FIFA 2001 Major League Soccer
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
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"It is the first serious revision of the series in a number of years, and it can be described only as the best FIFA to date." - Gordon Goble, GameSpot Review
Though EA Sports' FIFA series is one of the most respected series of sports games, previous games in the series are always criticized for not being accurate representations of the sport of soccer. One complaint of the older games is that the pace is too fast, making them feel more like arcade games rather than simulations. Another major complaint is that the computer AI doesn't react realistically in certain situations. Finally, after a few years and a few relatively disappointing FIFA games, EA Sports listens to the fans and delivers FIFA 2001 Major League Soccer - the first major progression in the FIFA series in a long time.
The most obvious upgrade in FIFA 2001 is the graphics. For a span of a few years, EA Sports continually used and modified the same engine over and over, giving the series a stale look - too many player models and specific animation sequences were overused. FIFA 2001 changes all of that with incredibly detailed player models that look more realistic than the models used in previous games. Players reveal new facial expressions when they score goals or if the referee cards them. The animation of the individual players in FIFA 2001 looks amazing, thanks in part to EA Sports increasing the sheer amount of animation in the game. Overall, the stadiums are of higher quality as well. Though still rather strange looking, the crowd is now animated, which gives the stadiums much-needed life - previous games just used a flat texture, which made the stadiums look dull.
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The most important change to the FIFA series found in FIFA 2001 isn't the graphics - it's the changes in gameplay. Instead of continuing to make the series more arcade-like, EA Sports chose to move the series in a more realistic direction. The pace of the on-field action is much slower than in previous versions of the game, which is a better representation of the pace of the actual sport of soccer. The slower pace gives you a better chance to organize your strategy and use the passing lanes in a much more effective manner. In previous games, pushing the ball down the field could be done with one or two quick passes, but in FIFA 2001, you often have to pass the ball back to the quarterback and let the player downfield reposition himself for a cleaner view. While the computer AI still has some holes, computer opponents react better to different strategies and adapt accordingly.
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