First Impressions: The world's most popular sport comes to the GameCube.
Electronic Arts has spent the better part of the last decade establishing their spot as the King of Video Sports. EA Sports has one of the most comprehensive lines of sport titles, ranging from the NFL, MLB and NBA staples to the niche favorite NASCAR and Rugby releases. The one common thread between all of their games has been the underlying sense of realism that EA has always been able to achieve, especially on the latest generation of video game consoles. FIFA 2002: Road to the FIFA World Cup is poised to continue this tradition of simulation excellence on Nintendo's new GameCube.
Graphically, FIFA 2002 is looking topnotch with beautifully constructed and rendered players. Cross that with outstandingly realistic turf and stadiums and this may well be the closest most of us will ever get to the actual World Cup. This visual superiority is really coming as no surprise though, as this is one of the areas that EA has been excelling in as of late.
Something else that EA has been perfecting is making their sports line easily accessible to game players. They are continuing this in FIFA 2002 with an easy to use control scheme that will give players the ability to shoot and pass with ease. The addition of a "give-and-go" passing feature will help you keep track of more than just your player and should allow players to put together more affective offensive strategies.
The one thing about FIFA 2002 that could hold it back in the United States is just how close to the actual game it winds up feeling. It is no secret that soccer hasn't garnered the popularity here that it has abroad. One theory about why this has happened is that the pace of the game is just too slow for our ADD riddled brains. In it's strive for simulation status, EA is working on capturing the game as realistically as possible, which will most likely include the pacing and low scoring of the sport. This is going to appeal to those of us that have played the sport and those that enjoy a good simulation but will be lost on the arcade action crowd.