FIFA 07 Xbox 360
Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Even the biggest critics of the FIFA series would have to admit that this year’s version of FIFA 07 on the PC and PlayStation did a lot of things right. The game felt better than any FIFA title in recent years and it genuinely provided an engaging experience. Of course it wasn’t perfect but it was well worth the asking price and left many fans of the series very happy indeed. Of course those fans of the series who own an Xbox 360 will have waited to purchase the only next generation version of the game available this year and they would have had high expectations for the game. Here we have a review of the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 07 and it’s fair to say right at the top of this review that what we have here is quite different from the other versions of FIFA 07.
The Xbox 360 version of FIFA 07 has been completely built from scratch. This is no idle port we have here and it’s the first FIFA game to be designed solely with next generation systems in mind. It not only looks but also feels very different from the other versions of FIFA 07. Bearing this in mind it’s fair to say that our expectations for the Xbox 360 version of FIFA 07 were understandably high. FIFA 07 features an exhibition mode (called Kick-Off), a Manager Mode, a Challenge Mode and the usual FIFA Lounge, for when you’re playing offline against a friend. Of course there’s also the online mode where you can play over Xbox live for fun or take part in ranked matches. There is no custom tournament mode and you can play in cup competitions when not playing in Manager Mode, which is unfortunate.
Initial impressions are one of disappointment. For a start there are only six leagues in the game. The leagues on offer are the English Premiership, Spanish Primera, German Bundesliga 1, Italian Serie A, Mexico Primera and the French Ligue 1. In addition there’s a collection of national teams and a World League, which is essentially a way of including Juventus as they are not part of Serie A this season. If you’re a supporter of a Championship or League 1 or 2 sides you’re out of luck because your team isn’t featured. The decision to only include 6 leagues impacts the game in several ways. The Manager Mode, which is actually quite enjoyable because it lets you have greater control over your chosen side, lacks depth as a result of not being able to win promotion or suffer relegation. The challenge of taking a ‘small’ team from the lower leagues to the Premiership is one that always appeals in modes such as this but that’s not possible in this version. Of course it also makes the game less attractive if you’re not a fan of 117 included clubs.
So there aren’t many modes and there isn’t a great deal of clubs you can play as so what does FIFA 07 on the Xbox 360 have going for it? Well visually the game looks impressive and it’s quite easily the best looking football game on any format regardless of whether you play the game on a normal TV or HD display. The presentation is simply first class and everything from the stadia to the game menus looks excellent. Unlike the Pro Evolution Soccer series, all of the kits are 100% official and up to date. The game has none of the frame rate problems that dogged the first FIFA game on the console which is great to see. Player likenesses are a mixed bag and whilst some look fairly accurate quite a lot look nothing like the players they are meant to represent.
Of course what it all comes down to is how well the game plays. FIFA 07 on the Xbox 360 definitely has promise but you get the feeling that the game could do with some refining. Players are too easily knocked off the ball (and appear to bounce back a virtual yard when challenging). Passing the ball around doesn’t appear to be as responsive as it should and at times it feels like shooting is just too awkward. In fairness though shooting is more realistic in the sense that your accuracy depends on whether you’re being pressured or not and shooting accuracy. Defending can feel awkward at times and it’s far too easy for an opponent to expose your defence. On the positive side the game has a realistic pace to it. Deflections feel more natural than in any other version of FIFA to date. The goalkeepers are not the slapstick comedians you usually find in a FIFA game. The AI actually puts up a good challenge (unless you bother with the easier difficulty levels) and in truth when you adjust to the areas of the game that could do with improving you’ll find yourself quite enjoying how it plays.
The bottom line of course is how it compares to other football games on the console. We haven’t played Pro Evolution Soccer 6 on the Xbox 360 and I would easily recommend FIFA 07 over FIFA 06 Road to FIFA World Cup. It looks a whole lot better than 2006 FIFA World Cup but it would be difficult to argue that it plays better. In terms of its deaf gamer friendliness it’s the usual form for a sports game with the match commentary being unsubtitled but everything else being absolutely fine. Personally I would rather have the PC or PlayStation 2 version of FIFA 07 as those versions simply play a better game. FIFA 07 on the Xbox 360 shows promise and FIFA 08 could be an absolute cracker if all the areas that are in need of improvement are actually improved. For now though, it still feels a lesser version when compared to the other versions of FIFA 07 that have been released this year.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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FIFA 07 on the Xbox 360 looks great but a lack of content and the fact that the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of FIFA 07 play a better game means it's by no means the Xbox 360 FIFA experience we have been waiting over a year for.