• When the original Xbox launched in March ‘02 (or November ‘01 if you’re American), FIFA RTWC was the only football (Again, Soccer if you’re American, henceforth to be called; Soccer) offering available to die hard football fans. Having little or nothing to do besides qualify for the world cup in anticipation for the launch of the official world cup game was maybe a little short-sighted on the part of EA, but the same strategy has been taken on the Xbox 360 launch title of the same ilk.

    FIFA 06 - Road to FIFA World Cup

    Admittedly, playing the game in standard definition won’t come close to the satisfaction you’ll get from having the FIFA experience in razor sharp high definition, and having seen the effects at 48′, I can vouch for its drool factor without question. The only problem is, there’s not really much else to the game, bar custom matches or friendlies. The same problems that blighted the success of the previous road to the word cup are the same potholes and empty gas tanks to thwart the Xbox 360 version. Picture the scene in EA Canada’s offices. No, it’s no like Gatacca, but something more like Microsoft in the UK apparently, although I’ll have to take my un-named colleagues word for it;

    Person A: ‘Let’s do 5 titles for launch on the 360!’

    Person B: ‘Sure, we can get that stuff out real quick!’

    Well, it’s not really that bad. As stated previously, the graphics are nothing short of stunning in High def, and more than adequate in standard definition, although never has a game been more obviously lacking in options a game modes than is evident here. Of course, come February, EA will announce the obligatory Official Videogame of the World Cup, and indeed, many of you will purchase the game for this alone, myself being among those easy pleased punters. However, I can’t help but feel cheated by the lack of ambition shown by the developers when planning the game modes, or moreover, the lack of them.

    So, let’s start the review then shall we? Ok, the game itself is essentially the same as its current generational brothers, with the main difference being the menu system, and the increased difficulty level. Where in the Xbox version of FIFA, I’m able to score against the toughest of opponents; I do tend to be putting my hand out to receive my arse at the end of every world class match. A welcome change though it is, a little more of a learning curve would’ve been helpful for the newcomers to the FIFA franchise, especially as some 360 owners may even have never played the game before.

    Before the launch of the machine and the obligatory onslaught of the returns department at Virgin Megastore, EA were very keen to get across how much the animations had improved for the 360 version, and I must agree that the animations have indeed been improved upon, however, this is at the expense of the flow of the game, with players seen waiting for the ball. Sure, model every single blade of grass on the pitch, but show me one person who plays using player cam and I?ll take back the entire sentence.

    It’s not all bad though, as I still find myself dipping in on a daily basis for a FIFA fix which must be said can often not be satisfied due to the utter cheating savagery of online gamers. Well, maybe I’m not quite as good as I thought I was, but at least I can beat my friends. And that’s probably where you’ll find me. After playing through one RTWC Campaign, there really is no need to return to try again, bar unlockables and achievements, none of which I find enough to entice me back in. However, like I said, FIFA is an addictive beast, and it’s one I’ll continue to feed until PE5 makes its way to Xbox 360, or the official licensed game takes ‘40 from my wallet.

    Score: 7/10

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