FIFA Soccer 2009
EA delivers its best portable soccer game yet.
With FIFA Soccer 09 for PSP, EA fixed problems that plagued the series and added a pair of new modes that will turn some heads, perhaps even a few that wouldn't normally look at a soccer game.
In the fun Be a Pro mode, you go through seasonal play with your team, strengthening your skills and techniques to help your ball club be the best. There's a lot of depth, with drills and decisions that will affect your player's direction. It'll take some time to invest in, but for soccer fans, it's definitely time well spent. The fact that you have 500 ball clubs, 30 leagues and various custom formations to play around with doesn't hurt either.
Of course, a game can have all the extras in the world, but it needs the gameplay to back it up. Fortunately, FIFA 09 is tighter than ever. The collision detection is no longer wonky, meaning that you can pass to aggressive players and not have to worry about the ball slipping away. Shooting is terrific, thanks to newly enhanced mechanics that make lobbing the ball into the goal easier. Defensive plays and techniques are just as balanced, as you can steal the ball (watch out for yellow flags) and rush after it. The new Pro Skill Moves are nice, too, letting you add a bit of style to your plays. There are more than 30 available, so if one doesn't suit your tastes, another definitely will.
Along with the improved controls, FIFA 09 also has a new soccer quiz mode. You can test your knowledge of the sport and its players, unlocking bonus items and goodies. There's also online league play available through Infrastructure Mode, but when we hopped online, we didn't find that many players. Perhaps closer towards the holiday season, we'll see a pick-up in traffic. Let's certainly hope so, because it has numerous options worth taking advantage of, including various leagues and tournaments.
If soccer's your thing, FIFA 09 is a must buy. Not only is it one of the few soccer games available for the system, but its extras will keep you busy for quite a while. Foot the bill and pick it up.
What's Hot: Gameplay is better, Be a Pro will suck you in, collision detection is no longer an issue, lots of teams and a cool soccer quiz mode.
What's Not: Presentation isn't all that different from last year's, not many people online playing through Leagues.