FIFA Football 2005 really took it to Pro Evolution Soccer last year. They both featured online but EA was out of gate first and really produced a fantastic game for the consoles and PC. With the two new handhelds only just around the corner it should come at no surprise that EA is working on a football game for the PSP to compete with Sonys first party title and we can't see the Pro Evo developers staying out of the handheld market for to long with their great franchise. EA recently announced the first details about the game and we summarize it in this preview and speculate exactly what you can expect from the game when it is released at launch.
Whats the big thing about the PSP version of the game? How about the fact that EA has managed to replicate the console versions completely onto the handheld console. Quite an achivement considering that eighteen months ago they were probably still only working on versions for systems such as the ngage and gameboy advanced. Considering the game is built around the console versions we expect the first touch feature to make an appearance. This was EA's big new thing for the 2005 edition of the game and basically players had to control the ball before they could strike at goal or pass the boal, as in real life. What first touch does however is allow you to move past the man at will (assuming your player is skilful enough in the real world) without passing to another player.
One thing which may be left out is the career mode as it does really not lend itself to the handheld format. However that will probably be the only absence from the game that we can see and EA has added a heap of exclusive options for the handheld, some of which take into account that you will be 'joining' the game in the middle of the European season. For instance there will be a mode on offer which allows you to join the club mid season and try and either keep them at the top of the league, reach Europe (and we expect a Champions League PSP game eventually, perhaps interacting) or avoid relegation. One mode seems to have been directly ripped from the UEFA Champions League game coming out in February, and that is the challenges. You will also be able to build your own competitions with the custom season custom tournament option.
One thing which was somewhat expected is the amount of licenses EA have crammed into the game. Basically if it's in the console version it will be in the PSP version. English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A all make an appearance as well as the lesser known leagues from Europe and around the globe. Along with this EA have somehow managed to include all the insignias of each club from around the globe.
Something which is unknown at this point based on the information EA has released is whether the game will feature International teams. The other big unknown is the style of the game in terms of menus. Because EA have had a deadline to build this one for the launch, the initial title on the system may avoid aesthetic features such as personalized menus based on favorite clubs etc. The other big unknown because EA have not been specific is whether the leagues they have licensed again extend to lower divisions. You can also create players in the game but it appears from the screenshots not to be as in depth as the consoles with face templates having to be used rather than constructing the face yourself ala the console 05 games. In terms of whether EA will update the game with the January transfers, it is likely because they are putting the leagues into the game as they stand when the game goes gold for players to take their team through the rest of the 04/05 season.
By far the most impressive aspect of what EA has released thus far is how the game looks in screenshots. It is closer to the PS2 version of the game than a PSX version of previous games and EA has also managed to replicate the high levels of details for the player models. Like the console versions you will be able to pick players out from their looks rather than the name on the screen or the back of their shirt. This shows just how powerful the new handheld from Sony is going to be and why it is such a wanted piece of kit. Nothing has been mentioned about the sound but we expect the atmosphere to be on par with the consoles in a 2.1 sound format and commentary by John Motson and Ally McCoist. Multiplayer will be handled via the wireless capabilities but is limited to 1v1.
FIFA Football 2005 PSP is sure to become one of the best launch titles for the console when it's launched sometime in the first half of 2005. EA are obviously trying as much as they can to bring everything but the kitchen sink form the console versions and even giving players something new to try out. FIFA Football 2005 will be a PSP launch title for the European market.