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2006 FIFA World Cup Package Art
GENRE
Sports
DEVELOPER
EA Canada
PUBLISHER
EA Sports
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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2006 FIFA World Cup

While soccer is not the most popular sport in the US, it is in much of the rest of the world. 2006 FIFA World Cup (hereafter FIFA 06) is EA's latest, timely licensed sports title for Nintendo DS.

visuals

Menus are pleasant to navigate, featuring collages of flags, national icons and 3D models of countries on a globe and players, where appropriate. Player and ball animations are believably realistic, taking advantage of the DS's ability to render polygons for 3D perspective.

audio

In-game commentary makes any game better. FIFA 06 gets a 1UP from it, featuring endearing commentary by a British announcer. Conversely, title and menu screen background music could have been a bit more varied; Mas Que Nada is a good song, but becomes old quickly when looped. Never intended as menu music, at least there's an option for turning it off.

gameplay

FIFA 06 storms the field with a stampede of options. Adjust in-game strategy, player order, weather, country, stadium, jersey kit, camera behavior, you name it. There's even a scenario customizer where you can set everything from score, quarter, ball possession and penalties down to player injuries. And this is all in addition to controlling players on the field.

Controls are what you'd expect from an EA Sports title: smooth and solid. The D-Pad moves players while R makes them sprint. Why not sprint all the time? Because while dribbling there is a realistic trade-off between speed and ball control. ABXY are a variety of actions from kick to sliding tackle to switch player. The touch screen is used less than one might expect, most notably in menu navigation. To a lesser extent it can be used to select in-game team strategy and to put spin on the ball during a free kick.

Besides all the options FIFA 06 really does a nice job of making you feel like you're in the game. For instance, running up to take a free kick, you must press buttons following direction on-screen which correspond to your player's confidence or lack thereof. Successfully 'encouraged,' your player's power meter for executing the kick will have a much larger red zone.

Like the in-game commentary, the instant replay feature is seamlessly integrated, giving you the option to watch the replay at normal speed, speed up, slow down, rotate and zoom the camera. This is just another layer in the many and varied play options, all adding up to a considerate, customizable experience.

multiplayer

Though single-card download play is advertised on the box, in-game it was unfortunately nowhere to be found. For a quick match against a friend, Multi-card play does exist as an option, but was not tested for this review.

overall

2006 FIFA World Cup is easy enough for a soccer novice to pick up and enjoy, but deep enough in detail and difficulty options to please the hardcore futbol fan. Though not beyond figuring out, more detailed in-game explanations or tutorials could have only helped make this game more accessible.

final score 8.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"


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