We're not going to crown FIFA 08 just yet, but after spending more hands-on time with it than David Beckham's spent on-field for the LA Galaxy, prospects look good. After a dozen games, we decided to look back at last year's review of FIFA 07, just to see what the developers didn't fix. After all, FIFA tends to dupe the U.S. press with its glamour every year, but ends up being a 10-game experience before you toss the controller and just turn the game on to listen to the soundtrack. So, here are quotes from last year's review and our responses after playing 08:
"...there are only six league licenses at work, instead of the 28 on current gen." Now there are 30.
"...there are only 37 international teams (out of a possible 194)." This is an omission that stands, but there are only 43 teams, now -- no Ghana, no Israel, no Iran.
"...there are no tournaments." 08 has a tournament creator that allows you to get complicated tourneys, like a full-blown Champion's League.
"...current-gen FIFA made a next-gen type of leap with its new online system, but here it's head-to-head, and that's it." The online component in this year's game is quite incredible -- full online leagues in addition to last year's interactive leagues, and the ability to play 5-on-5 with nine other people around the world in the new first-person Be a Pro mode.
"...it just isn't as responsive as it needs to be. The players are jerky when they move with the ball; with each stride there's a subtle stammer..." The smoothed out animations in 08 make the entire game flow more realistically. Plus, with the right analog trick stick, you can seamlessly pull off stopovers, spins, even heel flicks over your head (if you time it right).
"It demands tactical simplicity to succeed." While the game's through pass isn't perfect, and the aerial game is lame like last year's, there's way more creativity in the attack. It's not up to Winning Eleven's standard just yet, though.
"Bookings are ridiculously easy to come by, even when you get nothing but the ball." No more. It's tough to get a yellow, and a red comes only if you tackle from behind when it's a one-on-the-goalie situation.
So there you have it; most of our nitpicks from last year's game have been addressed. Now if they can just sort out that aerial game....