FIFA Soccer 08 Review
If you're the type of gamer that doesn't go out and buy the latest iteration of sports games every year, then pay attention. This is probably the year that you want to go out and get the latest FIFA soccer game from EA Sports.
If soccer games in the past have been a bit frustrating for you, then you'll find FIFA 08 an easier go. Goal scoring is not as hard as it's been in the past on the lower difficulty levels, so you don't have to play for a few days before scoring your first goal, let alone getting your first win. Series veterans should still find the higher difficulty levels challenging. It appears that some work was done on the player AI, and at the higher levels players seem to work better together as a team rather than as just a collection of players.
The coolest new feature in FIFA 08 is by far its enjoyable Be a Pro mode. In this mode you take control of a single player of your choice and the game tracks how well you play your position. As a defender successful tackles and clearing the ball are key, while a forward is rated on passes and shots. As you play you onscreen indicators help direct you when you're out of position, flag the opponent that you should be covering, and let you know when you're offside. You are also shown a meter that indicates how well you are playing, and you'll see the reasons why you gain and lose and points. This is a great mode for anyone new to the sport or to playing a videogame version of it. The position indicator will keep you in the right vicinity of the field for the current situation and you can see how the rest of the team works together. It also lets you control the action away from the ball for the first time instead of controlling the ballhandler throughout the game. Even if you've played FIFA games before this mode is enjoyable. It's simply fun to control a single player in the game and when you do a good job it somehow feels more satisfying than winning a game in the normal game modes. It's also cool to be able to see a detailed breakdown of your stats after a game. The biggest disappoint with this mode is that it is only available to play in single matches. Here's a feature that's screaming for a career mode and yet that's not an option. Hopefully FIFA 09 takes advantage of this missed opportunity.
Skill moves are another new addition to this year's game. When the player that you're controlling finds himself in a one on one or breakaway situation, the camera will zoom in closely behind his back. You can then use the left trigger and right stick to execute special skill moves and dribbles in an effort to blow past the defender or fake out the goalie. This feature is a pretty cool idea that's not quite there in terms of implementation. When it works, it works well and when you use a skill move to beat the last defender and put a shot into the back of the net it's far more satisfying than if you had scored the goal the conventional way, due in no small part to the close-in camera angle. However on many occasions it takes the game too long to zoom into the skill move view and by the time you can start putting on the moves the defender has a foot on the ball and is taking it the other way. You'll probably have a love-hate relationship with the skill moves; you'll love it when you have the time to try and use the moves and you'll hate it when you zoom in just in time to see your man lose the ball.