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FIFA 2000 (PC) Review

Background Info



One of the major sequels I looked forward to this year, next to the Star Wars movie, is EA Sports' continuing saga of its soccer series. Before receiving this game in the mail, I had jogged through my head a number of ideas that I might hope to see in the new game. Also, I was wondering how EA could continue the improving of the game year after year. Could they have finally hit the long and inevitable dead end? Could they actually improve on it best title so far, FIFA 99? What surprised me the most, I had to work late one night and upon coming home to the sounds of shouts and cheers, I found my wife seated behind my PC playing FIFA 2000. My wife has tried out the new titles that have come out each year from EA, but not since FIFA 96 has she continually played like this. So to benefit you readers, the review of this game comes from both of us.

Presentation/Graphics : 93
There is no denying FIFA 2000 has top-notch graphics. Players are modeled with more "curved" features to give them a less "boxy" look, but as this brings more realism to the players, it seems to have taken a step backwards. The clarity of the players seems to have diminished a bit and as they play on the field, we get the impression that the players are not as crisp as the stadium they play in. Players get some new looks with new facial features, hairstyles, and facial hair to further define originality. The players are a lot more animated during cut scenes such as after scoring goals and penalty situations. The players even talk to the camera after scoring a goal.

Stadiums have been taken to a higher level. There are benches on the field now, but unfortunately they are not occupied with reserves. Crowd animations are a new feature; as the game plays on, you can see clapping, jumping, flag-waving, etc. coming from the spectators. This really adds a great feeling of excitement to the game. Stadium lighting and weather conditions seem to resemble FIFA 99 and we cannot say there are improvements in that area.

Presentation/Audio : 87
The opening song after starting the game does not have the type of catchy tune that is in FIFA 98, World Cup 98, or FIFA 99. In our opinion it does not really fit the game. The other background music that plays navigating through the menus is pleasant and one of them, with a few words added, could be a better opening song.

The commentary has been redone with new announcers, Julie Foudy of the US Women's National Team and Phil Schoen of the popular sports channel, ESPN. As purists to the game and playing it all these years, it is not the same without Jon and Chris. EA has included an 80,000-commentary database in the game, but it only took a few games from either of us before Julie Foudy started repeating herself. The commentary is very accurate and follows the game with a natural flow.

Stadium sounds have added depth giving a better feel. Crowd cheers follow the game as the ball gets closer to the net. You can feel the tension building for a goal. Another thing that is impressive is the ability to tell which side of the stadium a team's supporters is on. Now this may depend on the sound card you are using, but it really does gives that extra, added improvement.

Interface/Options : 94
Navigation is easy and well defined as EA has always done. The game has 15 different leagues including the addition of the Major League Soccer from the US. There are also 40 classic league teams if you want to browse through the "good ole days." FIFA 2000 has a player editor with unlimited options to adjust the stats. Uniforms can be adjusted by differing basic designs and colors. Team Management menus are well defined and give a great layout to team positioning and are chockfull of easy-to-read stats so you can design your best attacks and defenses. EA has crammed in enough modes of play such as training, leagues, and tournaments to keep users busy for months.

Gameplay : 94
This is the most noticeable improvement in the game. Playing against the AI really keeps you on your toes. They are much more aggressive and seem to have the ability to learn your play making and have a counter-attack for it. Emotions tend to arise in the game, creating rivalries. A foul can lead to pushing and shoving by the accused in the cut scenes that follow. If a foul leads to an injury of a player, watch him roll around on the field in agony, as the shoving and yelling between other players begin. Mid-air collisions are a new feature. If both players go up to head the ball, a collision can result, leaving one or both players sprawling on the field.

EA Sports has added a new in-game feature while playing. Below your player with the ball appears an arrow which distinguishes the difficulty of a pass. If you are going to pass, and the arrow appears red, it means that player waiting for the pass is heavily covered by the defense. Green means he is wide open and yellow means partially covered. This is a great feature to know off-screen how well your forwards are covered by the opposition. FIFA 99 had a great feature that has disappeared in FIFA 2000. The circle under the player you controlled would start to darken as the player tired. It appears this feature has been taken out of the game making it difficult to tell if any players are tired on the field. We both noticed ourselves going to the Management menu to see if anyone needed a shot of Gatorade.

Player controls are easier to perform. Headers, bicycle kicks, and others happen with only a click. It is difficult because of the added aggressiveness of the AI to get most of the lobs and corner kicks to your player in front of the goal. FIFA 2000 has a set play feature for free kicks, corner kicks, and throw-ins. This is a good idea, but need some improvements to be a full enhancement.

Goalie movements have some improvements; the goalie will snatch any passes close to him, such as passes from the outside of the box to the front of the net. Breakaways by your forward do not fully guarantee a goal either; the goalies have become much better one-on-one. Some of the bugs that plagued FIFA 98 and 99 still remain. Shots from the end line are still unable to be grabbed by the goalie causing the shots to bounce off him into the net. Some lobs that the goalie should be catching in mid-air are going over his head to that awaiting forward behind him.

Injuries to players have increased; many games we have played see two and three players getting injured during the match. This adds realism and can add frustration on your part. You can be playing an easy team and have the game won but you know ahead of time the next match you play is a tough one. A couple of slide tackles can have your star forwards injured leaving you with no offense for that tough next match. Who said life was fair?

Replay Value : 88
FIFA 2000 has a lot of minor improvements to give realism to the game. Gameplay is at its best in this title but at the harder difficulties, the pace of the game gets ridiculously fast. It seems you cannot hit keys fast enough to keep up with the AI. We both prefer the medium difficulty, as it provides a good balanced challenge, not too fast gameplay, and keeps us on our toes. Newcomers to the game have the Amateur difficulty to tune their skills and also a practice field. The game is for all types of players that are looking for a challenge.

Overall : 92
The negatives about the game are the announcers, player crispness, and pace of the game. The gameplay is still the best of all and much improved over previous editions. The graphics have some improvements in the stadium and cut scene department. To sum it all up in a nutshell, if my wife plays it continuously like she has, you know it has to be great! As FIFA 2000 still only supports modem and IPX play as a way to challenge your buddies and as our home does not have network capabilities at this time, each night one of us is always asking the other, "Honey, can I have the FIFA 2000 CD now?"

By: Eric Dysinger 10/29/99

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