It wasn’t that long ago when Italy took the World Cup, and I was actually in Rome to experience the joy of a country with one of the biggest championships in all of sports. EA at that time came out with their very own World Cup game, which improved upon last year’s soccer game and focused mostly on, obviously, the World Cup. Today we are checking out the next "true" installment of EA’s FIFA series, which is going to once again try and compete for the top soccer game in the world. So how does EA end up managing their soccer game in 2007? Read our full review to find out!
For those who keep up with the soccer games, you will know that last year’s FIFA Soccer 06 was a game that stood out as being a really fantastic game of soccer. Closing the gap between the FIFA franchise and the highly praised Winning Eleven franchise from Konami. In 2007, some may surprised to see that there has been quite a bit changed from last year’s game, but the question is, is it all for the good?
The biggest change in FIFA Soccer 07 is not so much the modes in which you are going to be playing in, but instead the way the game is played. One of the biggest changes to this year’s game is the gameplay mechanics. First and foremost, this game has been toned down in my opinion from being a true full out arcade style game. One of the instances of this is in the new momentum feature, which reflects the ebb and flow of the match. Another big change is the way players move on the field, which feels much more realistic and fluid than before.
Passing in FIFA Soccer 07 is also a bit different than in years past, as you really cannot expect all of your passes to be perfect. In this game, you have to pay attention much more than before to player positioning and the defense. And finally shooting, which has always been what I would consider a mixed bag, has been changed a bit once again going for a more realistic feel to offer for a few less goals. However, once you get the flow of the game down a bit you will learn to just make sure your players body is shifted towards the goal and not the sideline, something that does take some time to get used to.
You may be wonder do these gameplay mechanics make a big difference. Well first off, I have not discussed every little nook and cranny, but I will say this for consistent fans of the series you will see these changes front and center. Now for the more casual fan, the changes to the formula probably won’t be as apparent. The changes in this game are things that just make the FIFA game of soccer a more realistic and fluid experience. The changes do take time to become accustomed to, but they are definitely good changes.
One of the big gameplay modes this year is the Manager mode, which to me quite frankly works brilliantly. The mode is just an extremely robust name for a franchise mode that not only allows you to take your team through season after season, but also allows you to go through sponsorships, scouting, trades, and all of the other great things you would hope to be able to do. The game also consists of a laundry list of teams and leagues to choose from, all of which are great features for a game that needs to be as robust as FIFA Soccer 07.
And finally what would a soccer game this late in the Xbox’s life cycle be without online play, which FIFA Soccer 07 does have. For the first time, FIFA Soccer 07 does have leagues, and although it is not as well-built as some may hope, it does offer a more in depth feel online. Unfortunately, however the online soccer doesn’t feel all that smooth with some issues of lag and some serious dropout rates that lead to disconnections; not a fun thing to deal with when playing in leagues.
Although it is coming to the end of the Xbox, EA still makes some solid improvements in the visual department, tightening some loose ends up and making a very good looking soccer game. I have to say that FIFA Soccer 07 has improved most significantly in the stadiums and the crowds, which play an even bigger factor in the gameplay. The character models do also have more complexity and more variety then we have seen in years past. FIFA Soccer 07 is a good looking soccer game that even for all its glory does show a bit of its age on the Xbox.
FIFA Soccer 07 is just a very good well rounded game of soccer that has all of the makings that you would want from this year’s game. Unlike many of the other current generation sports games from EA this year, it seems as though FIFA Soccer 07 got the proper attention needed for a worthy update. The game is deeper, it plays better, and looks better than it has in years past, something that other EA Sports titles have not been able to do. There are still a few small issues that needed work, like the poor quality of online play, that do hold back the game from being great.
A lot of what you see in FIFA Soccer 07 should be tips and notes for the next generation of soccer games. With the extremely long lists of teams and stadiums, along with a great deal of game modes and new gameplay mechanics, this is really an extremely solid soccer package. For anyone who has not made the transition to the next generation of consoles, FIFA Soccer 07 still makes a worthwhile purchase on the Xbox.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.