FIFA 07 heading to handheld consoles
You'll be cross if you miss it
As the Premiership's finest limber up with pre-season friendlies in preparation for another long hard season, for another crack team (the developers at EA Canada) the challenge is coming to a close, as they sweat through the summer months to bring us the latest edition of FIFA.
As usual, FIFA 07 will be available to supporters of just about every pocket gaming format (including mobile) when it hits the streets on September 29th. And whilst the PSP version looks odds-on to lead the field as a genuine title challenger, akin to Liverpool or Arsenal, we carry the same pre-season optimism of any footie fan that, after disappointing performances last time around, this will be the year for the Game Boy, DS and mobile versions.
Whilst the general press release trumpets a host of new features including enhanced player artificial intelligence and ball physics, improved shooting and set-play controls, signature moves for top players and a completely overhauled manager mode, it's unclear exactly how these implementations will transfer to the Game Boy and Nintendo DS versions.
Last time around Nintendo's machines felt very much like Bolton or Wigan: poor relations, with cast-off features shoe-horned in from other versions with little apparent thought for the respective capabilities or restrictions of the console.
With the DS having since had a sales injection of Abrahmovich proportions though, we'd hope for a more tailored version as befitting the world's best-selling console. Possibly some imaginative use of the machine's dual screens is on the cards (don't worry about it coming at the expense of cloud effects or referee cut-scenes, fellas – we'll live).
A smaller, simpler, and slicker option for Game Boy would be very welcome, too. The format may be akin to Watford these days, but it's still capable of playing great games, and it has plenty of die-hard supporters.
At the least we'd hope that the exciting new connected features, such as the ability to contribute to the vast EA Sports interactive leagues (which enable players to recreate real fixtures and average the scores across multiple formats) and the sports ticker with latest news will both make it onto the DS.
The mobile outing is the true dark horse in the pack, an Everton or Newcastle United if you will. There have been major changes in the close season, after an unsatisfactory turn out last year, and the promise of "stunning individual player graphics and TV presentation to bring you closer to the heart of the game" is certainly a compelling one.
As we haven't yet seen any shots of the game in action though, we can't really comment on its veracity. But we do feel sure that FIFA 07 will be the biggest mobile soccer sim yet, with 100 licensed teams to chose from.
Our scouts are hunting down more information as we speak, so if you'd like to monitor progress via news and previews before our match report next month, click the 'Track It' button below.