FIFA 2005 marks the 11th installment in the series franchise. During this time EA has had little to no competition. Recently games like Pro Evolution Soccer, and Winning Eleven have attempted to give EA a run for its money, but for many fans, FIFA is and will always be the best franchise in soccer games. FIFA games are always packed with official licensed teams, uniforms, and players. However this year EA has taken its FIFA franchise up a whole notch in terms of quality.
Before I start talking about the actual core gameplay, I want you to know how much has actually been put inside this game. EA has gone out of its way to get around 350 varying teams, each with their own official uniforms, and players. Not to mention around 40 national teams like Argentina, and Brazil. A definite plus for those who chose to play as their nationality when online. No matter where you are from, there is a good chance that some team in the game will be representing your homeland.
Here is a basic rundown of the controls for FIFA 2005:
A button â€“ When in control of ball, it passes, but in defense it switches players.
B button â€“ Shot, and Heading.
X button â€“ Cross the ball
Y button â€“ Passes to nearest team member.
Black button â€“ Fake a shot
White button â€“ Indicates the location of the nearest team members.
Left thumbstick â€“ control the direction of the selected player.
Right thumbstick â€“ initiate the First Touch move.
Right trigger â€“ Hold down to sprint.
Ever played a FIFA game before? Well if you havenâ€™t, but know someone who has, then youâ€™ll often hear him or her complaining about how easy the game is. Without trying to sound like a bad guy, I have to agree with them, FIFA games like FIFA 99, 2000, 2001, World Cup 2002, all were amazingly easy. The ball would stick to your feet as though it was glued on, and passing was almost always precise and usually hard to intercept. In addition it didnâ€™t help that the AI was as smart as a doorknob and you could on average score 8 goals a game with little effort. Well with FIFA 2005, a lot has changed. First of all the game has become more like a real soccer match, and real soccer players. No longer will the ball be attached to the playerâ€™s foot, and no longer are you basically guaranteed a successful pass. Every factor comes into play. This allows for passes to be intercepted more frequently, sliding and altering the course of the ball, and more complex maneuvers.
A feature that was in last yearâ€™s installment makes its way back onto FIFA 2005. This of course is First Touch. You can operate this move when you are in control of the ball, by tilting the right thumbstick in whatever direction you desire. This makes the player give the ball a slight touch propelling it into the direction he chose. Then one would usually sprint after the ball, giving him a slight advantage over the opposition. However it usually turns out to be more of a harm then a help. I often found myself kicking the ball into my opponentâ€™s feet and then watching in shock as he sprinted off with it. On the other hand if you master this then you can give yourself a lead over the defender. It will take some time to get the hang of, as using both the control sticks in soccer game seems unnatural.
You know how I was talking about how stupid the AI was in previous FIFA games? Well in 2005, the AI has been completely overhauled. Youâ€™ll find them passing much more often, and basically setting up a play on the go. Give and goes by the AI is quite common. The AI has varying levels of difficulty. Amateur, Semi-Professional, Professional, and World Class. At the lower difficulty levels the AI still proves a threat, but not nearly as much as if you were on World Class. When I played my first game I found myself getting utterly destroyed, which was disturbing for me because I am usually a great FIFA player. Later on I discovered that the difficulty setting was on Semi-Professional as the default, I then changed it to Amateur and had a slightly easier time. Overall, the computer is just as smart as you; at times it will anger you at how they can predict your every move.
The main gameplay modes are, Career, Play Now, Online Play, and Tournaments. The Career mode is like what EA has done in the past, except better in this yearâ€™s installment. Youâ€™ll have to be manager, and run your team in many different aspects. Hopefully over time youâ€™ll be running a great squad. Play Now mode is just a quick game. No manager choosing, no running a team, just pick a team and start the game. You can also use this mode to play multiplayer when not online. Online mode is similar to other what other EA games feature. Optimatch, and Quickmatch are both included. You can even select to participate in online tournaments. Tournament mode is like Career mode, except without the managing aspect. Just pick a team and go through the brackets, hoping to win gold.
Its time to start your career
The career mode in FIFA 2005 is quite possibly the best one I have seen to date. When starting career mode, you will first have to select your team. There are a total of 5 regions each loaded with local teams. You have to sort through all the lists, while viewing the stats and then come to your decision. Now keep in mind you wonâ€™t be able to head up the big name teams from the start, start small and work your way up. I happened to choose D.C. United; I guess you could say I was interested to see how Freddy Adu stacked up against some of soccerâ€™s greats. After selecting a team, you will have to divide up your upgrade points between 8 different categories. The categories are: Strikers, Midfield, Defense, Goalkeepers, Fitness, Medical and Scouts. You are only given but a handful of points to start out with, so chose wisely. Each category is equally important and may change the chance of you winning. To receive more points youâ€™ll have to win games. If you so happen to lose games, which is the case for me (I lost my first 2 games, and tied my third) then your loses will reflect your skill as a manager. This is just a meter that is shown after every game, if you lose the meter will drop, if you win it will rise. The lower percentage you are the higher risk you run of losing your position.
After distributing your points youâ€™ll then be taken to the main career menu screen. Get acquainted with this screen, as it will guide you throughout the rest of your career. You can change the formations of your team, substitute players, see your agenda, simulate a match, change your settings and also see who you are scheduled to play next. Before beginning a game you will have to choose the formation and which players you want to use during the game. This is a fairly easy process, but youâ€™ll want to make sure you are keeping a close watch on your playerâ€™s stats. The reason behind the logic is because each player has his own fitness rating. In my case DC United has a fairly balanced group of fit players. Some being in the 90â€™s (very good) and some a little bit lower. In addition to the fitness of your team, is the attitude of your team. If you lose more and more games then your players, in essence lose confidence. This means even if you have a star player, he can be reduced to a below average soccer player if he isnâ€™t happy. On the flip side if you have a player who isnâ€™t so great, but is happy due to you winning, he can actually perform better. As a manager you also need to get some fresh new faces on the field. This could include substituting some current players, or hiring some new ones. In order for this to happen you will have to make sure your scout category has enough points. As your team is gradually becoming better and better, others will acknowledge and invite you into tournaments, and games. However still keep a close watch on the attitude and strength of your team. If you donâ€™t switch some players around, to give others a rest then you could just be setting yourself up for a disappointment. Overall the career mode is tremendous fun. You are given all the things a manager would have to do, and its actually quite fun.
A downside to the game is the speed in which you run, sprint, pass, etc. It really makes the game boring. However I found the solution would be to increase the speed (in the settings option) from Medium, to Fast. Once I did that the game was much more enjoyable. It was amazing how many things improved, the rate of sprinting, passing, and scoring. I actually benefited greatly from this change. My advice is to change the speed at the very beginning of the game.
Overall EA has stepped it up a whole bar when it boils down to gameplay. Previous FIFA games did not have this much depth, and actual soccer feel. The first touch system along with the responsive players and controls makes FIFA 2005 leagues ahead of its competitors like Pro Evolution Soccer, and Winning Eleven. If this yearâ€™s installment was so well done, we can only imagine at how amazing FIFA 2006 will be.
FIFA 2005 is visually very impressive. Electronic Arts has succeeded in making a soccer game with the correct animation. Players increase from standing still to an all out sprint in a gradual way mimicking real life soccer pros. Everything is very fluid, and since FIFA, like real soccer shown on television is viewed from a distance, this makes the game seem almost life like. Character models are highly impressive. It seems that almost every single team has life like models of its actual players. Freddy Adu actually looks like Freddy Adu. This graphical representation only improves during the cut scenes, which usually happen at the beginning of the game, after a goal, after a foul, and after the game is over. The background scenery is very detailed as well. The stadium looks realistic, however the crowd does not. No soccer game, or any sports game for that matter has managed to capture a good visual representation of the crowd, if EA had successfully done that, then that would have been extraordinary. Something to work for FIFA 2006. Overall the graphics are very detailed, with character animation resembling its real life counterparts.
Electronic Arts always features some â€œAâ€ quality audio in their sports titles, and FIFA 2005 is not an exception. FIFA 2005 has some great commentary, headed up by the one and only Andy Grey, which, if I am not mistaken has done commentary for EAâ€™s FIFA series for quite a few years now. Youâ€™ll hear many of the phrases more then once, but most of the time youâ€™ll be so engrossed in the game youâ€™ll even forget there is commentary. A downfall that all FIFA games have had so far is that the commentary is sometimes too late. An example would be if I made a superb pass and then quickly followed in with a goal, the commentators would either ignore the goal and talk only about the pass, or talk about the pass, and then suddenly cut off to talk about the goal. Certainly annoying if you are paying attention. In addition to the commentary, the soundtrack is up to par with other EA games. Sadly though there is no option for a custom soundtrack, another thing that EA can improve upon next year. Once again FIFA supports Dolby Digital surround sound, so those who have the correct equipment will be able to enjoy FIFA audio at its best.
FIFA 2005 features 18 leagues including the new Mexican league, along with 38 national teams and 11,000 players. With that much packed into the game thereâ€™s no time to be bored. If youâ€™re tired with one team, simply try out another. The long and in depth career mode should keep you entertained for hours to days, to weeks, and even to months. You just canâ€™t get enough of running your own squad. Finally, online play adds a gigantic increase to the games replay value. Chances are thereâ€™s someone online, so slap on that headset and kick his/her butt with your favorite team.
FIFA 2005 is without a doubt the greatest soccer game EA has made. It features everything you could possibly want and more. First Touch system, Online Play, extensive Career mode, so many leagues and players, great visuals, and top-notch audio. Those of you who were disappointed by previous FIFA games shouldnâ€™t hesitate to try this one out. If you are looking for a good soccer game that will keep you entertained for a long time, or at least until Halo 2 comes out, then FIFA 2005 is number one in its class.