December 10, 2011
The game is broken down into three game modes. Hit the Pitch allows players to select a team of their choice, then play against either another player or a computer. Battle for Glory puts players in control of their favorite team for an extensive tournament, and those who need to brush up on their skills can go to Training. One immediate plus is that the training mode provides so many options. Newcomers to the sport, or the gaming genre will find the Training very helpful as it breaks down parts of the game for individual play. Free kicks, corner kicks and penalty kicks can all be practiced separately from one another until the player is satisfied with their performance. Alternatively Open Play is ideal for practicing passing, shooting, and the movement controls.
Battle for Glory feels like it's missing a large part of the depth many sports games have started to develop. As the manager of any team in the world it's possible to trade for new players, and manage positions on the field, however beyond that not much else can be done. Theres no sense of the 'clubhouse' that many American Football games have showcased, and those familiar with other EA Sports titles will feel like there is something absent. However, those new to the series won't be missing much as the game's menus and features have been diluted for the purpose of those who might not know everything about sports. Much of the terminology is explained, and information regarding player/team worth is very easy to understand.
Before each match occurs are Manager Moments, which the player is given three possible match outcomes and must choose from one of them. Varying from obtaining a higher point lead to not letting the opposition score, satisfying the outcome selected will contribute to your teams overall rank. In addition, each of the outcomes has with it a point value. Getting enough of these points unlocks boosters, which can be used to give your team bonuses in the next match. These bonuses range from your defense moving faster, to special shots being more effective against goalies. These boosters are chosen randomly after the points requirement has been met, and a record of the boosters that have been unlocked are kept for future reference.
The downside to all of these new features is it's hard to notice a change in the gameplay. Some boosters can be combined together to unlock new boosters, but it's extremely difficult to tell when or if any of them have actually taken effect. Additionally the AI for the player controlled team fluctuates greatly between useful, and absolutely useless. Teammates will generally try to find the most open areas to be passed to or to help score a goal, but defensively they'll leave their assigned targets wide open. To the game's credit opposing teams AI never seems to encounter this, although they will occasionally stand by watching a player simply take a shot.
The gameplay varies greatly depending on the control setup as well. FIFA has control variants for the Gamecube controller, classic controller, as well as remote with or without a nunchuck. Using the remote without any attachments provides the greatest struggle, as movement is completely directed by the computer permitting only shots, blocks, or passes to be made by the player. With very limited control over where the ball can be taken the game feels more like a bad ride then any kind of a sport game, and controls using the nunchuck only feel a bit better.
Graphically the game looks very stylized, with the same sort of cartoonish look that many Wii titles carry. Individual team members lack any sort of definite detail to tell which is which (though race is apparent), but this is hardly an issue as names sort out who's who. Though players may find themselves constantly having to move through many of the games menus to select teams, colors, rosters, player trades, and boosters there is little to no lag involved. This is a major boost as a lot of things happen in football that require the game to pause. Penalty kicks, goalie throw ins, side changes and more all move seamlessly with no downtime spared. Much of the game's sound is unremarkable, although players can create their own crowd cheers and foghorn noises by shaking the controller after a goal. Football loyalists however should enjoy the audio commentary provided by Andy Gray and Martin Tyler, who are not remotely hesitant to comment on every single action that is taken during the course of every single match.
Overall the game performs quite nicely on the Wii, although those with other consoles may consider holding out for a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 copy. Knowing that there is content that never made it into the Wii version for simplicity reasons could make the difference for loyalists. For the less competitive or more casual sports fan the game fits quite well. Very similar to an arcade sports game, Battle for Glory should keep FIFA fans occupied for a long time, and those interested in online play won't be let down either. The game features ranked and unranked matches alike.