The FIFA Soccer (Football) franchise from EA Sports has, along with the NHL franchise, been one of my favourites. When I had the opportunity to take a look at FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play for the Nintendo Wii, I jumped at the chance.
I’m not really much of a gamer. I play sports games, mostly, and I’m not a big fan of fussy controls, codes, secrets, cheats, or whatever else the kids are into. Thankfully, FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play is a Wii game with my interests in mind. It is easy to pick up and play, even for the most inexperienced Wii gamers, and still offers the in-depth experience fans of “footi” will love.
FIFA 09 presents two basic options for a unique soccer experience, each with Wii-specific controls. The arcade-oriented game play offers first-time players a chance to jump right into the beautiful game with larger-than-life versions of some of soccer’s biggest stars and the ability to have a Mii play right alongside them.
And the standard game play options are still here too, with classic 11 vs. 11 match-ups with all the trimmings you could ask for. There are also a few mini-games, like table soccer and a fun shoot-out mode, that help fill in the gaps to create a more accessible experience.
The “8 vs. 8 Footi Mode” features arcade-style action with all sorts of cool ways to use the Wii remote. Players can use their customized Mii players alongside some of the game’s biggest stars, including Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho, for a gaming experience that is just flat-out fun. All levels of gaming ability should be comfortable with this version, as shots and passes are made with a simple wave of the Wii remote.
The more traditional version of the game, featuring the classic 11 vs. 11 match-ups, is actually a bit more my speed. Passing is easy, with pinpoint precision controls making it easy to slide a lob through to a teammate. And shooting with the Wii remote is just ridiculously fun. Over 500 licensed teams are available for use with accurate kits.
Also, the comprehensive manager mode provides an involved experience with all of the details necessary to please even the most hardened soccer fans. Sign team sponsors, take care of the club finances, meet the expectations of your team’s Board of Directors, and wheel and deal players on the transfer market. It’s all here. You can even organize training options to hone the skills of your precious squad.
As if that wasn’t enough, players can get some target practice with “Boot It,” a neat little game that allows up to four players to blast away at targets or the goalie in rapid fire succession. And “Table Soccer” uses the Wii remote effectively to play the classic table game. Additional modes offer more balls or other colourful options for this old favourite.
There were a few hiccups with FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play, most of which involved the announcers. The odd errors are present, with the commentators calling slide tackle fouls on just about every play stoppage. For the most part, however, the announcing runs relatively well.
There are options for online play, with EA Sports Interactive Leagues allowing players to compete against rivals over the magic of the internet.
All in all, FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play is great fun. It enables first-time players to pick up the Wii remote and have a fantastic experience without getting stuck in a web of convoluted controls. And experienced players can use the more advanced controls for remarkably realistic excitement. With mini-games that will pull in casual players and manager mode for the more soccer-obsessive, this is one sports game that scores.
FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Content Descriptors. This game can also be found on Wii.