UEFA Champions League 2006-2007
Token update of FIFA 07 with robotic AI, yet we're still excited
Ooh, we like that. Having just loaded up UEFA for the first time, we’re greeted by the stirring operatic Champions League theme so familiar for people who actually watch UK soccer, at least. God bless the FIFA series and its license-happy handlers - this is powerful stuff. Electric memories of pre-match excitement are stirred, atmosphere heavy and anticipation high. We suddenly need a bottle of Amstel.
In reality, of course, we know that our excitement has everything to do with the might and majesty of the Champions League itself and very little to do with EA’s hardly-anticipated update of the barely six months-old FIFA 07. But still, our initial shivers make us think that another game trading on the thrills and spills of the Champions League might not be such a bad idea after all, especially if it were to come packaged with some innovative new features and gameplay improvements.
Which, predictably, is the major sticking point - it doesn’t come with any gameplay improvements, significant or otherwise. Very little has changed since FIFA’s last romp, with the overall feel still stiff and a little robotic. Kicking the ball around feels sluggish and leaden - there’s never any zip on the passes or urgency to the play. Worse still the shooting - which was coming together in 07 - again seems highly automated. The power and direction of your attempts on goal have little to do with whatever buttons you press - the ball just takes off. It’s miles away from the nuanced control offered by Winning Eleven.
The only obvious addition is the “quick controls” option. We’ve been suspicious for a while that every update of FIFA is contractually obliged to steal something from Winning Eleven, but this is shameless. A button tap before any restart enables you to take the set-piece quickly, exactly - exactly - like Winning Eleven ’s quick free-kick option.