FIFA 08 Wii Review

Another year means another FIFA, and we have to struggle to once again come up with yet another fresh opening paragraph for this review, and one that avoids mentioning the age old debate of Pro Evo vs. FIFA (well apart from this once) and overused football clichés such as “EA scores a goal”. So what’s left to say? Nothing much so perhaps it’s best to move on before we are left with an embarrassing and awkward silence.

We’ve always more than suggested that we love FIFA in the past, with plenty of glowing reviews in our rather messy reviews database. This includes the likes of EA’s World Cup and UEFA Champion League games, as they’re basically repackaged FIFA titles, only with different names and additional options. It’s true that whether the series has been playing fast end-to-end football or giving us a more relaxed and realistic pace, we have mostly enjoyed EA’s footy titles. This year sees the debut of the series on the Wii.

We particularly enjoyed FIFA 07, which of course was a very different game on PS2, Xbox and GameCube when sized up with the Xbox 360 version, but whatever console we played it on we came to the conclusion that 07 was a triumph of world cup winning proportions and thus with absolutely no deliberations we awarded both the 360 and PS2 versions a very championing 9/10.

Before we get lost in telling you all about EA’s successes and failures with its attempt at motion control for FIFA on the Wii, lets talk about the Footii Party mode. The Wii version certainly has more than motion control to call its own, including a trio of party games, which are seemingly obligatory for every Wii title. Footii Party is your destination on the menu if you want to play juggling, table football, and boot it. Juggling requires you to follow gestures and keep the ball from hitting the ground, yep it’s keepy-uppy with a different name. Boot it is basically a penalty shootout, and table football, well, it’s table football, must we explain? Not only is there a mini Ronaldinho in the Footii Party mode, but your mii’s also make an appearance.

Anyway moving on to those controls, does the Wii remote substitute for a football boot? Well not exactly, but EA have certainly made things fun and active. Family Play controls allow the youngest and most fudge-fisted of players to play some virtual football, leaving the movement to the AI (nunchuck unattached) with shots, passes, and tackles being your only duty through the remote. The advanced controls obviously aren’t for hungry players who frequently have a slice of pizza in one hand whilst playing their games, and with the nunchuck attached you have more than a basic movement tool in that hand. Tricks can also be pulled off using both the nunchuck and the remote, 360 spins are performed by holding the C button and moving the nunchuck to the right or left for example. Shooting and slide tackles call on the movements of the remote, and for the latter you can either do a normal shot by moving the remote upwards or a finesse shot by directing it downwards, whilst when you are defending, saving slide tackles are brought into play by moving the remote downwards.

It’s certainly nice to know that Clive Tyldesley is always prepared to give you a hand, kindly guiding you through a comprehensive training mode that takes you from the very simple basics to the more complex and fancy stuff. You’ll probably have to repeat your visits to refresh yourself with tips from Clive as well as to try out your remote waving skills, at least until you feel as comfortable on the pitch as a pair of football boots do anyway.

Options are impressive, although on the Wii you won’t find a manager mode, but there’s still plenty of licensed competitions, and a fully complete online mode. EA’s servers continue to impress, and whilst you can’t create your own leagues as in other versions, the brilliant Interactive League has been included.

FIFA 08 on the Wii may take some getting used to, although when we did begin to get to grips with things we found an enjoyable set of motion controls. There’s still something that makes us prefer playing our football games with proper controllers, perhaps it’s because our remote hand gets worn out with all that goalmouth action.