2002 FIFA World Cup

Review: 2002 FIFA World Cup

The FIFA series has always been miles ahead of its competitors. Year after year EA Sports churn out a quality soccer title boasting marvelous graphics, brilliant commentary and sounds effects, an impressive soundtrack, plenty of game modes and, to top it off, a full FIFA license - official players, clubs, and leagues. But in the past this has all come at a price, gameplay. Ever since Konami released International Superstar Soccer, fans everywhere have been mesmerised by its flawless gameplay. Ever since, EA and Konami have been locked in a furious battle for supremacy in the soccer genre. Have EA Sports finally delivered the goods with 2002 Fifa World Cup (FWC), finding the right combination of graphics and gameplay? Let's find out!


Once again, EA have delivered in the graphics department, displaying some of the best graphics seen to date on the GameCube, and easily the best graphics ever seen in a soccer game on any console to date. Players are extremely detailed and animations are super smooth. The immense amount of detail put into the players is most obvious during goal celebrations and other cut-scenes. You can literally see sweat on the players, the pain in their faces from a harsh tackle, the despair when a shot narrowly misses, and the joy when they put home that winner. Trying to find a player on the paddock? Just look at their faces, for the yare fully distinguishable from one another.

However it is whilst playing a game that the smooth player animations really hit home. Jerkiness is no longer apparent in any situation, and players now do exactly what you want them to do – gone are the days of frustration where the players take the ball out when you don't even want them to touch it! Movement is quick and responsive, allowing for you to play near the sidelines without the ever-present fear of going out. Player jerseys are near perfect in resemblance, and numbers are easily seen. On the down side though, game suffers from minor slowdowns during rainy weather, and also when the game enters cut-scenes. Thankfully these are barely noticeable, and its impact on gameplay is virtually non-existent.


As always, this EA have included a fitting soundtrack for this title. Commentary is also impressive, seeing the return of John Motson and Andy Gray to keep you up to date with the game. Andy Gray also provides a lot of background information on things such as players, cities and stadiums. Easily the most expansive commentary effort thus far. Sounds effects are also solid. Good passes, corners, goals and even send-offs excite the crowd. Players can be heard calling for the ball, crying out for penalties, and cringing in pain from being whacked by the soccer ball right where you don't want it. A minor flaw is that the goal posts seem to make the same 'ting' noise no matter how hard they are hit, but you hardly notice as you start screaming profanities about how close the shot was…


But, as most soccer fans realise, that it takes more than just good graphics to make a great soccer title. The FIFA series improves with every release, and 2002 FWC is no exception. One of the most obvious changes throughout the series is how passing has evolved. Now, in 2002, it finally feels as though they have got it right. There's no more blaming a misdirected pass on the game! You now have full control over the direction and power of your passes, something that is easy to learn, yet difficult to master. Controlling the power of your passes seems a little daunting at first, but as you grow accustomed to it, it becomes one of the games finest assets. Also revised in FWC 2002 is the tackle refereeing system. The angle and timing of your challenge now completely determine whether or not the whistle is blown, and what colour card you are shown. Another amazing feature employed into this latest soccer marvel is the through ball lines. These appear as faint dotted lines that indicate to the player precisely where a through runner is headed. All it takes then is a press of the Z trigger to send your player through a gap, an extremely clever idea indeed.

Load times are very quick, no waiting upon corners, goal kicks, or even the second half to start. Games initially take about 8 seconds to load and from there you play until the 90 minutes is up.

If there is one problem with the game though, it is the severe lack of options, and gameplay variations. With only friendly, or the actual World cup to choose from, there isn't a lot of variation. Custom tournaments have not been included, and the customize mode is also sadly missing. Team management also seems somewhat lacking, and it would have been good to see a few more players from each country being included.

Thankfully, the option to change the game speed is included, as the default is quite slow. Also included are the regulatory game time and game difficulty options. Surprisingly though, there is a severe lack of the little things that hold this game back from being a knockout. 2002 FWC suffers from a lack of teams, little weather and time of day conditions and the frustrating inability to change the stadium and match duration while setting up a game, this has to be done in the options. Another feature that is missing that will annoy the legion of strong soccer fans is the absence of in-game formation and strategy changes. Instead of being able to make changes on the fly by the press of a button (or two), you are forced to pause the game and go through the options. This makes it frustrating to send your players on the attack, or set an offside trap – something that is hence impossible to do in multiplayer as they can see you making changes.


N-Europe Final Verdict

A fantastic soccer game, no question about that. Some minor flaws though.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability5
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Superb Visuals
Realistic models


Lacks modes
Lacks options
Lacks teams

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