Beyond updating lineups and fine-tuning graphics, new editions of sports video games seem to be a formality.The 2001 edition of EA Sports' celebrated FIFA soccer simulator is excellent, unquestionably the best soccer game on the market. The players look eerily like the real guys, your favourite teams can be as frustrating in the game as in real life, and the moves and tactical plays are also realistic.
How much better is it than the also excellent FIFA 2000, FIFA 99 and FIFA 98, though? That's debatable.
The changes are largely cosmetic. Gone are the annoying American announcers of past editions, replaced by a snarky pair of BBC commentators. These games are also big business -- witness the exclusive song on the soundtrack by Moby -- so it's no surprise that the stadiums feature very readable advertisements, while the logos on players' shirts are also strikingly clear.
Beyond these changes, though, it's FIFA as usual. The flow of play is remarkably smooth and, unlike most other soccer games, the action itself moves like a real-life game.
When the grass is wet, players slip and slide and the ball goes nowhere fast.
It's unclear whether this is enough to convince folks to update to the new edition. If you've got it, FIFA 2000 will probably do you fine.
If you don't have an older edition already, get FIFA 2001 and plan to be indoors for a while.FIFA 2001 for Sony PlayStation, $60. Rating: NNNGraphics: Sharp, right down to the guardian adverts on the stadium walls.
Proximity to the real thing: Can't you smell the freshly cut grass?
Addictiveness: Say goodbye to the sun.
Anti-social factor: Beating a friend is more fun than losing to the computer.
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FIFA 2001 for Sony PlayStation, $60. Rating: NNNFIFA 2001 for Sony PlayStation, $60. Rating: NNN