Other improvements over past years for the PS2 and PC include slicker animations and a more realistic method of game play, where everything you happen to be doing involves an advanced element of physics and technique. This is something that will no doubt please those who have the odd Sunday kick-about, as the ball moves a lot more realistically than it has in FIFA 07
. As a result, it?s much harder to control; executing a through-ball for instance used to require a tap of the [Δ] button ? now the distance you punt the ball is dependant on how long you hold the button down. The direction the ball is going must also be taken into account, in both your aim and how the ball will travel over that specified distance.
Of course, this makes it all the more satisfying when you do manage to pull off the kind of snazzy kick that Pelé (or maybe Franck Ribéry) would be proud of. The added controls from FIFA 07
on next-gen platforms have been integrated into FIFA 08
current-gen, so you can use the ?camera lock? feature when taking free kicks and penalties. You can also use player-locks during throw-ins and the through-balls. For ease of control, you can also use the right analog stick to pass in a given direction and also to give greater control of the ball in some instances.
Aside from the ?Be A Pro? mode however, the biggest modification has to be the focus on working the defensive AI and player positioning from the ground up. These aspects go hand-in-hand with the tougher controls so as not to be comprehensive in one part of the game and too easy in another. It doesn?t all mean the CPU?s players are impossibly savvy to play ? it simply means the computer players are always analysing the situation on the pitch while staying true to their own personalities. Steven Gerrard for instance won?t wally off into the defence if he?s got nothing to do, he will always focus on his midfield position, for better or worse (unless he?s being played deep in front of a back three because Frank Lampard is wallying around in midfield and getting in everybody?s way).
Graphics and game-wise the 08
plays, feels and acts exactly like last year?s FIFA
, so there?s no point in giving an in-depth impression on all the controls and modes, as you?ve been there before. This year, it just feels like the same, only tighter and more focused on giving a challenging, realistic experience.
As for the on-screen talent, it?s about as up-to-date as you could get. There are also around 1,200 players in the game, along with 30 leagues including three new internationals (one being confirmed as the Irish League, but we can?t talk about the others yet) - so all you stat junkies out there should be as content as ever to trawl through in order to discover some last minute transfer that hasn?t been included.
Now, this year?s EA slogan (it has a new one every year, don?t you know) for FIFA 08
has been ?Total Football ? play together?. It?s good to see that the classic nights in after the pub are far from dead, but this time you can play co-operatively instead of competitively all the time. For the tee-total players, there?s an online mode that sounds pretty dedicated (although playing sober is downright cheating), with clan-style football clubs to create and join; there are also Internet matches to satisfy your day. Looks like this ?Play Together? promise isn?t far from the truth.