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October 8, 2005
FIFA 06 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
26/9/2005EA SportsEA Canada1-8, 2 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
2290KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Create-a-player options.
While soccer is one of the largest games around the world, Australia has seen the sport struggle in recent years. Part of the reason was the previous soccer league, the NSL, was disbanded a couple of years ago due to mismanagement, poor attendances and major financial problems. A couple of years on and recent months have seen the launch of a new, invigorated league called A-League and a campaign to reach the World Cup finals remain on track. Overseas the sport still thrives and any new soccer video game commands a massive audience. While Electronic Arts' had the best game for many years the company is now facing tough competition from Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer titles - a series which has less flair, but much deeper gameplay. Has FIFA 06 got what it takes to compete with Konami's upcoming Pro Evolution Soccer 5, or is the old guard about to be replaced by something new and fresh?

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Stadiums look quite special.
Now into it's fifteenth year Electronic Arts' FIFA series has always been the biggest soccer video game in terms of sales and features. Years ago the franchise was regarded as a good arcade styled game however with more power, and the competition from Konami's simulation styled effort Electronic Arts have slowly shifted this towards a more realistic game and FIFA 06 is no exception. Thanks to numerous official licenses FIFA 06 contains over 21 leagues, 10,000 world class players and the latest 05/06 statistics to ensure authenticity. On the pitch the players move with fantastic fluidity and realism with some superb animations. Tackles and dribbles seem to have been given the biggest overhauls with the player now dribbling the ball much closer to himself then in previous years when it would be kicked a fair way ahead making for an easy interception.

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The goalie better be ready!
As expected the title includes all your standard game modes from a quick exhibition match, to entire seasons and tournaments. There's not too much new there but what is new is a create-a-player which allows you to fully customize a player to be included into the team. As with all EA titles this is extremely detailed as you can see in the first screenshot in this review. Also new is the Manager mode which allows you to follow a club through 15 years. In this mode you have to control the budgets, manage coaching staff as well as selecting the teams and recruiting players through the transfer markets.

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Setting the kick takers.
Unfortunately for the casual gamer this years title offers little new over last year to warrant a purchase. Sure there is the previously mentioned create-a-player and Manager modes as well as some small gameplay refinements, but unlike EA's superb Madden NFL 06 there isn't anything radically different to get gamers excited. Online gameplay is still restricted to 2-players. I sincerely hope that when we get to the next generation the company can up the number of players to perhaps 4 or 8 human players. Hell, I'd even expect full 11 on 11 human controlled Internet matches but time will tell if that happens.

One area where this game has improved yet again is the graphics. While many developers are looking towards the next generation Electronic Arts are still squeezing more out of this years titles, FIFA 06 included. Sure, the changes aren't overly dramatic, but its the smaller animations such as shepherding the ball or more varied animations that make the difference and adds realism. As expected the frame rate is fairly solid and the crowds are among the best seen in the current generation. As we've all come to expect presentation of this game through the menus is unrivaled.

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Sponsors are all in place.
Audio is one area where Electronic Arts rarely falter, and FIFA 06 upholds the tradition perfectly. The game includes a wide range of music from around the world any of which can be turned off should it not be to your liking. Even more impressive is the crowds which sound realistic, and also increase and decrease in noise as the game ebbs and flows. Commentary is now handled by Clive Tydsley and Andy Gray and it must be said that while you're sure to hear some repetition the speech bank is varied enough to keep it interesting for the majority of the matches. The commentary is also fairly fluid making it quite realistic then the broken commentary in so many other sports titles.

Ultimately this game disappoints by the lack of innovation and new features. I don't mind paying for updated games if there's something new to be excited about but FIFA 06 offers little new, and certainly not enough to warrant a purchase if you own last years title.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSEA have managed to push the franchise further then ever before.
SOUNDA great range of music, superb effects and very good commentary.
GAMEPLAYEA continue to improve FIFA, but still not up to PES's standards.
VALUEIf you own FIFA 2005 there is little reason to buy this upgrade.
OVERALLFIFA 06 adds little new to last years game, however if you're looking for a soccer game then this game will probably suit your needs, especially if you can't wait for Konami's upcoming PES5. A good game that doesn't add as much as it should have.

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