“EA Sports. It’s in the game”
If you didn’t read that in the distinctive tones of “the EA guy” then you may as well stop reading now – you’re definitely not a true footie fan.
The FIFA titles have always been a source of joy/frustration in equal measure (“oh my god that’s SO SCRIPTED”). For an example of the pure elation that FIFA can bring you, check out this video of FIFA YouTuber KSI (back when he actually used to post regularly on his channel, but that’s another story):
Some games were better than others – FIFA 2001’s transfer system was barbaric to say the least, whilst FIFA 15 was basically just… FIFA 14 and a half.
However, one title in the franchise stands out among all the rest, peerless amongst its fellow competitors in almost aspect. Of course, we’re talking about FIFA ‘06.
“Why ‘06?” – well here’s some damn good reasons why.
We’ll start with, well, the start really – the intro to ’06 is hands down one of the most emotional football compilations in history.
The music, the weird Scottish voiceover, the number of absolute belters which were crammed into the video… just perfection.
Way before youth academies were thought of as being a reasonable addition to the game, we simply had generic “scouts”. Whilst the modern games strive for realism in having your youngsters grow from a measly 48 OVR to a world superstar, the older members of the franchise didn’t really go in for that lark.
None more so than ‘06 – all you needed was enough budget to bump up your scout to “Level 10” and boom, you’ve got your 18-year-old, 91 OVR striker ready to go. Remembering my lethal duo of Alexander Daugaard and Jorge Andrade up front for Real Madrid B (who definitely displaced their parent club at the top of La Liga numerous times) brings a nostalgic tear to my eye.
For once, the game wasn’t all about pace. FIFA 12 was the worst exponent of this – Agbonlahor, Nilmar, Welliton are all players who were vastly overpowered purely because they were quite good at running fast.
Not FIFA ‘06. You needed skill, guile and a mastery of lobbed through balls to succeed in this game. Not to mention a knack of hitting the “sweet spot” on the shooting bar (seriously, why did they get rid of that?!)
To be honest, every game in the franchise has at least one absolute banger on it – Ms. Dynamite on FIFA 2003, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse on ’07, Untouched by The Veronicas on ’09… wait what?
Erm, anyway, the point is, ’06 was filled to the brim with classic tunes and some fantastic artists – Doves, Jamiroquai, LCD Soundsystem, Embrace, Damien Marley, Bloc Party… the list is endless!
Whilst music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it definitely makes a huge difference to the gaming experience – the fact that I can recite almost every word of “Be My Enemy” by The Departure despite only having heard it scrolling through FIFA ‘06’s menus is evidence of that.
There was also a LOT of mid-noughties Europop on there…
Something which has been lost in the recent FIFA titles is that sense of “fun”.
Some of you may remember the classic indoor football mini-game in FIFA ’98…
That just looks ridiculous, right?
Well ’06 went one step further and included an entire mini game tucked away in the extras menu.
The game in question? None other than the original FIFA ’94.
(Retro goodness starts at 24:50)
Not only that, EA also added in a “Top 10 Retro Goals” – they didn’t have to, they just did!
So, with all that said and done… who’s up for dusting off the PS2?