DS

North America

2006 FIFA World Cup

by Stan Ferguson - June 7, 2006, 12:41 pm PDT
Total comments: 5

6

Want a portable, fun, and easy to learn soccer game? Yeah, so do I.

It’s imperative to start off this review by stating that this is not a bad game. It’s just barely better than mediocre. This game isn’t meant for the average person to pick up and play; it is for the hardcore soccer fans and people with higher than average dexterity. If the DS exists to keep games simple, then FIFA World Cup 2006 is the rebel of the lot.

FIFA has all the trimmings of being a pretty DS soccer game, but it lacks much of what makes a sports game fun. While the game does at least allow for single card download play, there is the issue of finding someone to play with, and as I stated in the GameCube World Cup review, sports games are best when they’re played with other people (with rare exceptions).

The menus are impressive, the music selection is nice, and the presentation is clever, but the game is boring. If a development team is going to make a sports game for the DS, this is the perfect interface. There are no vast catacombs of menus, the songs that play are pleasant without being totally distracting, and the little fun-facts provided during loading screens –yes, loading screens– are nice little touches. When you start up a World Cup game and see the confetti floating down upon the field as the opposing teams line up, you wouldn’t be amiss to think, this game is going to be damn good.

Prepare yourself for disappointment.

The colors are dark, the action moves slowly, the controls are cryptic, the movement feels sluggish, and the touch-screen strategy changes are pointless. The gameplay is passable, but unless you’re a hardcore soccer nut and a veteran gamer, there’s no reason to bother. Portable games should be easy to pick up and play. This game has too steep of a learning curve. Quite a bit of practice will be required to do well against the easier teams. When you finally do improve, the game is too easy.

An example of the insanity that went behind the creation of this game is that rather than keeping things relatively simple with the button placement, each button has two, sometimes three functions, many of which are dependent upon pressing the L button. For variety, the game includes an “arcade" control option, that does nothing more than change the location of two face buttons. On top of that, there are the needless touch-screen tactics in which you can change your formations on the fly. I’m not sure how they planned on gamers actually using this feature. Sure, the placement is next to the right thumb on the far right of the touch-screen, but you’ll never have time to take a break from using the other four buttons and select a formation from the mini-screen menu.

If you were to bother continuing the game out of sheer intestinal fortitude (or a mad love of soccer games), there is plenty to keep a man busy for a while. Several cheesy mini-games alternate between using the touch-screen and the face buttons. In addition, there are the requisite unlockables (posters, trophies, etc). None of the mini-games are particularly enjoyable, but they’re there, and they break the monotony as well as provide you with some practice.

Sadly, at this point, there are no great sports games on the DS. At best are these not-bad ports of console games. The hope, of course, is that one day someone will figure out that maybe sports games don’t need to be perfect simulations in order to be fun. Granted, there is a place for sims, but the DS is not it. The DS sports games should have a more arcade feel to them and should take advantage of what the system does well. I understand that the WiFi service may not work with games that require so many models on the screen at once, but, in these cases, the game should excel at being single player entertainment.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6.5 7 5 6 6 6
Graphics
6.5

The fact that there are so many polygonal models at once is impressive, but oh my Jesus, they are ugly. Often times you may confuse your players with apes in uniform. The greatest travesty is the dark colors of the game. It’s boring to look at.

Sound
7

There’s little in-game action that requires great sound, but the judicious use of the announcers and the background music in the menus does add a little enchantment.

Control
5

No portable game should require so much practice in order to play effectively. The fact that the face buttons have so many unique functions can be confusing, and the use of the touch-screen to change formations is an ineffective gimmick.

Gameplay
6

If you’re in need of a soccer fix while on the go, this game is passable, though not particularly thrilling. The mixture of boring graphics with sluggish movement makes for a fairly dull experience.

Lastability
6

The single-card download multiplayer is great if you ever have a friend over. The unlockables are great for completionists. The game, however, is no siren song.

Final
6

Just barely above mediocre; definitely in the tolerable range. This is not recommended unless you just have to have a portable soccer game.

Summary

Pros
  • Nice menu interface
  • Single-card download multiplayer
Cons
  • Control scheme is too complex
  • Dark and dull graphics
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

PryopizmStan Ferguson, Staff AlumnusJune 07, 2006

I disagree completely with this review. People with opinions like these should be eaten alive by mutants.

vuduJune 08, 2006

So one TalkBack thread wasn't enough to contain the might that is 2006 FIFA World Cup, eh?

KDR_11kJune 08, 2006

Well, there are multiple versions of the game...

vuduJune 08, 2006

Wow; I didn't even realize they were for different systems. PGC really needs to better indicate which system their reviews pertain to.

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Genre Sports
Developer Electronic Arts
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: 2006 FIFA World Cup
Release Apr 24, 2006
PublisherElectronic Arts
RatingEveryone
eu: 2006 FIFA World Cup
Release Apr 28, 2006
PublisherElectronic Arts
Rating3+
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