Review: FIFA 09 (DS)
Posted 19 Oct 2008 at 17:51 by Mark Lee
|"...the players are as handsome as Ronaldinho and sport heads which make Lego look round, but the actual strips, stadia and presentation elements are all top notch."|
You can always count on certain things in life, things such as the sun setting and rising again, public transport getting worse, footballers getting paid more and more and realistically, EA releasing a new 'improved' FIFA every year! EA would have you believe it is 2009 already but don't believe them! We're still firmly in 2008 but this is a far better title than FIFA 08 ever was.
FIFA has nicely carved out a solid if unremarkable foundation on the DS and as it has seen no real competition from anywhere else; you would have expected EA to put out a 'conference-side' title for the DS. Not so. Credit to EA must be given as FIFA DS has always been about mimicking the console equivalents. And whilst FIFA 09 may only have tweaks to an already winning formula, on most fronts FIFA DS finally matches up to its console cousins.
Be A Pro mode gives you on-screen direction at all times. If only this applied in real life!
FIFA 09's main feature (on all versions) is the Be A Pro mode. Playing as any single player within any team and making sure you stay in position and ply your trade like a Kuyt figure is what Be A Pro is all about. Gladly the DS manages this efficiently. Run into space and press pass and you'll receive the ball yet stand amongst a crowd of players when the ball is thirty yards away and the chances of you getting the ball are about as likely as Joey Barton being given a Blue Peter badge.
Be A Pro not only adds a new dimension to an already tiring mode set, it gets you immersed like never before. We firmly believe that Be A Pro is a brilliant idea and on the DS it works 'nearly' as well as it does on the consoles. We say nearly as we do feel that the added camera modes and graphical edge seen in the console versions make Be A Pro an even more immersive experience. Other modes are as prominent as ever with manager, training, online and tournament modes being in plentiful supply. Throw in just about every league ever created by the hands of FIFA and FIFA 09 delivers in spades.
Obviously this cornucopia of Footballing delight wouldn't mean a thing if the gameplay was poor yet FIFA 09 swiftly takes all three points. Previous FIFA DS outings gave off an air that they were huffing and puffing around the field struggling to keep up with the play at hand. Yet with a slicker game engine employed and (finally) 60fps becoming standard, FIFA 09 is as slick as a baby's backside. And no, it's not as messy. FIFA 09 looks the part and when you're given the chance to watch the slick highlight reels, you'll be astounded by the amount of detail on show. Sure, the players are as handsome as Ronaldinho and sport heads which make Lego look round, but the actual strips, stadia and presentation elements are all top notch.
The presentation is astounding for a DS title.
Special mention must go to the sound too which goes a long way to immersing the player both on and off the field. The commentary is varied and professionally carried out by Clive Tyldesley and the effects of both the crowd and pitch activities are excellent. The songs EA have employed are also as good as ever and they are nicely compressed.
EA have also done a fine job of shoehorning the basic football game controls into the DS. Replicating 08, FIFA 09's controls marginally feel better due to the added slickness seen on the pitch. The touch screen is used for on the fly tactical changes and work well. You can also press onto the pitch picture and a player will run to that position. Handy for those counter-attack moments. You can also use the touch screen to save/take penalties and free kicks. It all feels a little tacky yet it works and more importantly, offers something new and different from the usual button/direction combination.
Thankfully, EA have finally produced THE brilliant portable kick about we've always wanted and we're actually at a loss as to noting any real drawbacks. Perhaps the player models are a little clunky and yes, the DS is still a little cumbersome when it comes to housing titles which traditionally use lots of buttons, but with more quality than the Manchester United bench and more options than a Manchester City scout, FIFA 09 is THE Footballing title for the DS.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Football fans rejoice! FIFA 09 is EA's best footy outing so far and with more modes than ever before there is plenty for DS football fans to get their teeth into here. FIFA shoots! FIFA scores!
Smoother than Flora
More modes than ever before!
Two more shoulder buttons would be a God send!