November 5, 2001
This Is Soccer 2002 - Review
Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating Price
28/9/2001SonyTeam Soho1-8G$99.95
Online Gameplay Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border

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You have to love the flares.
Don't get confused with the name as This is Soccer 2002 is actually exactly the same game as This Is Football 2002, it's just undergone a name change to suit the different countries, although someone decided the Australian logo should remain TIF2002. No matter where you live however, this is one surprisingly enjoyable soccer game. After the rather average PSOne games in the series, Team Soho have pulled out all the stops to make this game significantly better. Time will tell how well this game stacks up against EA's FIFA 2002 and Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer, but it's definitely playing in the same league.

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Stadiums are superbly detailed.
From the very first kick off This Is Soccer 2002 is an extremely enjoyable game to play. After playing the PSOne game only a few months ago I wasn't expecting too much from this new Playstation 2 game. How wrong I was. From the moment this game first boots up you know it's going to be something quite special. The stadiums are wonderfully represented with flares going off in the crowd, flags waving and plenty of cheering and chanting. But it's when the game actually begins that you realise that This Is Soccer 2002 is serious competition to both EA's FIFA and Konami's ISS (Pro Evolution) series of games. The controls are fluid and the passing system is nearly spot on. Fortunately, the goalie AI is quite good as well which keeps the game tight and makes you need to really plan your attacks.

Team Soho aren't a development team that would spring to mind when thinking of top developers around the world, but they will soon. The company is currently finishing off development on their oft-delayed game called The Getaway. The game focuses on escaping after performing robberies etc and includes photo-realistic graphics of London streets. Expect that game to be release in 2002.

It's the little touches, however, that really makes this game special. Tapping the R2 button when you have the ball will results in your player taking an intentional dive and fake an injury to try and fool the umpire. It's doesn't work too often, but when it does it's so rewarding. Also keep an eye on the players if the ball hits the umpire when passing, they can get a little irate. As you would expect with a sports title, it's when you play the multi-player modes that the game really comes to life, especially when you use a multi-tap and have several friends over. Having 2 human controlled teams removes the occasionally unfair computer controlled players and levels the playing field.

As for game modes and options This is Soccer 2002 isn't lacking. The game includes most major international teams, including Australia, as well as most of the clubs based in the Italian, French and English Premiere and Division One Leagues. In fact, the number of teams is quite overwhelming. The leagues include the relegation and promotions as in real-life while you will have to qualify to enter the UEFA Cup and Champions League. The game includes fairly standard game modes including quick matches, seasons and international competitions.

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You have to love the flares.
There are, however, a couple of niggles with the game. Firstly, when the players aren't being controlled by yourself they have a habit of standing around in rather useless positions on the field. Players in the back corners will continue stand around while a striker charges up the middle by himself to take on the goalie 1-on-1. The game also has an annoying tendency to have players pass the ball even if the button press was intended for the previous ball carrier. Sure, it may come down to your timing but it's a little too unforgiving. Another improvement that I would like to see in next years game (I'd assume we'll see one due to the success of this title) is better sliding and tackling. The variety in the game is fairly limited with only a handful of different tackles available.

Visually, Team Soho has done an admirable job of capturing the atmosphere and excitement seen at large soccer matches. The stadiums are alive with detail and colour and although the spectators are still 2D sprites, they are moderately well animated. The actual stadiums are wonderfully detailed, while the players have a strong resemblance to their real-life counterparts. If there is one area where the game could have improved slightly more it's with the animation, which at times seems a little limited.

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You have to love the flares.
This is Soccer 2002 is quite impressive in the sound department. While not quite up to the standards set by FIFA it's definitely not something you would complain about. Most importantly the commentary, while not overly exciting, is fairly well done with fairly good precision to the action on screen. The background sound such as the crowd is quite lively changes throughout the game.

Over the last couple of years the battle for dominance in the soccer market has been battled between two heavyweights. Electronic Arts have their FIFA series while Konami have their ISS series of games to keep soccer fans happy. Now there is a third game worthy of your attention. This is Soccer 2002 is an extremely impressive game, and immensely more enjoyable then the PSOne games in the series. Perhaps the games real strength is that it's not another FIFA or ISS game, which every soccer fan would have played to death, and it offers such a wealth of teams and options. This game is definitely worth considering.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall






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