FIFA 08 PSP
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
The PSP seems to be quite spoilt for decent football games. Last year we looked at the impressive Pro Evolution Soccer 6 for the PSP, which was a very impressive game. This year we've been fortunate to have our first look at the PSP version of FIFA 08. With 30 leagues, 38 real stadia and 12,600 players FIFA 08 for the PSP is certainly going to impress in terms of content and official teams and players. The real question though is how does the game play and can it compete with the aforementioned PES 6?
The modes on offer in FIFA 08 are Kick Off, Football IQ, Interactive Leagues, Tournament, Manager Mode, Challenges, Juggling and Wall Attack. The game also includes support for multiplayer gaming with both Ad Hoc and Infrastructure modes supported for two players. If you've played a FIFA game before most of those modes will be pretty self-explanatory. Football IQ is essentially a quiz game where the idea is to score a goal by correctly answering questions. You can choose to Dribble (answer the question) or Pass (to get a new question). With each correct answer you'll move up the pitch until you'll ultimately have to place your shot past the keeper by correctly answering another question. It kind of reminds us of the Championship Manager Quiz that appeared on the PC several years ago. Juggling is a mini-game where you have to press the directional buttons at the appropriate time to keep the ball in the air. It can also be played as a multiplayer game. Wall Attack is essentially a mini-game designed to practice your shooting skills.
FIFA 08 has plenty of longevity thanks to the Manager mode and the Interactive Leagues. In the Interactive Leagues mode 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 PSP version) 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. Manager mode challenges you to pick a team of your choice and guide them through fifteen seasons completing the board's objectives along the way. The Manager mode by itself is quite capable of keeping you busy for months.
With the PSP only having one analogue stick there are always going to be questions regarding how the game plays. Thankfully the game actually plays quite well and the game even includes a healthy number of skill moves. Tactics can be changed during the game by using the directional buttons. The controls are responsive and easy to learn. In fact the game does a good job of being easy enough to pick up for newcomers to the series and challenging enough for FIFA veterans thanks to the various AI difficulty settings. Taking the game purely on its merits for realism, you would have to say that PES 6 plays the more realistic game of football, however that can be intimidating for those who aren't into the series whereas FIFA 08 is the better game in terms of its accessibility for those who don't buy every football game that's released.
The game's presentation is of the usual high standard that EA Sports are famous for. Deaf gamers will miss out on the match commentary (which isn't subtitled) but aside from that there are no real causes for concern here and it's fine for deaf gamers. The game menus are clean and uncluttered. The actual match graphics are quite impressive and at times it's hard to believe this is a handheld game with the quality of the player models and stadia not being far behind those found in the PlayStation 2 version of the game. The load times are a little on the long side but they certainly aren't intolerable. The frame rate holds up quite nicely too and it's pleasing to see how smooth the frame rate remains during a match.
Those who are looking for a football game to play on their PSP will find FIFA 08 a compelling choice. The sheer amount of teams, official stadia, real-life competitions and players available in the game is very impressive for a handheld title. The Manager mode and Interactive Leagues mode ensure the game has plenty of replay value. FIFA 08 plays a solid game of football. You could argue that it's not as realistic as PES 6 on the PSP but to be honest it makes up for this by the amount of content the game offers and the game as a whole is far more appealing to those who don't want to spend hours and hours learning how to get to grips with the game. In short, there's little to complain about with the PSP version of FIFA 08.