By Simon Duddy
Soccer game Fifa 2003 has been revamped since its last release and has been previewed by the Windows Middle East team. Read on to find out if the game lives up to expectations.
The latest version of Fifa football is always one of the more eagerly anticipated releases of the year, although some of this has dulled as Fifa games in recent years have offered no great innovation.You can throw that notion out of the window with Fifa 2003 however. The makers of the game have completely re-worked the game engine and much has been made of the influence of the football council in this. Top footballers, or strutting prima donnas (whichever you prefer) Ryan Giggs, Roberto Carlos and Edgar Davids have formed this council and acted as advisers on the game to ensure its authenticity.This makes great PR but we’re sure that the revamping of the game owes more to envious glances at Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer, which has been the best football game of the last few years. Whatever the inspiration Fifa 2003 is clearly light years ahead of its predecessor. We played the game on the PS2 and there will also be PC, Xbox, Playstation and Gamecube versions. The lavish graphics remain intact but now the pattern of play and movement of players has an uncannily realistic look.The AI is the ace in the pack here, and real football fans will appreciate the convincing runs that players make, which allow you to build moves just like a team in the real thing. Controls have been adjusted to make them more intuitive and more like Pro Evolution.We were particularly fond of using the R1 button to make the player run faster, which is much simpler to grasp and leaves the main buttons for shooting, passing and tackling. This all adds up to compulsive gameplay of the kind that will see people pass entire seasons without a glimpse of sunlight.