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Customer Review

on 26 October 2002
I must admit when I settled down to play Fifa 2003 I wasn't expecting too much, even though I was aware that this is a completely revamped game. The previous Fifa games had not impressed me. I'd already snapped up league leader Pro Evolution 2 and rented This Is Football 2003 so I knew what the key opposition was like.
Well I have to say that I am in shock over what must easily be the best Fifa football game ever.
The general presentation and menus and so on are still up to their usual high standards. Watching a Fifa match in broadcast camera mode, however, looks the closest thing I've yet seen to a real game on TV. The graphics are simply stunning and easily put Pro Evo 2 and the good looking TIF 2003 into the shade. The stadiums look great with everything that you would expect to see in them present, except may be the rioting. The crowds cheer, boo, whistle and chant their teams' names. The stadium announcer burbles away in that muffled sound you hear in real stadiums. The commentary by Motty and Ally is also great.
The player animations are simply phenomenal. The famous players are easily identifiable. Players use their bodies very convincingly to control the ball. They turn, twist, jink, chest and stretch very realistically and throw their arms down amusingly when they miss a good chance.
The all important gameplay has been dramatically upgraded. No longer does the ball cling to the end of a player's foot like a sticky ballon. When a player takes a long kick, the ball moves in a realistic Pro Evo way rather than in a strange looping manner that you might expect to see on the moon. Passing along the ground is now ultra slick allowing fast flowing attacking play that didn't seem possible in previous Fifa games. Shooting requires more thought than the usual press and hope efforts of the past too. Games are now exciting without endless goals.
Gripes? Well the auto player selection is still substandard when trying to defend. It seems very hard to get control of your defenders to stop skilful attackers running in on goal. I also thought that the camera views always seemed to show the action either slightly too far away or slightly too near.
So, has Fifa taken the footy crown from Pro Evolution Soccer? No, not in my opinion! The Pro Evo games are still far more intuitive and allow you to produce good attacking and defending play without the effort that Fifa requires. I think, however, that EA have done a good job and Fifa now clearly beats TIF 2003 on gameplay. In summary, if you are a footy fan who can only afford one game then Fifa 2003 will more than do.
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