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This Is Football 2005 (PS2) ! - 2/2/2005 10:31:31 PM   

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The popularity of soccer video games tends to rise and fall in time with the Fifa World Cup tournaments which are held every four years. But annually titles flood the market that are mainly aimed at feeding the soccer-mad European market.

This Is Football 2005 isn't that much different from the 2004 version but the player details have been updated to reflect the state of the game. More than 900 teams and some 19,000 players are included. The All Whites are there, as are all the major international teams.

You can compete in one-off games, season tournaments and championships at all levels. The Putteridge High versus Upminster College game was more exciting than any international match I played.

In "career mode", you start at the bottom at school as a David Beckham wannabe and work your way up over years to international soccer stardom. TIF 2005 is incredibly detailed, one downside of which is that
games take longer than usual to load.

Its most unique new feature is support for the Eye Toy, a camera that plugs into the Playstation and allows you to take a snap of your face which is then melded on to that of a player. A video clip of you peering into the camera is taken, then the dimensions of your face are mapped with little yellow dots. Then you add your own hairstyle.

It's a hit-and-miss affair that demands patience in the face-mapping segment, but you'll chuckle when you see yourself surrounded by players in a cutaway.

TIF 2005 is now network-ready, which is great for keeping soccer contests interesting. The game's artificial intelligence is sufficient but there's nothing like taking on players controlled by a human intent on slide tackling you off the field.

You get the feeling with TIF 2005 that it's a good but nevertheless "unofficial" soccer title. It's main rival, the Electronic Arts' title FIFA, has strong ties with the official soccer body, which gives it greater scope for licensing authentic teams, names and logos.

TIF 2005 has its own tie-ups but is slightly less convincing. Nevertheless, the gameplay is smooth and realistic, and the cutaways to the referee, players and crowd are convincing.

The controls take some getting used to but allow a wide range of kicks, tackles and some fancy footwork. The game commentary becomes repetitive and boring quickly but I'm yet to find a sports game where the personalities keep the banter fresh for long.

FIFA remains my favourite in the soccer realm, but that's a more expensive title. With its earnest attempts to create realistic gameplay and wealth of team information TIF 2005 is a good budget alternative. $60

Source . NZHerald
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