How does FIFA 09 compare to it's previous installments? Give this a read and see if you agree.

User Rating: 8.5 | FIFA 09: World Class Soccer X360
Game: FIFA 09
Platform: Xbox360
Reviewer: Ian
Date: 15/03/09

Another year, another football simulation is released by EA Sports.

This year, like many other years, promises to be the best yet but there's a difference, this year's could well be considered the best yet and some may argue that it even beats its rival, Pro Evolution.

With improvements on last year's edition which was almost there but, not quite, we are treated to the standard new editions we come to expect from FIFA games. Better graphics, the latest transfers, improved AI and various little tweaks us mere gamers may not initially notice. This year's edition features something far greater, a whole new way of playing FIFA.

'Be a pro mode' lets you take control of one player (or one pro, if you wish) from any position (except goalkeeper) to try and make the best impact on the game possible and improve your 'pro rating', the in game rating system that is fairly accurate, if a little unfair at times. Run at the defense to support your strikers, the opposition boots the ball towards your defense and you're expected to keep up with the ball play and are penalized for being limited by the speed of the game. That said, it's not too difficult to get a 100% rating and it certainly gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, especially on the higher difficulty settings.

For most the management side of FIFA games is still the main drawn, this year's edition won't let you down. The usual updates are there, latest transfers, mainstream teams and leagues with the latest kits. The management mode hasn't really changed over the last 3 or 4 years bar the odd tweak and polish. You'll find the main draw is how the game plays and feels.

Many issues have been addressed from 2008s edition, the game play is much faster paced, the AI is even more intelligent and will make you 'think before you shoot' which certainly brings a lot of fun to the game. The other revision from last year is the controls, you'll feel you have more control over the ball compared to previous years but passing isn't always as accurate as it could be with many passes going to players you had no intention of passing to, frustrating but not something that ruins game play. Shooting has also seen a slight improvement, nothing major over the '08 release but it certainly feels like it flows much more easily with the new game play dynamics.

The other, single player options are your usual FIFA entries but where FIFA 09 really scores (excuse the pun) is with its online competition, like the majority of Xbox360 titles the 09 release features plenty to keep you busy with the official FIFA Online rankings, the head to head game play and, of course 'Be a Pro' which allows 5 vs. 5 games and you don't need me to tell you how much fun this is be it 5 of your mates vs. 5 random, or you and 9 random players OR, for the popular amongst us, you and 9 friends.

Overall this latest edition of EAs yearly football simulation is, although cliché, the best version they have released. It's great fun to play, alone or with friends. The game play is certainly very polished and it's still FIFA so it's easy enough for new players to pick up but will give veteran players a new challenge.

Overall - 8.5/10
Graphics - 9/10
Game Play - 8/10
Online - 8/10

* The above review is based on the honest opinion of the author only.