Sunday 6 June 2021

FIFA Football 2005 (Gizmondo review)

Developer: Exient Entertainment, Electronic Arts Canada
Publisher: Gizmondo Games
Released: 2005

FIFA Football 2005 is a sports game that was ported to the Gizmondo from the Nokia N-Gage version (2004).

It supports 1-2 players and includes 18 leagues, 38 national teams and 11,000 real players. Modes include Friendly and Competition, but the most comprehensive is Career Mode which lasts for 15 seasons. The sprites are incredibly small (especially when you're on the far-side of the pitch) meaning that it's difficult to see whether you or the opposing team are actually in possession of the ball; on more than a few occasions I accidentally blasted it into the stands when attempting a soft defensive tackle! On a related note, there is some inherent lag while waiting for animation cycles to complete, so you will run into the issue of previous inputs registering half a second later; with practice you can reasonably adjust and managing to link together several paths, crosses and volleys in a fluid motion is where the gameplay shines. Everything plays smoothly with no sign of slowdown, and it always does a decent job of selecting the right player for you to control. It's also loaded with modes and options to keep you entertained and the licensed players / teams provide greater immersion. The ability to save your replays to the device is a terrific idea too. The Prestige Points found in the Career Mode are an addictive way to hook you into every single second of every match, as you'll constantly be thinking about relatively extraneous factors such as keeping a clean sheet, or blowing out your opponent, all in the name of earning additional points to advance your career. It's a shame then that the graphics don't use the full power of the Gizmondo (as it's simply a port of the Nokia N-Gage version), leaving you with pixelated player models and stiff animations.

FIFA Football 2005 isn't the most aesthetically pleasing title, but its abundance of modes and solid gameplay make for an enjoyable on-the-go experience. In particular, the deep Career mode is a real highlight that invests you into the action through its multitude of options and innovative Prestige Points feature.

Random trivia: Exient Entertainment and Electronic Arts also developed SSX 3 for the Gizmondo, which was released in 2005.

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