I have not played anything of note in 2+ weeks, so I happily spent about 30 minutes with FIFA 2005 last night. At this point my impressions are mixed. On one hand, I finally have a sports game, but on the other, the game has some interesting “issues” that may or may not hinder the long-term value of the game.
The first thing I noticed was the piss poor response on the menu screens. The actual interface is very nice and dare I say polished, but the response time flat out sucks. You press a selection and you find yourself waiting for the screen to change. Did I press the button or not? If this is a load time issue, it just plain sucks. EA Sports has the resources to do better. Still, navigation has nothing to do with gameplay, only how you get there, so maybe no one else will care. I doubt it; too many jaded bastards out there including myself!
I am not sure if I will ever get a handle on the advanced controls; you have to switch between the small analog stick to the d-pad and then back to the small stick; pretty tricky stuff for someone my age. Younger readers may have better luck, but the system just does not seem very polished. Then again, I only played about 30 minutes, and I could get better with more experience.
I noticed two other strange things during my initial time with FIFA 2005. First, the inertia just feels strange; almost too heavy. This may work on the console version, but it does not translate very well into the PSP version. Second, the game almost never finishes out of bounds animations. To explain, as soon as the ball is about a foot from going out of bounds on a missed shot, the game changes to the goal kick or corner animations (or sometimes the throw-in animations for sideline plays). Strange stuff.
There is commentary; I think it is pretty much the same as the console version, but maybe not as much constant chatter. To be honest, I really only noticed when there were comments about a goal or a missed chance. The graphics are not bad, but as mentioned below, some of the animations are cut short. The players look decent enough, but you are far enough away from the action that the overall effect of great PSP graphics is somewhat diminished.
I will try to get more updates out later, but right now I am thinking this game is a rental. I have not played PSP World Tour Soccer to get a comparison point so no advice one way or the other. My opinion right now is that I will play this game for a few weeks and sale on eBay – at this point it is not something that I would keep around in my library.
Will post more later.