Easter. Halloween. Christmas. Fifa… You’d be forgiven for thinking it was an annual holiday. Another year means another game in the successful football series - 11 years now and counting! How EA manage to release an update to a game every year and still manage to add enough freshness to spice things up is a feat unto itself. But with Fifa '06 they’ve done it again.
Looking for realism in your game of footie? You came to the right place. The level of realism in the physics and gameplay is phenomenal and ultimately singles Fifa '06 out of the pack of football games on the shelves. It also makes it very fun to play.
Controls are tight, intuitive and deep – in game help teaches beginners the basics. There's also a secondary control method incredibly similar to that of another football game some might be familiar with – Winning Eleven. It is a nice touch for those who enjoy the rival series' gameplay but are looking for a new experience.
A couple of issues with goalies not responding properly are a small problem, but overall the gameplay in Fifa '06 is top of the game. Single player is split into different modes including a manager mode forming the bulk of the game that lets you take control of teams across 15 years in which you must earn money by maintaining continuous success to make your way in the world.
As always the game livens up when you boot up the multi-player for up to 8 people. Options are plentiful, there are many multi-player modes and the action is fast and fun.
It’s always nice to find an online mode in a game, but in Fifa '06 it doesn’t quite work. Things are a little too fiddly with complicated menus. The game is hampered by noticeable lag too. If you’re willing to overlook these and persevere there’s entertainment to be had, but the single and offline multi-player are far greater.
There's no doubt about it, Fifa '06 looks stunning. Styled to look exactly like a live TV match you could almost be controlling the outcome of a real game. Character animations and stadiums are so lifelike that you may find yourself occasionally forgetting that it’s even a game!
The commentary and crowd noises are fantastic, over a decade of experience has given the developers time to get things more than right. Couple this with a soundtrack to really write home about and you have an aural feast for the ears.
Want to get on the pitch without getting off of your sofa? Fifa '06 is by far the best game in the series and possibly the best game out there. Ignore the online problems, this is the game to get for any self respecting fan of the beautiful game.