The first great game in this long running series were everything just went right.
It starts off with this amazing title screen showing all the playing fluid football in 3-D and I was astonished. Surely this was just for the title screen and not for the game I thought. But lo and behold, I played the game and just playing the game in 3-D made me shake in excitement. I had never seen anything so realistic games-wise before.
The gameplay was MUCH improved over 96 and now it actually made you feel like you were playing the beautiful game. The volleys, through balls, lobs, skills, overhead kicks, yes they are all here. And just to make your gaming pleasure even sweeter, there are 3 different ways of playing to suit your experience and playing skills. The default mode is arcade, where it is aimed at novices where players do not tire and even if you are playing as a really bad team, most of the players play equally. Then there is action, where the game is non-stop, well, action. On action the opponents act like they are on steds and go crazy with the ball and take a shot from miles out. Lastly there is Simulation, which basically plays with realistic attributes and players tire. There are also other different parameters like how you can turn fouls on and off and crazily, how long the pitch is! There is also an indoor stadium which is fast-paced and mad but it is a lot of fun. Unfortunately there is only one stadium in the game apart from the indoor one which can make it slightly repetitive sometimes.
As previously mentioned, the graphics were astonishing. OK, maybe it looks bad now but back in 96’ it was the best graphics I had ever seen. Just everything, the textures, the faces, the stadium, all amazing. The sound was also fantastic because the crowd actually sounded like fans now and the menus were filled with funky music. Yet the most obvious addition to this game is its commentary voiced by the legendary John Motson. In past Fifa games there was no commentary so this was obviously a big step for the series. John Motson is perfect and sounds just like off the T.V. It is a shame that he only has a limited amount of lines so his lines become slightly repetitive.
Fifa 97 has full leagues for Italy, Spain, England and Germany and you can play in a modest number of game modes. If you get into it, this game can last you for dozens of hours.
Overall, if you like football, you are going to love this game.