Are you a big Soccer fan? Do you absolutely love FIFA games? Then
Fifa 08 is EA Sports' first step into the Fifa franchise for the Nintendo Wii. It's a game based on, probably, the most popular sports in the world: Soccer. You can call it Soccer, Football, Futbull, Ballon or whatever you want, everybody knows this, what it is about and so far EA has (mostly) delivered the same experience you could get in this sports but in a video game format. Will it do the same for the Wii? Let's find out …
As you would expect, Fifa 08 for the Nintendo Wii uses motion sensing controls. Does it work all too well? Not really. A is used for passing, B for through passing, the control stick to move your player and the Z button to run faster. Now this all seemed pretty simple right? Well how do you shoot? By making an upward swing with the Wiimote and let me tell you that it is actually one of the most frustrating things in the game, it never works like you want it to. Pretty much all of the ''physical'' moves are controlled by motion sensing. The more you swing the Wiimote, the stronger your shots will get … but there's a little tricky thing; if you swing your controller a little too much on the left/right, you'll only send your ball into a nice flight outside the stadium. The shooting demands a lot of precision.
While it does seem somewhat decent on paper, this control scheme doesn't fit in well with the game. When you're approaching a goal keeper and you're about the shoot, you don't have the time to go into precision, you just want to shoot. Ultimately this does make the game a little harder (if you're playing at a medium or high level of difficulty) but the good side is that when you make a goal, it's very rewarding because you've made a lot of efforts to get it. But in the end, the boring controls hurt a lot the replay value. Fifa 08 also features controls for casual gamers (called Family Play), you only perform simple tasks like shooting or passing while the game handles the rest. This is a very good addition if you want some non-gamers to play with you in this game.
The game also features mini-games like table Football (aka Baby Foot for some), Juggling (where you just perform simple little moves to keep juggling the ball) and Boot it, where you just shoot the ball at a goalkeeper. None of those mini-games are really worth your time (except maybe the juggling one) especially the table Football game; you need to rotate your Wiimote in order to play and you move the players with the D-pad which makes this mini-game totally uncomfortable.
Fifa 08 also has a lot of regular Fifa games features missing such as the be-a-pro game mode, all you have is ''Kick-Off'' and some challenges (which are mostly dull by the way). But, no Fifa game would be a Fifa game without Online Play right? Well luckily Fifa 08 for the Wii features online play! And you know the best part of it? No Friend Codes! Yes the game uses your EA Nation ID and nothing else, but you still can't communicate with strangers which isn't really that useful in the first place so it doesn't really matter. Online Play can be a little laggy and for some reasons the connection can drop even if technically your connection is fine so this really makes it a little more frustrating. The worst part of Online Play is that the other gamer can see which player you're using (by that I mean that they can see that Triangle on top of your player) and vice-versa which really makes the whole experience cheap since the other gamer would know where you'd be coming from in the game. There's also Interactive Leagues mode for online play which is actually a decent one: You represent you own club online and each club gets a ranking too, compete and win more matches to raise your club in the ranks.
As you would expect from any Fifa game out there, licensed music are also thrown into the mix. Many songs from a wide diversity of artists make the whole menu navigation in the game a pleasant one. Of course in Fifa 08 you can also unlock many things like extra balls, kits and even stadiums by playing in the challenge mode and winning points. The visuals for that game are somewhat decent, the crowd looks horrible and so does the field on a close-up. At least the animation is fine and the player models are decent. The framerate doesn't drop which makes the whole game running smoothly and any important glitches are also missing which makes the game feel even more real.
Ultimately Fifa 08 for the Wii has many flaws and isn't really worth your money or in some cases, your time. The boring control schemes, along with the lack of any good game mode that could keep you occupied really kills the game. But at least its licensed music, decent online mode and decent visuals could help to not make your experience with this game the most horrible one. Rent it first if you're really that interested in the game, otherwise I would absolutely not recommend it and this is coming from a big Soccer fan.