FIFA Soccer 2003, known as FIFA Football 2003 in North America and commonly known as FIFA 2003 or FIFA 03, is a football video game released in October 2002 produced by Electronic Arts and released by EA Sports.
FIFA 2003 is the tenth game in the FIFA series and the seventh to be produced in 3D. A number of new features were added to improve upon the previous version. Club Championship Mode was introduced with the feature of playing against 17 of Europe’s top clubs in their own stadiums and the fans singing their unique chants and songs. A TV-style broadcast package gave highlights at half-time and full-time, as well as comprehensive analysis. One of the most anticipated new features was EA Sport’s “Freestyle Control” which allows the user to flick the ball on and lay it off to team mates. Other additions include greater likenesses of players such as Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho, as well as realistic player responses.
The European cover featured Roberto Carlos in Brazil’s kit, Ryan Giggs in his Manchester United shirt and Edgar Davids in Juventus colours. In the USA, Landon Donovan appeared on the cover in Roberto Carlos’ place.
Apart from the improved visuals, the most obvious improvements to the game will purportedly be to the game’s AI. The new AI engine apparently offers three key enhancements over previous incarnations in the form of team play, team tactics, and real player attributes. This will make for some realistic gameplay–for example, teams that are losing toward the end of a match will throw caution to the wind and throw all of their players forward. The players themselves will look and play more like their real-life counterparts than ever before and will be more aware of their own team’s movement around them.
FIFA 2003 will undoubtedly be one of the most comprehensive soccer games on any platform to date, featuring 16 different leagues, 450 teams, and no fewer than 10,000 players. The game will also feature a number of real stadiums, complete with club-specific chants.
The PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation versions of FIFA 2003 are all scheduled for release in November in both North America and Europe. We’ll bring you more information on the game as it becomes available.
EA Sports’ FIFA series has long been the best soccer franchise around. This latest incarnation tries, with mostly successful results, to improve on the well-established and well-liked formula. The biggest changes from last years’ version are in the gameplay department, where developer EA Canada tinkered with areas like passing, ball physics, and free kicks to add a more realistic feel to the game.
My biggest gripe with this series has always been that it just did not feel like soccer. Players had the tendency to “suck” the ball up and the biscuit would tend stick to your shoes like fluttering toilet paper. It made the game play almost like hockey, with most of the scoring coming off horizontal one-timers or mad kamikaze dashes up the wing with a speedy forward. While that kind of gameplay was fun, it sure wasn’t a realistic representation of soccer.
The good folks at EA have tried to address this by making passing and ball physics much more realistic. Gone are the days of sprinting down the flank at full speed and keeping perfect control of the ball. Trying that approach will frequently lead to a loss of control and a turnover. Long passes and crosses now have to be controlled, taking away what were almost always easy chances in earlier versions. Basically, the ball acts more like a bouncing piece of inflated leather than ever before. Players will have to work to keep possession, making picking when and how you attack the goal that much more important.
It also made the game much more difficult. I got absolutely schooled my first few matches playing as low-level English Premier team Manchester City, barely getting many shots on goal. It was very easy to lose control of the ball, especially using the “run-down-the-flank-with a-mid-fielder-and-try-to-cross-it-to-your-striker” method of attack that I have perfected during my years of playing earlier versions of FIFA. I eventually learned how to probe a defense and move the ball from player to player (a must, as holding onto the ball with a semi-skilled player is basically begging for a giveaway) with quick passes through open lanes. Once I got the hang of it, it gave me a better sense of control over the proceedings on the pitch, and made scoring goals a truly satisfying endeavor.
Another gameplay improvement is the game’s greater focus on set pieces and free kicks — an aspect of the game that I always thought was a bit underdeveloped in previous incarnations of FIFA. You now have much greater control over free kicks using a power meter (similar to the field goal system in Madden) and icons to send the ball where you want it go. Add in the new ball physics, and nearly anything can happen once you get the ball in front of the goal.
|FIFA Soccer 03|
Nov 11, 2002
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
OFLC : G
PEGI : 3+
|Media||Cartridge, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Nintendo optical disc|
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