Review by Frank Francia

"FIFA 2002: improved gameplay, but not flawless"

FIFA 2002 is the best game in the series. Even though it has some flaws the game is very enjoyable, the gameplay's been improved, the graphics are nice, there's a huge number of licensed teams, and there's lots of game modes included.

First of all, the gameplay's completely different this time around. One of the best things is that the ball actually feels like it has weight. Unlike in the previous games in the series the ball bounces realistically and because of this a deflection can surprise a goalie who is already diving in an other direction. I scored several times like this and it just feel like real soccer. The other big improvement is the new passing system which enables you to create one-on-ones with the goalie and that's just plain cool. The power of your pass or shot depends on how hard you press the buttons (which took me some getting used to but it works really well). However I also found out quickly that this new passing system has some flaws, too. For example, you can't switch between your players quick enough and this leads to frustration very often when you've been just tackled by a CPU player and the ball is rolling toward one of your other players who will just stand there and wait for the CPU to take the ball. This can be a bit frustrating at times.

The player animations are very good but they could be better (hopefully we'll get that next year). The celebrations after scoring are nice and fun to watch. The stadiums are well detailed (I like the flags, and those smoking things)though the crowd's appearance and animation could be a lot better. The menus look a bit boring but that's not a big deal.

The music in FIFA 2002 is ok, featuring ''Gorillaz'' and some
techno songs but EA could've done a better job in this area. The in-game sounds are excellent, you'll hear players yelling for the ball from time to time, you'll hear those bone breaking tackles, and the loud ''bumm'' sound of the ball after a goal kick. The announcers are annoying. They repeat themselves way too often and make dumb comments.

The player/team creation mode is very good and goes deep into details however a carrier mode is still missing and that's disappointing.

My biggest complaint about this year's FIFA is that the World Cup mode is not included. Why the heck would you go through the qualifying rounds if you can't participate in the World Cup?

Flaws aside, so far this was the only FIFA game that really satisfied my hunger of video game soccer. There are still only three difficulty settings; amateur,professional, and world class but this time if you are playing on professional level the CPU will score on you quite often especially if you are playing against one of the better teams. Because of this the games are gonna be more exciting. After playing FIFA for more than two months I'm still not bored of it which is very unusual since until this game I've always gotten bored of video game soccer titles a few weeks after buying them.

Even though the game has its flaws, it's still the best in the FIFA series and if you're a soccer nut like me it's a very solid game and a must buy for soccer fans.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/18/02, Updated 04/18/02

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