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World Cup 98 (PC) Review

Background Info

Once every four years, soccer teams from around the world gather to play for the honor and glory of being the best team in the world. This year, 32 teams will gather in France to battle for the Jules Rimet Trophy, and one will be crowned World Cup Champion. EA Sports commemorates the greatest and largest sporting event in the world with World Cup '98, the official video game of the 1998 tournament. EA Sports got a kick past its software rivals by getting the offical license for World Cup 98.

Presentation/Graphics : 94
The graphics in World Cup 98 are excellent. Most of the players look just like they do in real life. The team kits are pretty accurate, although some of them aren't updated (but you can't blame EA Sports for that). The stadiums were really well done. Most of the out of game graphics are excellent as well.

Presentation/Audio : 86
The audio is really great. People have informed me that they don't like the intro song, Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping," but I would have to disagree with that because it provides a soccer atmosphere with the exciting and fast moving song. The commentary for World Cup 98 is the best I've seen in any soccer simulation.

Interface/Options : 85
The interface was good, yet still somewhat confusing. Sometimes I couldn't tell what the little buttons meant, so I had to move my mouse over it to see. I guess EA Sports was trying to take up less screen space. Other than that, the interface was ok for me.

Gameplay : 94
The gameplay in this game is VERY similar to FIFA 98 : Road to the World Cup. There are some minor improvements such as smarter goalies and better computer AI. The improved play of the goalie is a huge and much needed feature. If you happen to score, the celebration afterwards is excellent and realistic. You might see Romario doing cartwheels or see Shearer doing flips. Or if the goalie happens to be in a bad mood, he will take it out on the camera man.:) "In Game Management" is also a big plus. You can set up strategies on the fly. World Cup 98 also includes 16 classic teams from the past. The classic teams date back as far as the 1930 World Cup! I feel the commentary is improved also.

World Cup 98 has some poorly implemented features. Corner kicks. Almost 99% of the time if you kick the ball within the reach of goalie, he will always grab or hit it away. On the other hand, if the ball is kicked low and to a teammate of yours, you then have a good chance of the ball getting to the back of the net. If the corner kick is a lob that is in the goalie box, he will hardly ever miss the save. This isn't really realistic gameplay. In real soccer, the goalie doesn't always save the corner kicks.

Difficulty : 86
Personally on World Class mode, I still haven't recorded a win. I'm not exactly the best player out there, but I'm pretty good. So this game should be fun to try to beat on World Class mode. Although for some reason, on World Class mode, the computer players play like a team made up of supermen. I tried playing Brazil vs Brazil on World Class mode to test my theory. The computer players looked like they were on speed or something because they were moving a lot faster than I was, and I was using the sprint button constantly too.

Overall : 92
Although the game offers much improvement over FIFA 98, there also were a lot of features that should have been included to make the game more enjoyable. However, if you are a true soccer fan, the game will be great for you. The gameplay is improved along with the tactial portion of World Cup 98. The level of gameplay has improved making it a little bit harder. Basically it comes down to the money. If you are rich and have a lot of money to spend, I say buy the game; however if you have to save up for a game, I say wait for FIFA 99 (also, wait until you read its review here at the Sports Gaming Network!).

By: James C. 6/12/98

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