EA Sports’ latest addition to its soccer franchise was FIFA Soccer 2002; the game was great, it featured graphical enhancements from its older brother, FIFA 2001, and offered finer gameplay elements, too. Now that the World Cup is around the corner, EA throws at us another soccer title, 2002 FIFA World Cup. Sure the graphics are great, but is that enough to make us gamers want to buy another soccer title? Read on!
Sadly, 2002 FIFA World Cup doesn’t have too much to offer. It has an exhibition mode, multiplayer mode and a career mode that allows you to take a team through the preliminaries and try to make your way to the World Cup. Other than those three features there isn’t really much to the game, but then again, there’s nothing more to the World Cup anyways. However, given that this is a video game, a few more features and gameplay elements could have been added to boost the replay value of the game.
Graphically the game seems to be identical to EA Sports’ latest soccer release, FIFA Soccer 2002. The player models and pitch look pretty much as they did before; however other aspects of the game, like the stadiums, stand out considerably. Have you ever played a soccer game and just stared at the screen as your players were being introduced right before the opening kick off? Well, I have, and let me tell you, the stadiums are so detailed and so beautiful that I felt as if I were actually sitting in the crowd watching from the stands. I was breathless. To accompany these great stadiums are the crowds within them. The people in the stands actually look amazing from far away. Obviously if you get too close you tend to see pixels, but for the first time ever in a sport game the crowds around the whole stadium look spectacular. EA also did an outstanding job in capturing off-play action and crammed it into beautifully detailed cut-scenes. After scoring a goal or getting a penalty the atmosphere is terrific. Slow motion is used to give it that little something special–you simply have to see this for yourself.
The sound in the game is also a plus, EA does everything right in this category. The commentating is dead on–as always–and the crowd seems to be cheering for the right team. Given that this is a game that brings the World Cup to life, you actually hear different languages being used on the field by the players; they tell each other to pass the ball and so forth, which does add a lot to the atmosphere. The unfortunate thing the sound brought to my attention is that you don’t hear much booing from the stands–oh well, I guess that I am being too picky.
Just a note for next year: a great addition to the game would be to add the commentating in different languages, that way you would really catch the essence of what World Cup soccer is all about.
I didn’t get a chance to play multiplayer that much, but what little I did was silky smooth. Not one form of lag was visible, and gameplay was great. One thing I didn’t like about the multiplayer was the fact that the host always had to pick the team for both sides; the player who joins should be able to choose their own team, surely!? That’s just my opinion.
All in all, the game is solid and satisfying. In general, there’s nothing major wrong with 2002 FIFA World Cup, yet there isn’t enough within it to keep you coming back for more; especially when FIFA Soccer 2002 has a much more varied package. The graphics are sweet, the environment, both visually and aurally are outstanding–but is it enough? Lately it seems as though EA tend to focus on a “movie” aesthetic rather than a sports game. Sure, the cut-scenes are great, but after you’ve seen them over and over again, you just tend to skip them anyways. So yes, those parts of a game are important, but not that much.
EA–just a little hint: don’t focus on things that aren’t that important in a game, because you tend to forget about the things that are.
Buy this game? If you want a decent all-round soccer game, then go with EA’s own FIFA Soccer 2002, rather than 2002 FIFA World Cup. They’re essentially very similar but FIFA Soccer is a much more textured and longer lasting title. Enough said.