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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Fifa 07 hints at beautiful game
By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website

Fifa 07
Another year, another Fifa - but this one is different

Football is the beautiful game and Electronic Art's Fifa titles are always among the best-looking of titles.

The latest release is no different; there may be no next-generation version available yet - the Xbox 360 version is out later in the year - but the PlayStation 2 version still looks sprightly despite the ageing hardware.

Critics of Fifa have always had a list of regular complaints - from the arcade feel of the game play to poor animation of the players and EA has taken note.

The game engine has been re-worked, the artificial intelligence of the players is no longer the preserve of the stupid, the ball physics are new and there are plenty more animations for the players.

But how does it play? The answer is surprisingly well.

Fifa 07
Format: PC, PS2 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox, PSP, GBA, DS, Mobile
Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Enduring appeal: 9
Overall: 8

Gone is the sense that the action is out of your control. The passing and movement of the real-world game is reproduced well and no longer does Fifa reward players who simply charge up the wings and cross the ball.

Shooting too has been overhauled and now you have the sense that you are the one kicking the ball rather than being a bit part in a cut-scene animation.

The online options for the PlayStation 2 are impressive and have been geared to connect the virtual and real world.

You can play as your favourite team through real-life fixtures on a weekly basis against players from all over the world.

And while you are online, breaking news, live scores and results are shown on-screen as part of a deal with ESPN and you can even update your teams with the latest transfer news.

The typical EA spit and polish is present - from the menu systems, soundtrack, commentary and overall visual gloss.

Loyal fans of the series will relish this latest release which is sure to dominate the games charts for some weeks, while some hardened supporters of rival title Pro Evolution Soccer may even give a nod of approval.

And that is high praise indeed.

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