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January 24, 2004
This is Soccer 2005 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
15/10/2004SonyTeam Soho1-2, 8 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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The legendary Zidane.
In this day, and age, sports games need to hold an unbeatable hand, a new revolutionary feature, a huge fanbase, and more, to even make a mark in this industry (unless you're EA, then you can just buy the industry). Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 4 is, just as the title suggests, evolutionary soccer, and it is currently the highest-rung on the soccer gaming ladder, seemingly untouchable by all competition. Also making a major dent in the market is FIFA Football 2005, for loyalists of EA, and those who can't handle Konami's monster. But there is the outcasted darkhouse, which sits alone in the corner, and that is Sony's This is Soccer 2005 (or This is Football as it is known in Europe), which, as usual, is claiming to hold all the cards in it's unbeatable hand - but, can Sony walk the walk, just as they talk the talk?

For those of curious nature, this is the forth title in the Sony exclusive series, which has been developed, once again, by Team Soho. It offers an enormous range of club teams from countries from Arabia to Switzerland, as well as a host of international teams from just about every continent in the world (including the good ole' land of Down Under). You are able to play at a number of stadiums and venues around the world, including San Siro, all the way down to school playing fields.

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Taking the corner view.
The gameplay itself is where the game kind of - well, falls apart. The game offers four levels of difficulty; amateur (for newbies to the TIF series), Pro (for those returning for a slightly more challenging dip), World Class (for all you show-offs out there), and of course Master Class (for those infidels almost at my playing level, ha!). But that's only the difficulty, but it really matters not where you place your skill level, it isn't going to prevent you from being a little emotionally-diminished from playing this title. The A.I is sadly quite poor, as it has been in past editions of this game. If you gather the ball in your defensive half, and cross the halfway-line, expecting to be challenged, you're in for a huge misunderstanding, as you are almost literally able to casually run into the goal unchallenged, to have a ping at the net, it's almost hilarious.

It's not all bad, however, as Sony have included a couple of features not seen in the other games. The first of these is online gameplay which allows up to 8-players to compete in a match. The gameplay here is pretty good, there is some lag, but given that Konami's title has no online gameplay at all, and that EA's FIFA titles only allow 2-players it's a bit of a bonus. The other neat feature, and this isn't in either of the competing games, is the ability to use the Eye Toy camera to take a photo of yourself and texture map your face onto one of the players in the game. It's not perfect, but it's a great addition to the game.

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Gee.. look who won.. again!
There are several gameplay flaws in this game, it's almost amazing in it's own way. Controls can be unresponsive and at times frustratingly mashable, players have been known to clip through others, as mentioned above, the A.I is quite poor to say the least. And well, the list just about ends there, so probably not as bad as I made it out to be, but those are unforgivable, in any case.

The graphics, yet much updated over last year's title, are still rather bland and still are no match for those the likes of Pro Evolution Soccer, and the FIFA series. Some players are easily recognisable, including Gerrard, and Beckham (with wrong haircut *sigh*). But then other players are just about identical to a plank of wood, aside from their real-life counterparts, which is a bit of a shame. But other than the player models, there are further burs in the graphical presentation of this game. Stadiums tend to look similiar to one and other, which I suppose is forgivable, considering they do, and the crowd is anything but animated. Alot of the player animations, though not horrible, are still not exactly what I'd consider to be life-like, they seem a little slow and sluggish, and most just plain ugly, unfortunately.

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The goalie goes for the save!
Sound, though not an overly important factor in any sports game, is still essential. The only sound, though, to be heard is basically the crowd noise, and movement on the field, such as sounds of footy boots slapping the leather on the ball, and the ball cracking across the top of the crossbar, all of which is well done, although it'd be simple to gather the soundbytes, it's one of the few things done right in this game.

Realistically, This is Soccer 2005 doesn't hold a candle to Pro Evolution Soccer 4, and sadly, I'm not sure Sony will ever make it to that level, if they keep on this track. I really do hope they hitch up their belt, and knuckle down and release a solid, and consistantly playable soccer title, so they can at least have a head-up in the sports genre. So I can only leave them with a good luck, and a better luck next time.

Review By: Brodie Gibbons

GRAPHICSGraphically quite bland and well below the PS2's ability.
SOUNDDecent enough crowd noise, as well as suitable ground level sound.
GAMEPLAYPoor A.I, and an overly unenjoyable engine lets this game down.
VALUEAt only $49.95 this is OK value, it's just that there is much better.
OVERALLThis is Soccer 2005 sadly doesn't measure up to the level of rival soccer games, and is generally just another disappointing outing from London Studio. Back to the drawing board boys, we want you to scorch the pitch next year.

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