A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that sports simulation video games are usually much less violent and offensive than what you see live in a stadium or on TV. Anything your child would see on a soccer pitch is going to be tamer than the content of this game. Beware of going online with the versions that offer the feature, especially the ones that offer voice chat. Rudeness, offensive language, and trash talking are commonplace in the multiplayer realm.
What's it about?
Every year, EA Sports releases a new version of FIFA, a soccer simulation game. In the past, most hardcore soccer fans preferred playing Winning 11, the Konami soccer video game series, because FIFA had developed a reputation of being "soccer pinball." But FIFA SOCCER 08 is different -- it's good soccer, more realistic and deeper than ever.
Is it any good?
The best new feature in this year's game is "Be a Pro," where you take control of just one player for the duration of the match. It may sound like it could be boring, sitting there doing nothing for much of the game, but you must constantly check your performance as well as your overall score. In this mode, it isn't just how well you handle the ball, you must also make sure you stay in position, assist teammates, and so on. Even better, EA has delivered an update for 360 and PS3 owners that allows them to take the "Be a Pro" mode online with up to 10 human players at once. The traditional modes are still there, from exhibition games to leagues to a simplified management mode that puts you in the director's seat.
Today's FIFA 08 accurately emulates the pace of a real game, and the difficulty level has been increased -- a good move that reduces the likelihood of racking up a hockey-like goal tally. While FIFA 08 still feels a little unresponsive on the PS3 and 360 with your players sometimes running on autopilot, the new trick system, which allows you to pull off some custom moves, offsets this complaint. The presentation is superb, with licensed teams and leagues from all over the globe, and a cutting edge soundtrack that's just as international.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why soccer isn't as popular in the United States as it is in the rest of the world. Since this game serves up music and teams from around the world, this can lead to conversations about where the foreign teams come from and what it's like to live in those countries. Do kids around the world grow up playing in organized soccer leagues the way they do in the United States?
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