Review by mjfru201

"Doing The Greatest Sporting Event In The World Justice."

The world stage has been set in Germany and eyes from all over the earth will be watching. What other event could this possibly be but the 2006 FIFA World Cup? Nations from every corner of the globe will be striving to earn the opportunity to hoist the trophy high above their heads in Berlin. Now, you have that opportunity to relive the magic that is the World Cup. The question is, will this FIFA spin off do the most famous sporting event justice?

First of all, this is not your yearly FIFA installment and that has to be understood before playing. There are no clubs or leagues in this game, there are only hundreds of national teams. Once a team is selected, you select your squad from your country's finest players and get on with whichever mode of play you so choose.

As you would expect, an obvious choice of game play for a game titled “2006 World Cup” is just that. You can choose to progress through the qualifying matches in order to earn your ticket to Germany to play in the tournament, or you can also opt to begin right there. Other various modes of play are also available for you to play. The ever original single game is an option, along with a mode that pits you into historical matches. This mode sends you back to the past or even present to play in a game that had some significance on the foot-balling world. In these particular matches, you're given a situation where you're either ahead by a few goals or down, and your objective is to either win or defend the match by whatever means necessary. Very often, you're placed into the middle of the game and will have to pick up at halftime or even later. And finally, what football game would be complete without a penalty shootout mini-game.

The game plays as one would expect. You play the game one player at a time, progressing down the field by running and passing to either score a goal or prevent a shot going in your own net. Control-wise, it's fairly simplistic, and that's a great thing. The arrangement of the controls suits the GameCube's format perfectly, as with practice, everything feels natural, smooth, and rewardingly simplistic, with no extended reaches or combinations of buttons to perform exquisite passes or shots. There are no odd glitches or programming errors and from my experience, the game has run smoothly 100% of the time.

While the game runs quite fine and is a great way to spend some time, the saying “every rose has its thorns” comes into play. Graphically, this game might have been average for last generation's era. Now, with sport titles on systems such as PS3 and XB360, it can't even compare anymore. Each player has their own distinctive face (and occasionally a few of their own moves), but otherwise, everything appears block-like and “rough around the edges”. The crowd looks like paper stick figures, flags don't wave in the wind during the game, and the goal-net looks like it's made of silly-string. Those gripes aside, I suppose it looks decent and is definitely not terrible in appearance.

Making up, however, in the place of the graphical downfall, is the great music and sound this game has to offer. This game, like all of EA's other sports games, has a great music library to listen to as you navigate through the many menus. Better yet, since the World Cup is an international event, they decided the music library should be too. Artists from across the globe have put their contributions into this game, from Africa to Australia. With this, you're stuck right off the get-go with the huge international theme that resounds throughout the World Cup. During actual gameplay, the sound effects might actually be the best I have ever heard in a sports game from the last generation's consoles. To start, the crowd sounds like what it should in a live football match. There's a constant buzz in the air during a game and chants boom through the stadium. The noise level rises as you charge into your opponent's side of the field and simply explodes when and if a goal is made. Finally, credit is most certainly due to the commentary during games. For once it's actually fairly intelligent and interesting to listen to, as they recall past events, update other scores for you, and do a job you would expect if you were watching a game on your television.

Overall, I think this is truly one of the most under-looked sports games to ever come out on a console. Maybe it's just myself and my appreciation for the World Cup, but I believe this game deserved the chance to stand by its big brother FIFA. The game handles perfectly, the audio is some of the best I have ever heard in a sports game, and while the stingy graphics linger, the enormous list of tasks and events to be played leaves you with a very satisfied feeling.

Rundown:
Gameplay – 8/10
Graphics – 7/10
Sound/Music – 9/10
Replay Value – 8/10
Overall – 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/16/08

Game Release: FIFA World Cup: Germany 2006 (US, 04/24/06)


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