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October 19, 2004
FIFA Football 2005 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
15/10/2004EA GamesEA Games1-8, 2 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
2581KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Football.. the perfect game?
Well another year and another FIFA title is released through EA Sports. While the company easily dominated the soccer genre, or football genre as it would be called in Europe, over the last decade the last couple of years have been a little more shaky with Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series proving to be a real contender for the top title. Indeed critical reviews for Konami's series puts it on top, but the dollars and sales keep falling EA's way. Fortunately with either choice you are likely to find plenty to like, and EA have been going all out to regain the title with FIFA Football 2005.

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Graphics are pretty nice.
One of the biggest areas where Electronic Arts pulls ahead of the competition is the stats, and FIFA 2005 is bigger then ever. This game includes a whopping 18 leagues including official English Premier League, German Bundesliga, French LFP and Spanish LFP (Primera Liga) licenses, 38 national teams and a massive 15,000 players to select from. Football fans certainly aren't going to be concerned with the number of teams or players, but what about game modes?

Once again there are many game modes such as quick matches, tournaments and finals, however it's the Career FIFA Football 2005s deep Career Mode tests your skills both on and off the pitch. Make the tough decisions behind the scenes to turn your team into challengers and then guide them in a 15-year quest for silverware.

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Getting around the opponent.
So enough of the stats, how does this game play. Well I can say this now. FIFA 2005 is simply the best this game has ever played. Every year the game is moving more and more towards the PES styled simulation, and this year they are extremely close. Having played Pro Evolution Soccer 4 extensively I still believe that Konami's title still has the edge, however the inclusion of the first touch using the right analogue stick to gain often small but significant advantages is crucial to success. Controlling players off the ball has also been expanded with AI controlled players now acting more intuitively while you can also control the receivers during free kicks, corners and throw-ins.

For the second year in a row the biggest bonus for gamers purchasing EA's FIFA title is the inclusion of online gameplay - something which is lacking from Konami's title. It's still not perfect, the occasional lag can ruin a game, but if you pick the right people to play with you'll have a blast. I only wish more people would jump online occasionally as it's a little sparse on the PS2 front, but reviewing the game so soon after release is always problematic in that regard.

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Nice sliding tackle.
Gameplay wise, there really is very little wrong with this game. It's still not quite there with Konami's title, but it's extremely close and anyone who doesn't enjoy playing this game is fooling themselves. It would have also been nice to have more players in an online match rather then the peer-to-peer setup - 16 players support would be wonderful. Apart from that this game is pretty much spot on.

Graphics this year have been given a solid once-over with and all new kinetic player animations for added realism. As with previous FIFA titles the presentation is superb with wonderful crowds, stunningly re-created stadiums from around the world and players which look more lifelike then ever before. The variable weather conditions also deserve special mention. They look pretty damn good to us and add much realism to the overall look of the title.

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Night matches...
Sound for any sports games can really be split into two crucial elements - effects and commentary. The effects in this game really are nothing short of superb. Crowds cheer, players call out, the ref ermm, blows his whistle. The variety in the crowd chants are perhaps the most crucial aspect to making this game special and in that regard Electronic Arts are on a winner. The commentary, while great on the first couple of plays, and as with most games, becomes repetitive. It's still good, but you'll start hearing the same phrases soon enough. Fortunately the commentary is fairly accurate to the on screen action.

FIFA 2005 really is a great game. Electronic Arts have reworked the gameplay to near perfection and while the online component could be better with more players, that's probably waiting for the more powerful next generation. The real question for gamers is; do you want to play online? If so, then this is your only choice. Fortunately it's a good one.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSEA prove once again that they are the presentation masters...
SOUNDCommentary can get repetitive, but overall sound is pretty exciting.
GAMEPLAYNot quite as enjoyable as PES4, but this is the best FIFA game yet.
VALUEOnly 2-players online, and franchise will have you playing for weeks.
OVERALLFIFA 2005 is a magnificent football game. Electronic arts still isn't quite up there with Pro Evolution Soccer 4 in the gameplay, however this game has better presentation, more teams and options, and the biggest bonus - online gameplay. You can't go wrong with this game.

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