FIFA 08 PC DVD & PlayStation 2
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Whilst the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 08 have gone for a more realistic approach, the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of the game have retained the quick paced, arcade-nature of the previous instalments in the FIFA series. To some this will be a disappointment. After all, it seems as though the next-generation versions seem to be getting all of the attention, whilst those who are stuck with the PlayStation 2 and those who prefer to play on their PC's have basically been given a game that doesn't differ greatly from last year's FIFA game.
The bulk of the modes in the PC and PS2 versions of FIFA 08 will be familiar to those who have played any of the FIFA games in the last three or four years. You'll get to have a one-off game by selecting Kick-Off from the main menu. You can take part in a multitude of tournaments in Tournament mode. If you want to go the whole hog and play through a career picking the team of your choice and developing the squad and completing transfers etc. you can play the Manager mode. This mode alone can easily soak up a few months of your time as you develop your team over several seasons. The offline Lounge mode has again been included (the PC has a Multiplayer mode in place of the Lounge mode) and if you're fancying something different you can take on the Challenge mode. Be A Pro - Co-op Season mode allows you to pick a player and play an entire season as that player. As the name of the mode suggests your friends can join in and there's support for four players in total. Both versions give you the chance to take part in the EA Sports Interactive Leagues. Here you'll pick a team and play the same fixtures that your team is playing in real-life. Your results are combined with that of other gamers (across all platforms, not just the PS2 and PC versions) and these results determine your team's placement in the Interactive Leagues. It's a great idea and fans of the series seem to have taken to it really well.
So how do these versions play then? In short they are pretty similar experiences to last year's FIFA 07. The AI seems to have improved slightly but the game still has an unrealistic tempo to it. The PS3 and 360 versions have gone for a more realistic approach in that those games have done away with the ping pong nature of the FIFA games of yesteryear. The PC and PS2 versions are still a little on the quick side and as a result can definitely be regarded as an arcade football game rather than anything approaching a simulation. This year a few additions have been made. You can now manually set the pace of a through ball, you can select your player by using the right analogue stick (simply pointing the stick in the direction of the desired player) and you can take control of the keeper and perform manual saves. The first two of these features are actually worthwhile and add to the experience quite nicely. Controlling the keeper is simply a feature that most will disregard. Some aspects of the game are a little off. Long range shooting doesn't feel right and taking corners feels clumsy for some reason. On the whole these versions play quite well, despite the aforementioned flaws, but they are quite a different experience from the next-generation versions of FIFA 08.
We all appreciate that the PlayStation 2 editions are not going to look any better now. The console has been superseded by the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 2's limitations were reached long ago. It's no surprise then that FIFA 08 doesn't really look any better than the last few FIFA games that have appeared on the console. PC gamers however, have a right to be disgruntled. Essentially the PC version appears to be a PlayStation 2 port and the graphical quality of this year's game is actually quite shocking. Despite the inadequate graphics you'll notice that the game has some performance issues and isn't free of a few frame rate hitches here and there (the PS2 version actually maintains a smooth frame rate throughout). The game also fails to support the various widescreen resolutions that are now common place meaning you'll have to play a game that looks stretched as well as quite ugly if you own a widescreen TFT monitor.
FIFA 08 on the PlayStation 2 and PC won't give deaf gamers any problems. The match commentary isn't subtitled, as per usual, but this won't cause any problems (in fact most hearing gamers would probably choose to turn off the commentary due to its repetitive nature). All of the important information in the game is display via text or icons (icons are used to indicate that the referee has played the advantage rule or that the keeper is taking too long with the ball for instance). The Manager mode, for instance, has all of its information displayed in text and deaf gamers will have no problems at all. The PlayStation 2 version has three small video tutorials that demonstrate the manual through balls, right analogue switching and Goalkeeper controls and these tutorials contain text only as well as a graphic of the controller that shows which controls are used.
The PC and PlayStation 2 versions of FIFA 08 aren't quite as impressive as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Whilst the next-generation versions have moved up a gear the PC and PlayStation 2 versions haven't improved much at all. In fact, you could argue that both are too similar to last year's versions. The additions of the Be A Pro - Co-op Season mode is a welcome one and the manual through passes and right analogue stick switching are good inclusions but there's nothing here that makes either versions of the game an essential purchase if you're not a hardcore fan of the series.