As always EA Sports once again come up trumps in terms of style and presentation, but does the Fifa 08 game successfully glide over to the Wii and play a smooth and free flowing game of football?
First impressions of the Fifa 08 Wii version are really good, the menu system and interface are all slick and smooth. I thought I’d start off with an online game rather than playing the CPU and I was nicely surprised to see the Wi-Fi setup worked first time with no hassle.
I chose my local team (Portsmouth) and after about 5 minutes of searching I finally got a matchup. Even though I didn’t know how to control the game properly at this point I still had managed to keep the score down to 0-0 at half time. So heading back onto the pitch for the second half all geared up, guess what happens? My opponent disconnected, how rude!
Will there ever be an online game where people don’t quit half way through a session? I thought blow this for a game of soldiers, I know where I’m not wanted and promptly headed for a look at the Wii exclusive Footii Party mini games that feature the Mii styled Ronaldinho. Cute!
‘Juggling‘ lets you use your own Mii in a round of Keepy Uppy; by following the Wiimote instructions on screen you try you best to stop your ball from dropping to the ground. I didn’t mind this mode, but it didn’t always seem to recognize when I had performed the move and I ended up losing a life, slightly fun but more frustratingly flawed. ‘Boot it‘ is a sort of penalty shootout mode where you kick your ball towards point targets in the goal mouth. Either a friend or CPU (Ronaldinho) acts as the goal keeper to try and stop you. Once again this is fun, but the gesture recognition is a little off and you don’t always get the shot you want.
Perhaps the best of the three is ‘Table Football‘. You all know this old pub game where you spin three (or five) rows of plastic footballers (who are stuck on a metal pole at the waist) to try and hit a ping pong ball into the goal. It’s often referred to as the dumb man’s subbeuteo, and I can see why. It’s so strange, even though I’ve never liked Table Football in real life, it’s pretty fun here on Wii, and the motion controls actually work in this mini game, hallelujah!
My biggest problem with this incarnation of Fifa 08 for Wii is that the graphics are truly terrible; absolutely everything is blurry, flat and decidedly ugly. I didn’t expect the Wii version to look as good as the 360 and PS3 formats, but I expected better than this, especially as the Wii version even looks inferior to the PS2 version. The only think I can think that would explain it is if EA have developed this game as if for the Gamecube, but released it on the Wii instead. What’s really annoying is that the graphics in the Footii party mode are really great. The colours are bright, it all looks well detailed and it feels nice and slick. I can’t help but think that EA should’ve created the whole game in this fun cartoony style, it might not have suited the realists out there (you know who you are), but sweet baby Mario at least it would’ve been nice to look at.
I’m glad to say that all of the commentary from Clive Tildsley and Andy Gray is all superbly recorded and sounds great. You still get the odd wry comment (like being told the goalkeeper made a fantastic save when you could clearly see he was no way near it) but that’s understandable and I find it amusing. What impressed me more was the range of crowd noises, and that they really do vary according to how the match is progressing and even which teams you are using. So overall it’s a big thumbs up in the sound department guys.
Control wise, in this game you can either choose to play in family mode (without the Nunchuck) where the CPU does most of the work for you (besides the shooting). Or you can play it proper mode (with the Nunchuck), where you control the players yourself. With various flicks of the Wiimote you’ll be shooting and crossing like nobody’s business, or at least, you should be. I found the game a little unresponsive when it came to recognizing the flicks, just like in the Footii mini games. It’s not something you can’t get used to, but definitely stops you playing as fluidly as you might have done previously with a pad. Speaking of pads…where is the option to play in ‘traditional mode’ without the motion controls and using good old fashion button pressing? This is a big oversight in my opinion!
Overall then it’s not all doom and gloom, Fifa 08 for Wii plays a fair game of football and you could probably have a lot of fun with it. Just you’d probably have more if you do happen to own it on a different console. I have it for the PC (I also use a gamecube pad) and playing it afterwards really shows how stodgy the Wii version feels in comparison. This scores an above average, 6 out of 10.
Let’s see if Konami can do any better with Pro Evo 2008 for the Wii when Matt get’s his hands later this week!