First impressions: FIFA 08 for N-Gage

Will it make us football crazy and football mad?

First impressions: FIFA 08 for N-Gage
| FIFA 08

As we reported earlier today, FIFA 08 is out for the N-Gage for its launch day, and as such becomes the first EA Mobile game to officially go live for Nokia's gaming platform (Tetris was part of the First Access trial, but hasn't been released for the actual application yet).

We got straight on the case to have a play.

In a nutshell
The world's biggest footy game brand comes to N-Gage, offering a familiar mix of accessible gameplay and licensed players/teams, and hoping to make the most of the visual oomph offered by N-Gage.

Key features
You can play a Quick Match, fire up a Season or Tournament, or take part in several Challenges based on real-life matches. There's a tutorial to get you used to the controls, too.

The game can be played in portrait or landscape mode, and there are 11 featured leagues supplying the teams and players. Oh, and you can upload your stats to the N-Gage Arena to see how you compare to other players around the world.

One thing we should say, however, is that there's no online multiplayer mode, contrary to what we were told at Nokia's Go Play event last year. But then, it was doubtful, even then.

Look and feel
Whereas the FIFA 08 Java game adopted an isometric perspective, this new N-Gage version takes a console-like side-on approach, with a choice of three cameras: Action, Sideline and Panoramic. Visually, we're talking DS-quality graphics.

The game uses plenty of buttons, with '5' being used to pass, '7' to pass long, and '1' to hit through-balls. '0' slide tackles or shoots, depending on whether you have the ball, while '4' attempts to pull off a skill move. Like we said, plenty of buttons.

First impressions
FIFA 08 feels like a decent football game, in that you can stroke the ball around neatly, and get to grips with the controls quickly – the in-game tutorial is certainly well implemented.

Playing a football title with a four-way D-pad isn't ideal, at least on the N81 we were using – you feel like you lose a bit of control over the players. That said, a bit of practice did help.

As ever with FIFA games, the inclusion of real teams and players, and the slick replays make it feel professional. We'll be intrigued to see how the online stats work, too.

In short, we're getting good vibes from our quick hands-on with this latest FIFA, but click 'Track It!' for our full verdict once we've managed to get some decent playtime under our belt.