First I’d like to say thank you to Rob Aoki, Community Manager w/ Electronic Arts, and the entire FIFA 07 team for having me and the rest of the crew out to EA Canada last week for this event. The event went really well and the hand’s on time with FIFA Soccer 07 was incredible.
The event started on Thursday late in the afternoon when other fellow Xbox 360 community members arrived at the Sutton Hotel in downtown Vancouver. There were members representing a variety of Xbox and Xbox 360 websites like Xbox Solution, Xbox365, The Gaming Truth, and Xbox Users Group among others. I won’t detail the stuff outside of the game so be sure to listen to Episode #18 for more on the event if you want more than just my opinions about FIFA 07.
So we met up with Clive Gorman, Product Manager for FIFA 07, on Friday and headed out to EA Canada for an entire day with FIFA 07. We were met in a conference room by Haroon Qureshi (Inverse Kinematics/Ball Physics), Matt Jones (Art Direction), Simon Humber (Online/Performance Tracking/Database), and Kaz Makita (Gameplay/AI). They each gave a presentation that explained more of what the game was and its new direction. And now a bit of what you all were waiting for…hand’s on reports.
I loved it. It was as visually impressive as any title I’ve seen on the Xbox 360 so far. And the new direction with the AI and physics seem like an impressive redirection for the franchise. I’m not a football fan and to be honest, before FIFA 07 I’d only ever played one football (soccer) game, FIFA 06. But this one was really impressive. It left me wanting more. The new direction of having the player and the ball be two separate forces gave a much improved feel to the game. You no longer feel attached to the ball. Each motion or action you take can create a new movement between the player and the ball. The control just felt more natural and I was excited to see the new system coming along as well as it has. I applaud Haroon for what he’s managed to do with the physics in the game. You’ll have to think like a real player this time around as you won’t be cradled in your moves.
The one thing that I was disappointed in was the fact that there are no weather effects in the game so you won’t get to experience the game in any elements. Yes I know about the leagues and the lack of them but I understand the decision to exclude them. Previous players of the FIFA franchise will no doubt find it challenging and requiring some time to get used to. But I think it will be worth it. I think they have a very solid foundation to build upon for future FIFA titles. I’m looking forward to next week when this game hits store shelves, October 31.