FIFA World Cup 2002 GameCube Review

Surprise surprise, another FIFA game. EA really do “milk” their games. This game is available for all the main platforms. The only differences are in graphics and sound. On PS2 it has the worst graphics and sound and Xbox has the best graphics and sound, GameCube falls in the middle although the framerate is a bit more stable on GameCube. 2002 FIFA World Cup doesn’t count as a sequel to the game it was released shortly after, FIFA Soccer 2002. It’s more of an add-on than a sequel. Although there is a Road to World Cup mode in FIFA Soccer 2002, the farthest you can get your team is qualification for the World Cup. In 2002 FIFA World Cup you can make your team victorious, and those victories do look nice.

Graphics

The graphics in this game truly are amazing. It’s obvious that EA Sports paid a lot of attention in making the graphics as detailed as possible. The characters in the game look a lot like the players in real life. The expressions they make when they score a goal, make a foul, get fouled, and miss a goal are very realistic and impressive. They even get their hands dirty when they fall. The contact they make gives you the feeling that it actually happened. The only bad thing about the players’ looks is their teeth, they look deformed and very tiny while the gums are huge, they remind me of Beavis and Butthead. The crowd is one of the best in any soccer game. They will scream with joy when a goal is scored, boo to a player who fouled someone or at the referee for making a bad call. They hold up messages and flags and wear their team color. They throw confetti and rolls of toilet paper onto the field. The stadiums have been made with extreme care for detail. Sometimes there are magnificent light shows before the game. There are huge mascots filled with air. The shadowing is very good and it looks like the shadow a person would cast if he/she were to be in a stadium. There are real stadiums to choose from and are very detailed which makes them actually look like the stadium.

The celebrations are something to remember. They give you the feeling of satisfaction. The camera zooms in and there is confetti shooting into the air, the orchestra kicks in, and the whole team vividly celebrates as the opponent is in frustration and sorrow. The camera will also zoom in when a player misses a goal, commits a foul, or scores a goal. When someone commits a foul they will question the referee or even yell at him. The player fouled may be on the ground in pain or he could be pissed off yelling and throwing grass at the player who fouled him.

The framerate is good; the graphics are great, if only EA would have added more gameplay and lifespan to the game…

Gameplay

The controls for this game aren’t hard to learn, they are simple and effective. You pass the ball with either A or B. Passing it with A will be on the ground, if you use B you will lob the ball. You shoot the ball towards the goal with X. The power of your shot depends on how long you hold the button. When you press one of the shooting buttons a power meter appears at the bottom of the screen. You rarely need to fully power your shot, it’s usually too much power and it’s inaccurate. You can add ballspin to the ball to make it curve by holding L or R. You can make a fake a pass or fake shot by holding both L and R and pressing a shooting button. In order to make the player you’re controlling sprint you need to tap the Y button. If you have fatigue enabled, players will start to become weary if you make them sprint excessively. One-twos are performed by tapping the C-Stick towards the player you want to perform the one-two with. You can juggle the ball by scooping it up with R or L and pressing any of the face buttons. This is a good way to evade slide tackles or have a little fun with someone who can’t take the ball away from you. When you do not have the ball you can choose the player you control by pressing A. You can also make him sprint by tapping Y repeatedly. There are two ways to try to take the ball, either with an aggressive tackle (slide tackle) or with a friendlier tackle. To make your player aggressively tackle an opponent press B. To try to take the ball in a friendlier fashion, press X. Most of time the friendly tackle will be more effective but there will be moments when an aggressive tackle is needed. If you are not skilled with aggressive tackles I would recommend you to not use them in important games. You risk being your tackle counted as a foul, maybe even a card. Sometimes it might be fun (especially when playing with friends) to purposely tackle a player and try to injure him, but if it’s too obvious you will get a red card ;).

It is clearly visible that EA spent a lot of time in the airplay control system. Players interact with the ball when it comes from the air in the most realistic way. Unlike other soccer games, in 2002 FIFA World Cup, players not only header the ball, but they trap it with their chest, hit it with their shoulder, catch it with their knee, or bust out some stunning foot moves. You can’t control which one of these your player does; he will automatically do the best one for the situation. When the ball is coming to your player you can pass it to someone, hit it towards the goal, or trap it. To pass it towards a teammate you use A or B and hold it down to have the power bar appear at the bottom of the screen. To try to send it into the goal press and hold X for the power bar. This is exceptionally good for scoring some kick-arse/ass goals. To trap the ball you simply press nothing and the player will trap it with his chest or knee or whatever. Players will push and shove for the ball, adding realism to the game.

Sadly, it seems like EA focused on individual play instead of teamwork. There are star players that have better abilities than other players in certain areas like speed, shot, etc. They are ranked in these areas from 1-7 with 7 being the best and 1 the worst. Usually the star players have 7’s in at least one area. When you pump the turbo with a player who has a 7 in speed a streak of yellow light will appear behind him. When someone who has a 7 in shooting kicks the ball hard a streak of yellow light appears with the ball and it will even curve on it’s own without you holding R or L to add ballspin. A problem that is only in the GameCube version is that you can’t control the height of your shot (expect with goal kicks and penalties kicks etc.) like you can in the Xbox and PS2 versions. The height of the ball is determined by the power of the shot.

Sound

The sound in 2002 FIFA World Cup is pretty good. You can hear the players yell stuff at each other like “pass the ball” or “over here” in many different languages. I can speak Spanish and was amazed to hear the Mexican team yell stuff in the true Mexican accent that is likely to be said by Mexican soccer/football players. I have a German friend who I played this game with once and he chose the German team. He told me that what the German players say is stuff in German and it actually sounds like a true German person. You can hear the ball when it is kicked or the sound of metal when the ball hits a post. Players grunt when they are hit and you can hear the sound of someone running into someone else when two players crash for the ball. There are typical chants that come from the audience that relate to the country they are cheering for. When playing with Mexico I heard the usual trumpet horn that Mexican fans usually blow which truly surprised me.

Once again John Motson and Andy Gray are the commentators and they deliver realistic play-by-play comments. The commentators say the players’ real name instead of their number like they do in other games. Andy Gray will occasionally say something about the team’s World Cup history or something about the city hosting the game while John Motson speaks about the game. As you play you will start to notice similar phrases and it might be better to turn the commentary off and enjoy the game’s sound effects.

What I found odd is that EA left out the national anthems. It would make more sense if they put them in especially since they tried so hard to duplicate the sensation of being in the stadium.

Lifespan

This is where the game falls extremely short. There are only two modes in the game, World Cup and Friendly Mode. There isn’t any create your team, create your player, shootout mode, or practice mode. We know the game focuses on the World Cup but maybe the makers took that a little bit too seriously. Replay value isn’t much after you beat the World Cup and unlock the secret teams. The multiplayer is good but it doesn’t make up for the lack of things to do. There are some extra videos but they aren’t too fun to watch. EA really should have put more into the game.

Overall

The game is pretty good and does well duplicating the World Cup and the great sensation of soccer/football. Sadly, there isn’t much to do and it does get boring when there isn’t anyone to play multiplayer with. It is pretty cool for collectors to have this as a collector’s item since it’s licensed by FIFA and all.

7 out of 10
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