May 22, 2002
2002 FIFA World Cup - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
19/4/2002EA SportsIn-House1-8GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Celebrations are very impressive.
It's only been six months since Electronic Arts released FIFA 2002 on Playstation 2 and they have just released another FIFA game. I'll let them off however as this is the official game of the FIFA World Cup which is due to take place in Japan and Korea over June. With 2002 FIFA World Cup Electronic Arts have stripped away most of the game modes, teams and leagues to focus solely on the World Cup Tournament. Was it a good idea? Read on to find the verdict.

The World Cup is the second largest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics, although many people would argue that it is bigger. With an expected worldwide audience of 3.7 billion people the event is a major drawcard and this years' promises to be the best yet with two countries co-hosting the event together. This EA Sports game is trying to capture the look and feel of the event, and for the most part they have succeeded very well indeed.

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Gamecube screen, PS2 is very close.
The first thing that will hit you about this game is that most of the options of FIFA 2002 have been stripped including around 10 leagues and over 500 teams. All that remains in this game is the option to play a friendly match or the World Cup. Fortunately, Electronic Arts have been kind enough to include some of the teams, such as Australia, that didn't actually qualify for the tournament - thanks largely to an unfair system of the Pacific not having a place reserved in the World Cup - something which the commentators in the game mention when Australia is playing.

2002 FIFA World Cup plays very similar to the past FIFA game as Electronic Arts have moved the game over to a more simulation style. It's now possible to pass the ball into space for your player to run onto the ball. The power meter for shots and passes also returns while EA have re-introduce the headers and bicycle kicks into the game. Of course while playing the game you have full control of substitutions, team formations, strategies, referee strictness and camera angles. Completing the World Cup unlocks an All-Star team, but, sadly, that is pretty much all.

While playing the single player World Cup modes is entertaining it's the multi-player mode that really makes the game stand out. With two multi-taps it's possible to play with up to 8 human controlled players. Expect to have plenty of fun before and after the real tournament matches with this game.

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The presentation is second to none.
Another neat addition to 2002 FIFA World Cup is the video documentaries on the disc which detail some of the features of the 2002 World Cup including the locations and the mascots, which are pretty damn strange. Unfortunately, there is little to do with the actual development of the game, but it's a good way to get keyed up for the World Cup.

Graphics are one of the most interesting aspects of this title. On the one hand the atmosphere is totally absorbing and astounding. The crowds burst to life when a goal is scored, fireworks go off, streamers fly around the place and the players celebrate in many different ways. Unfortunately the animation of the players and the frame rate, which is never really terrible, is some cause for concern as it becomes a little on the rough side at times. Fortunately, the presentation and the menus are second to none as EA capture the excitement of the games. Player models are also prtty good although the texturing of the faces still requires some more attention.

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Tackles are executed with ease.
If you were worried about another dire Ricky Martin theme song, or impressive but unsuitable song from Fat Boy Slim, then you will be impressed as Electronic Arts have enlisted the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to create an epic and emotional score used throughout the game. It's fantastic and I appeal to Electronic Arts to keep it in future sporting games. The commentaries are also impressive with Motson and Gray once again providing some thoughtful insights into most games and plays. Sound effects, and in particular the crowds, are superlative and far surpass the other games in the series. My only disappointment, not DTS sound that gives other EA games that little extra.

This is such a hard game to judge. On the one hand it's certainly the most atmospheric soccer game ever released, and it a perfect tie-in to the real event in Japan and Korea. Electronic Arts are still refining the game engine, which is pretty solid now although the real disappointment is with the frame rate and animation on the players which needs some more work. The choice between this game and the original FIFA 2002 is a tough one. If you're after more options, teams and leagues then this game may not be for you, but if you want a game based on the second biggest sporting event in the world then this game will keep you very happy.

GRAPHICSAnimation and frame rate is average, great crowds and atmosphere.
SOUNDSome great orchestral music is let down by some average speech.
GAMEPLAYEA Sports move closer to simulation gameplay, but aren't there yet.
VALUEEA have taken out other leagues and teams. Replay may be limited.
OVERALLWhile the gameplay may be a little more complete then FIFA 2002 the reduction in options does hurt the game. Still if you're only after the World Cup experience then FIFA 2002 World Cup is for you.

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