Review by Linkxx3
Compared to previous FIFA games, this is pretty dire
FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup has absolutely no relation to the brilliant Xbox game known as FIFA 06. There are no club teams here. As the name implies, this game is centered around the FIFA World Cup qualifying stages, in which national teams compete to earn a coveted spot in the FIFA World Cup finals.
While FIFA has always delivered commercially, it fails to top Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series as the king of Football videogames. That's not to say that EAs franchise is bad. They are mostly good, especially in terms of presentation. Everything is accurate and well-polished.
However, FIFA 06: RTFWC suffers from the same problems as the rest of EAs so-called 'Next-Gen' sports games. The main problem is that it offers fewer features than its last-gen counterpart, which is strange, if you think about it. Yes, this IS a World Cup game, so it shouldn't have any club teams, but then again, EA released another World Cup-centered game less than six months after this one, which begs the question: Why even bother releasing this? Well, it is EA, after all. Some things never change.
Moving on, the game looks decent. From afar it actually looks similar to any other last-generation Football game, so the graphical leap is underwhelming at first. You only get to see any of the players up-close in mid-game cutscenes, and even then, the players look strange. Their body isn't well proportioned and their facial expressions quite frankly, make me cry. Just check out Thierry Henry whenever he misses a shot. The face of Satan himself. And who can forget Ronaldinho, who manages to look uglier than usual in this game. Basically, the faces and bodies are a little off. They also look like mannequins in cutscenes, which is the same with every other first wave of next-gen EA titles.
Having said that, the pitch itself and the grass look phenominal in HD. Really a massive upgrade from the original Xbox version of FIFA 06. Instant Replays are shamefully bad, though. There is a lot of slowdown there and choppy framerates, which makes viewing a spectacular goal seem like a pain.
Overall, the graphics are just not that impressive for a next-generation title.
Thankfully, the audio is much better. Crowd chants have never sounded this good before, and everything surrounding the pitch sounds beautiful. Really feels like you're there. Great atmosphere. Commentators are better than usual. They even offer tidbits about the players themselves, as well as past WC trivia and facts. Nice touch, EA. The music in this game is alright. They are mostly European with some South American songs in there. Catchy, but nothing special.
How does the game play compared to past FIFA games...? Or most importantly, compared to Pro Evolution Soccer?
This game can get the job done. You can indeed have a fun game of Football, but the thing is, it feels like a downgrade from past games in the series. I'd say it's very bare-bones in terms of gameplay features. It's not exactly arcadey and fast paced, nor is it simulation-based. It's something in between, which on paper would sound potentially good, but the execution falls flat, to be honest. There is nothing advanced or anything that would seem next-gen worthy in the gameplay. It's essentially an Xbox game in HD. Actually, yeah...that's exactly what it is. Decent game, but nothing you haven't played before.
I can't say I'm frustrated or disappointed with EA, because they gave us a much better game less than six months afterwards which also effectively made people forget this particular game ever existed, and for good reason. This isn't the next-gen Football game we've all been waiting for.
+Grass/pitch looks fantastic
-Same old recycled gameplay
-Player models are atrocious
-Slowdown/framerate issues very apparent
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup (US, 11/16/05)
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