reviews\ Nov 24, 2002 at 7:00 pm

FIFA Soccer 2003 - GC - Review

The forward receives the pass from midfield, but instead of simply controlling the ball, uses a heel touch to send it to another streaking striker. The attacker moves quickly in the 18, then bends a shot just inside the far post to score on the diving goalkeeper.

FIFA Soccer 2003, an EASports release for the GameCube, is the kind of game that will easily give game players and football fanatics something to get very excited over while showing off the graphical capabilities of the console platform. This game looks and sounds great, and the gameplay is exceptional.

EASports’ World Cup title was a well-done game though it may have lacked a thorough options package, but if depth of play and options galore is something you crave from a sports title, this is the game for you.

EASports has taken a step backwards in terms of player interface, but the prelude is incidental to the fast pace and the terrific action of the game.

Among its new features, EA has added the freestyle control, which utilizes the C stick. While in possession of the ball, using the C stick will enable the player with the ball to put moves on defenders. Also, when dribbling the ball, if you try a turbo, you will move marginally faster. However, combining the C stick and turbo button will allow you to move faster downfield with the ball. Called a knock-on, you move the C stick in the direction you wish the player to go, and he will bump the ball ahead. Then you hit the turbo and he puts on a speed burst. Essentially the ball control won’t slow him down.

Other game features include 16 leagues, 350 licensed teams and more than 8,000 players, realistic deadball dynamics, increased player intelligence and signature skill moves, actual team chants and songs. You can play a club championship, a friendly, a season (with management options included) and tournaments.

You can set up almost any combination of game play in friendly competition, including Bayern Munich against the Saudi national team.

The control elements, with the exception of the C stick additions, are fairly stock for this style of game.

The animation is almost flawless, and while there are stock reactions to goals, the overall look of this game is superb. Of course, the sound elements are terrific. EASports knows how to pick commentators that drive the game rather than detract, and this title is no exception.

Whether clanging one off the crossbar, or putting spin on the ball, alternating between a tap and a drilled shot, the visual quality of this program is exceptional.

FIFA Soccer 2003 is a great game. It shows improvement over previous FIFA titles, incorporates terrific new physical dynamics and brings the overall series closer to reality. This game is a joy and challenge to play.

This game is rated for Everyone.


Gameplay: 9.4
The game is fluid, and does a seamless job. The control elements can be remembered, which leads to some frustration. If you tap the A button (used for passing while on attack) too long while working the ball, your player may actually just pass it away. Crisp commands are necessary.

Graphics: 9.5
The animations are exquisite. The control stick spin on the ball is also well done. The environments are well rendered.

Sound: 9.5
The play-by-play is simply superb, and the soundtrack is solid. The sound effects associated with the game are expected.

Difficulty: Medium
This game is challenging, and while the control elements are kept relatively simple (in most respects), this is the type of game that requires players to work the ball, not just try to dribble through the other team. That kind of selfish play will result in your team be dispossessed of the ball.

Concept: 9
EASports has done a superb job of porting this game to the GameCube. The options package and variety of teams included in this package are fantastic. This game features varying styles of play and talent.

Multiplayer: 8
The game allows up to four players to compete in simultaneous play. This is a very nice feature of the game.

Overall: 9.3
This is a terrific game on this platform. EASports has nailed virtually every aspect of this game. The AI may not be as tough or evolving as it could be (teams tend to hang back rather than play for the offsides against aggressive offenses), but that aside, this game is a wonderful soccer game.


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