is not a huge part of the game, but it adds for a nice touch.
If you're a wannabe manager and don't feel like playing, there is also a simulation mode which puts you into the manager's shoes. The game happens in a text format in front of you, and you just make the decisions for your team. It's a nice way to get through games if you don't feel like playing them allâ€”or just aren't very good.
The sound in the game is excellent. The commentary is probably the best yet, and generally keeps up with the action very well. They do repeat things here and there, but when you play for hours, you have to expect that anyway. The soundtrack is what you'd expect from any FIFA title, and the in-game sound and crowd noise is also fantastic.
Graphically, FIFA 07 looks great. For a current generation title, this is as good as it gets. The animations are smooth, and flow into each other amazingly well. Player models are nice, and move realistically around the field. EA has managed to push each console to its graphical limits.
The controls are... well, like FIFA. They are mostly untouched, apart from the differences in touch and physics. To use a terribly over-used clicheâ€” â€śIf it ain't broke, don't fix it.â€ť
FIFA 07 is an excellent game. Is it completely new? No. Is it revolutionary in some way? No. But EA has taken the core FIFA game and improved it to create the best FIFA footballer to date. If you are a soccer game fan, you simply can't miss this title.