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FIFA Soccer 2002 (PlayStation 2) artwork

FIFA Soccer 2002 (PlayStation 2) review

"Soccer is a big bloody game, undoubtedly the biggest our world has today. Although some people may argue that the on-field action is comparatively tame when measured against the hustle and bustle of basketball or hockey (or even the actions of its own spectators), there’s no doubting that this is a sport with widespread appeal. "

Soccer is a big bloody game, undoubtedly the biggest our world has today. Although some people may argue that the on-field action is comparatively tame when measured against the hustle and bustle of basketball or hockey (or even the actions of its own spectators), there’s no doubting that this is a sport with widespread appeal.

When looking at the general public, there are usually two variations of soccer fans...

Type A: “Crikey gee, Soccer is a jolly sport. Do you remember the time when Brixton used the 10-1-0 formation against Prixton in 1974? What a smashing occasion!”

Type B: “Hot damn, Soccer is boring. I remember falling asleep five minutes into the final of the World Cup and putting my head through the coffee table. What a smashing occasion!”

And along comes FIFA 2002 - an attempt at finding the right distance between these two extremes. This chapter in the FIFA debacle shows an indiscrete movement away from the arcade days of old. Holding on to much of the frenetic pace that has become a FIFA trademark, but injecting some new (and very, very welcome) changes into the bloodstream.

The most obvious change comes in the passing department. Gone are the days where a pass would be hammered directly to a teammate, now you get to dictate the precise direction and speed that your ball is going to travel at! This opens up the gameplay immensely, widening the scope for strategy and creating greater scoring opportunity. This new opportunity to strategise is a great move by EA Sports, finally moving it a little closer to the more involving soccer games (ISS).

Everything the soccer fanatic needs to have an immersive experience is here. Over one hundred teams can be chosen, each with appropriate rosters and uniform. And of course these teams can be played with in the dozen or so national leagues we’ve been given. To top the whole experience off, FIFA 2002 offers a World Cup qualifying route, giving you the chance to take many of the national teams that are out there today to the top of the pile. If that’s not enough, then just make your own darn competition, and stop being so picky.

Enter the gladiatorial arena, and there’s still a nice wealth of options. There are more camera angles than you can shake a red card at, and the usual three difficulty levels. The actual playing surface is spaced out well enough, giving you enough room to create clever little ploys (but not TOO much room). But you’d better hope that your tackling skills aren’t lacking - otherwise FIFA will make you feel like a spectator at a table-tennis game. The computer opposition can absolutely frazzle your good nature, employing cheap tactics continuously through a match, and there’s nothing you can do about it! There certainly is a challenge to be gained from the AI, but sometimes it’s for all the wrong reasons.

The graphics are nice and pretty, there’s not much that has to be done to make a soccer game look reasonable after all! They’ve got the players looking like they’ve should, moving like they should, and celebrating their goals in true style - add an impressive looking crowd to the fray and you’ve got the right mix. Speaking of all things associated with the word “mix” - we’re at the sound. We’ve got commentary lavished upon us by two legends of the field, they’re a bit samey but they do get the job done in the end (and stick with the action like glue, while we’re at it). The crowd roars at very appropriate times, and sound just like a crowd should. All in all, these departments manage to create a moderately realistic soccer experience, nothing too out of the ordinary though.

Yes! That’s right folks! FIFA 2002 is your average, nondescript soccer game, failing to do anything that really sparks the imagination. It’s a good deviation, no doubt about it, but look elsewhere immediately if it’s substance that tickles your fancy, because this title just won’t give you everything that you’re after.
OVERALL - 6/10

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Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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