2006 FIFA World Cup Germany (Nintendo DS) Review

By John Boyle 17.05.2006

Review for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on Nintendo DS

The joys of summer are nearly upon us. Long nights, blazing sunshine, the bluest of skies and every 4 years we have a summer of football to keep us going. This year is one of those special years as all eyes fall on Germany as we laugh, cry, cheer and moan as the greatest players in the world (apart from Scotland- Kirin Cup holders) fight it out for the gold trophy we all desire. And with every World Cup we (of course) have to have the obligatory officially licensed game from EA that tends not to match the joy of the greatest tournament in the world. This year is the first year that the Nintendo DS is subjected treated to an officially licensed game, can it do the impossible and replicate the World Cup magic on a handheld? Let us see...

Let's not beat about the bush here, this is easily the worst game on the DS and possibly the worst game on a Nintendo console since... well... the last World Cup game on the GameCube. EA have succeeded in creating a game that is painful to play and devoid of the joy, glamour and excitement of the World Cup. It's staggering that the developers thought this was acceptable to put out, the only explanation must be that this was a stereotypical lazy cash in...cost effective for EA but eroding the souls of those who play it.

Upon booting the DS up you are presented with the obligatory slick front-end screens. EA have been honing their presentation for over a decade now and boy does it show with this effort. The DS speakers pump out summer songs as the World Cup mascot smiles at you through the screen. Eurovision esque flag/city blended pictures fade in and out and it all looks very nice and "official". Presented with modes that allow friendlies, qualifying, the World Cup and a pseusdo training mode you'll no doubt go for the World Cup and ignore the pointless other modes. Leaping into the World Cup mode you are presented with all the nations, with all the rosters and it's all typical EA fare. However no amount of tarting up can mask a bad game...

Screenshot for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on Nintendo DS

The opening game of the World Cup... highlight of the sporting calendar. Where the world puts aside it's difference and joins together to watch a sublime game of football. So why the hell does the DS destroy what should be an exciting event even in electronic form. The crowd roars as the team comes out making the commentators tough to hear. Nice touch... or is it. The crowd doesn't seem to be settling down... oh dear... drowning the commentators out wasn't intentional. It's an actual flaw with the sound levels. Doesn't bode well. The camera pans out so we can get a glimpse of the Berlin Olympiad Stadion, the home of the World Cup this year and an icon of German football.

The stadium isn't half bad, flags flutter and they even have the "cut out" part of the stadium behind the goals. The players are pretty poorly animated and graphically weak. Same as Fifa 06 really, although it would've been nice to see some sort of advance as the devs got used to the console. The players get into position for kick off and the hearts starts pumping that bit faster. Time to lead your team to glory!

Screenshot for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on Nintendo DS

Well not quite. Upon kick-off it's patently obvious that World Cup 2006 on the DS has as much in common with football as religious genocide does. Passing is laborious and never does what you want it to, and chasing passes is hilarious thanks to the lack of speed players have. These combined make simple things like counter-attacking, wing play and even normal attacks nigh on impossible. Shooting is also a pain in the proverbial rear end. The shooting power bar appears and flies up at the start then slows to a crawl, then speeds up at the end. So actually gauging a decent power is nigh on impossible. Ninety percent of shots either trickle into the goalkeeper or injure a fan in row Z. When it does go in it's such a lame goal and the celebrations are so laboured that you don't get that great feeling you should do when scoring. The players also move like geriatrics, so stiff and turning is murder... all combines to make playing a game of football nigh on impossible. How on Earth did so many flaws get through quality control? One flaw is understandable but almost every facet of football has something wrong with it... pathetic.

The difficult is also a big factor. You have several difficulty levels; ranging from amateur up to world class that should give you a gradual gradient of difficulty to give the game a great lifespan. On amateur level the opponent never tackles, never attacks and gives you so much time to launch attacks and try to score. Alas so does semi-pro and professional level. There is so little difference between the bottom and second highest difficulty level. World-class difficulty level is different; it's like your DS is angry at you making it play such a bad game and decides to teach you a lesson by not giving you a hope in hell. The computer passes like Beckham, shoots like Rooney, tackles like Maldini and moves like Martins. You simply can't get the ball off them, so the two difficulties are really "Very very easy" or "Butt clenchingly difficult".

Screenshot for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on Nintendo DS

Matters aren't helped by our "friends" the referee and linesmen, men and women who seem intent on making an already terrible game even worse through the most outlandish decisions ever. Any attempt to perform a sliding tackle is jumped on in a way the Spanish Inquisition would be proud of. The linesmen aren't much better with offsides being dealt with very poorly. Hanging on the shoulder of the last defender and spinning off as the pass is played beating the offside trap is not an option. If you are near the last defender when a pass is played you WILL be offside. No ifs or buts. As a result games are stuttery and the already pathetic pace of the game gets pulled down even more. The yellow card count flies up as a result and the whole game starts to fly towards the unrealistic.

That's a problem with the entire game; it tends towards the unrealistic side of football. Football games are all about that magic moment when you suspend disbelief and for a moment you are in the game. You aren't controlling Prso; you are Prso as he scores for Croatia to cap off a fine comeback against the World Champions. That's what real football is all about, that one moment when the world holds in breath and watches you try and change history. The likes of Sensible Soccer, PES, ISS and Football Manager all manage this and are revered in the industry because of this. World Cup 2006 plays like a game, it is in no way a football game in the same way as those described previously. Key aspects are faulty, you can't apply real life knowledge of the sport to it... instead you have to work within the confines of the game. This would be in if the actual game was solidly designed, but this game is littered with flaws that make it practically unplayable. It's typical of EA's cash in mentality though; the GBA version seems to be of the same quality and I have no idea why the public keep falling for it. But they do and EA plainly think so little of us that they can shovel any dire game into our consoles and we'll like. So readers of C3 take note, this is easily one of the worst games ever made. Littered with flaws and bugs it makes a mockery of the most popular game on the planet. Don't buy it, don't give EA encouragement. Just put that

Screenshot for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

0/10
Rated 0 out of 10

Awful

This game is the worst game the DS has seen and the worst game gaming has seen in a while. Quite simply this is a pathetic effort at recreating the perfect game and is in no way playable, enjoyable and realistic. Stay away at all costs, this game shouldn't be wished on your worst enemy.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  0

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Apr 2006   North America release date Apr 2006   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Apr 2006   

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