GC '07: FIFA 08 Wii Impressions

EA Sports is finally bringing its football franchise to the Wii, and we got a first look at it at the Leipzig Games Convention.


LEIPZIG, Germany--Like many EA Sports games, FIFA seems like a perfect match for the Wii and its motion-sensitive controller. After all, there are loads of movements made in the game that could be replicated with the controller: running, throw-ins, and goal kicks to name but a few. While the developer has made an effort to replicate some of these physical actions on Nintendo's console, it's also taken this opportunity to make a game accessible to non-football game players. We got a chance to see the results for the first time at the Leipzig Game Convention 2007.

FIFA 08's control system is split into an advanced mode, which uses both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, as well as a family mode that uses just the Wii Remote. The family mode hands control of the players to the computer artificial intelligence, allowing people who are not used to football games to just control the passing and shooting. The advanced control system, on the other hand, uses a mixture of button presses, as well as control stick and physical movements to handle the onscreen action. Players are moved using the Nunchuk's control stick, while A passes, B is a through ball, Z sprints, and C enables tricks. Shots and tackles are performed by moving the Wii Remote up in the air, with the speed and height of the movement dictating the power of the shot. You can also move the Wii Remote to one side to add swerve to the shot.

Aside from the new control system, this version of FIFA 08 is pretty much exactly the same as the other console versions in terms of features. The game offers the same 30 leagues and 15,000 players as in the PlayStation 2 version. It also offers all the same cups and championships. There's even going to be an online play mode for Nintendo Wi-Fi connected consoles, and EA servers will be used to allow up to four players to compete in this mode. EA Sports has chosen to use Nintendo's Mii characters, and while you won't be able play as the characters in the game itself, they'll still represent you in your online games.

In addition to the standard game modes, the Wii version will have a selection of three party games hosted by Brazil's Ronaldinho, and we got to see two of the three on offer. The first is a table football (foosball if you're American) played via the Wii Remote, with twists of the wrist allowing you to play the tabletop game on your console. The second was a game of keep-up, where you have to press the right buttons to make your player keep the ball in the air.

Plenty of effort has been taken to make the first Wii iteration of FIFA 08 a substantially different offering from the other console versions. It's clear that while the game offers all the authenticity that the series has become known for, the control system adapts the gameplay considerably. We didn't get chance to play the game at our brief demonstration, although we'll endeavor to make it back to EA's booth before we leave to try it out firsthand. Luckily, it won't be long until the final game is released because the Wii version of FIFA 08 hits stores alongside the other versions this October.

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