FIFA 08 (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 08.10.2007 8

It is that time of the year again, when EA unleashes its football update on the world. However, this time round Wii owners will actually only be getting their first taste of the 'soccer' action, despite the system having been on the market for nearly a full twelve months now. Clearly the time has been spent trying to make sure a special Wii control setup could be included, but has this inclusion of Wii-specific motion controls actually hampered the experience or complemented the game overall? Let us take a closer look...

Generally, FIFA games are not the most attractive, with past editions on the GameCube featuring 'players' that looked more like hideous monsters than their human counterparts. However, this Wii edition rectifies matters by throwing around grand stadiums (still packed with lifeless crowds, sadly, that move around en masse as one large blur – will this ever change, though?), complete with life-like players darting around at a fast pace without any slowdown. The only issue has to be that up-close things appear much fuzzier than you might expect. As for the audio aspect, there are definitely a lot of repeated lines on the commentary front (from Clive Tyldesley and Andy Gray), which is a shame and rather frustrating at times as specific ones are regurgitated too frequently, yet the sound quality is high and the crowd is lively enough, adding energy to matches at the right time. Plus the in-game soundtrack is suitably pleasing, as is normally the case with the EA Trax line-ups. This year it includes the cracking new single from The Hoosiers ‘Goodbye Mr. A’ and songs from the likes of Maximo Park, Junkie XL, Bodyrox and Planet Funk. Basically ‘something for all tastes’…

As for the game itself, to be frank, FIFA 08 felt atrocious to begin with, all thanks to the new control system. The game seemed totally unplayable and things looked amazingly bleak for its score in this review. Why was it such a step backwards? What had gone so wrong over at EA? However, realisation kicked in that a little perseverance might be wise due to EA’s new Wii-controls approach not adhering to the familiar set-up of old. So, to avoid thinking the same thing, the key to unlocking FIFA 08’s charm is to start by working through its intensive training regime, listening to Clive Tyldesley explain each manoeuvre, ask you to try it out as part of a dry-run and then go into an actual practice scenario to get a feel for it. Admittedly, running once through all twenty-plus drills does not make you a master, but it certainly helps a lot as you cover topics such as the basic controls, more advanced moves, set pieces, keeper controls and even special tricks.

Screenshot for FIFA 08 on Wii

Once you have got to grips with the basics, it is time to test your skills in the game's main modes. This is where you realise the Wii version has been chopped down for the casual market when compared to its big brother counterparts. The 'Be a Pro' mode is absent, with a special 'Footii Party' option there instead. Here you are faced with a scary Mii-ified Ronaldinho and can face off against him or three other friends (not online, though, sadly) in Juggling, Boot It and Table Football. The first of the three is rather like a rhythm game, with you having to match the on-screen directions by moving the Wii controller, thus making your Mii keep the ball skilfully in the air. Boot It simply has the player try to hit targets by moving the Wii-mote around quickly, and proves annoying after a very short time. Finally, Table Football is the best addition of the lot with the Wii remote tilting function translating surprisingly well into the spinning of each pole with the stick footballers on. Table Football is easily the one that is the most fun with friends...

Screenshot for FIFA 08 on Wii

But what about the traditional football side? Well, you have all the official teams, leagues and stadiums that you would expect from a FIFA game, along with the usual tactics, substitutions, squad rotation (and so on) options found in all football titles (but no management side, sadly). What you also have is a great sense of speed as the game proceeds to hurtle at a fair pace, which helps to keep the action hectic enough to mimic real life. Unfortunately, there are minor gripes when it comes to the Wii controls, even when you have learned the basics in the Soccer Academy. As there are similar moves mapped to the same Wii-mote movements (they are meant to be 'context sensitive', adapting to the situation you are in), it means the computer gets confused when you are rapidly flinging the controller around, and suddenly that perfect header you wanted to do turns into a slide-tackle, giving away any advantage you had and possibly even leading to your player being unfairly carded.

This means you really need to be careful in the Advance Controls set-up and time everything perfectly, which is easier said than done when rushing around, desperately trying to grab that elusive goal. Tricks are also mapped to unusual button and movement combinations and, for example, having to tap 'Z' to trap the ball and then hold 'C' and flick the Wii-mote left or right to initiate a particular move does not feel fluid or become second nature until you have played at least ten or so quick matches and focused purely on that side of your game. And even then it takes a while longer to start pulling off the moves without thinking twice about it.

Screenshot for FIFA 08 on Wii

For those unsure about the controls, though, there is the handy addition of the EA Family Play option, which lets players rely purely on Wii-mote controls, leaving the Nunchuk behind, and all the player movements to the computer. This means you can work on the flicks and tricks, or even the simple nature of passing and shooting, until you feel confident enough to stick the Nunchuk back in and continue with the Advanced set-up. This mode also helps you whenever you need it, with guidance no more than a mere press of the '1' button away. Soon enough you will have learned what you need to do and start charging your way into the various tournament modes on offer, aiming to become champion of your country's league, plus battling onto the online scene to take part in the worldwide group stages and competitions (via EA's servers, not Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection, meaning a long-winded sign-up process for newcomers, but the removal of Friends Codes!).

Overall, the Wii controls do add a nice new element to the proceedings, especially once you have managed to get your head round them properly. However, having to do things like lift both controllers above your head and literally do throw-ins each time can seem too gimmicky and will grow tiresome, as can prolonged use of passing and shooting via the flicking technique. Yet there are many sides to it that will leave you in awe, such as curling the ball by tilting the controller left or right. Also, the ability to change tactics on-the-fly by holding the 'C' button and pressing any direction on the D-pad helps to make the game far smoother than ever before. Get some friends round your console and watch as mayhem, of the fun variety, ensues...

Screenshot for FIFA 08 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Amazingly enough EA has tried something different for its first football effort on Wii and succeeded in coming away victorious. Motion controls might not be the first thing you think about when playing yearly updates of football titles, but now EA has shown how to do it, perhaps people will think twice! Whilst the game is not without its flaws, the core football action is still present and correct, works wonderfully and has the added bonus of a new control set-up to master for those who think they already know it all.

Developer

EA Canada

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

looking forward to seeing how Pes does the controls.After playing fifa since fifa99 i recently tried Pes and havent turned back since.

Good game on Wii? Nooooeway!

So, I don't get how the online works for EA games. Is it just like WiFI but with a different name?

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

I don't mean to criticize your reviews every time, and I understand the final score is not an average... but with 2 8s, 1 9 and 1 7, wouldn't it have been more logical that the final score was an 8? Or the other scores a bit lower?

I agree with Canyarion it should be an 8, I just don't get how you give the game scores because i know it's seperate from the graphics sound gameplay and value scores but shouldn't it be added together and divided by 4 witch would give it an average of 8?

Follow Me on twitter :: @Stulaw90 || My Youtube || Backloggery
NNID: Stulaw

Not necessarily, guys. We don't score in averages, as you rightly say, and so we score each category completely individually. The final score we award a game reflects how we feel about the game as a whole - in this case, while some values were higher than others, it was felt that there was no justification to give the game a higher overall score. With an overall score given by average things become a little inaccurate, as some areas have more weight in our decisions than others - gameplay over graphics, for example.

You may be used to review systems from other sites where they use averages of other categories to get their overall score, or they're a bit more lenient on games, but we operate strictly on the basis of a 5 being an average game. A 7, on this scale, is a respectable score and reflects a game that is not to be ignored and is an example of a good, well-above-average title (where a 6 would be slightly above average, 8s/9s are examples of fantastic games and a 10 is a game that's as close to perfection as possible).

Anyway - great stuff Adam. :Smilie Might pick this one up!

Superlink, EA games' online operates over servers separate to Nintendo's own, their EA Nation servers. I'm not sure exactly how they are in comparison, but I've heard they're more reliable in some respects.

So as you're using EA's servers, can you play against X360 or PS3 players?

Superlink, EA games' online operates over servers separate to Nintendo's own, their EA Nation servers. I'm not sure exactly how they are in comparison, but I've heard they're more reliable in some respects.

You have to be careful, thou. You can not play for unlimited time. Servers for FIFA2005 (I think) were closed mereky 2 years after release. EA is very strict about earning money. Where Nintendo will keep them open much longer, EA closes online-play down. That's a big flaw for me. You have to buy a new FiFa for continuing. So stay on cash and on course.
I do not like Fifa only updateing a name and packaging and letting all the rest stay on last year's level.

Fifa08 may have a right to exist with its new mode for Wii. But why update a game every year for full 50 EUR? Same with their Baseball-brand (Whatever it's name is...Smilie.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Canyarion, I would have probably given the game a 7.5, but didn't feel it had enough to deserve a full 8.

And I'd forgotten about the servers being closed down recently. I suppose it makes sense in a way because who is seriously going to still be playing this two or three years down the line? I'd reckon EA judges things by how many online hits a game gets before shutting it down...

Cheers for the comments, folks :Smilie Sad to see the Wii edition selling the least out of the home console versions in the UK and even less than the PSP edition. The only systems Wii is beating are DS and PC! :roll:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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