The world’s most popular game strikes the pitch with more than 300 teams from throughout the world including national teams like USA, England, Brazil, France and Japan and international clubs like Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool plus powerhouse clubs from the past. The world is waiting.
We are admittedly shy about posting soccer reviews – we don’t play, but we do appreciate the sport – and so far, our experience has been limited to FIFA 2002 from EA. That’s why we were surprised to find that we did notice subtle differences in each game, some that help and some that hinder. All apologies aside, we can give you a review based on those experiences, which will help novice players – but veterans may find that the differences run farther and deeper than ours.
Soccer to Me
The graphics in World Tour do a good job of putting you directly in the action. You’ll see correctly animated character models, accurately kicking, passing, and lobbing the ball. The green fields of over nine different stadiums all authentically represent their respective countries, and the stadiums are filled with a moving, raucous crowd that will sway, cheer, and defend their team with their last breath. It’s all a stunning package of good visuals and solid model movement that easily runs alongside FIFA. The different passes and ball handling are all faithfully re-created, with players doing two-footed slide tackles, flighted passes, and deliberate dives.
The commentary is well played, with solid voicing from the European sound crew. The crowd sounds spectacular, and just what you’d expect from hockey – a living, breathing sea of humanity, surging forward during cheers and egging on rivals in close games. Hearing the crowd chant in unison, or playing and hearing their collective groans and sighs, you get a better sense that you’re actually involved in a match with World Tour. There’s not much sound in the game, unless you listen closely for the referee’s whistle, the subtle plunk when a ball is squarely hit, or the muted sound of a player sliding on the grass.
The controls are what make or break soccer games, and the controls in World Tour stand up to the test and pass – although not without reservations. Passing the ball back and forth is not as much a given as it is in FIFA. You have to make sure your lane is clear or the ball will be easily intercepted. To make a player sprint, you have to hold down the R1 button, and not tap furiously on the Triangle button like FIFA, which is good, although the sprint in World Tour is negligible, which is bad. Blokcing, stealing, and tackling are all handled as effectively as in FIFA, but shooting for accuracy and swerving the ball at the end of a shot are new features that make the game exciting – providing you master the rather complicated controls for them.
In the end, we are of the humble opinion that while a good effort, World Tour needs just a little bit more work to contend with FIFA. FIFA handled a little better, but World Tour has a little more depth. FIFA looks a little better, but World Tour has more heart in the animation. FIFA sells a little better – but World Tour is charging down the field with one eye firmly fixed on the game play, and the other focused on the scoreboard. With new features and different game modes (and the inclusion of classic teams, a feature that made Madden a big seller) they just may go into overtime next year.