In addition to exhibition and other single player modes we have come to expect from sports titles, there is also a manager mode in FIFA 06 that allows you to take to the pitch as a manager/player for 15 seasons. Not all of the teams are available when you first start, but there are a lot more than were open at the start of FIFA 2005 and the mode moves a little quicker this time around so youll get to run your favorite team sooner rather than later this time around. In addition to player management and coaching/strategy, you also have to hire coaches and scouts and upgrade their stats with your limited amount of funds. Like all dynasty/franchise modes, money management is the key so you have to win games and get sponsorships so you can sign better players, hire better coaches, and so on and so forth. You can also change ticket prices before each and every game, which is interesting. Team chemistry and fan support also play a big role in the experience and youll have to do things such as solve team squabbles and answer newspaper questions. Manager mode is really quite entertaining and is can be a very time consuming experience if you get into it.
FIFA 06 also offers a number of multiplayer options. Along with the expected versus matches you can play with up to four players, there is an 8 player feature called lounge mode. Lounge mode is an offline game where you and 7 of your friends play tournament style matches against each other and the game keeps track of all sorts of statistics and things throughout your session. It puts a twist on the experience by giving less skilled (or less successful
) players cheap shots that let them even up the odds by giving the opposing team a bunch of yellow cards, benching their star player, or greatly increasing their fatigue level. This makes the matches a lot more fun for players of different skill levels and is a great addition overall.
You can also play FIFA 06 online. The game uses the outdated and unwieldy EA matchmaking options and lobby setup, so finding a game is usually more difficult than it should be. Once you find a match, the game runs smoothly and is generally a lot of fun to play.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically, FIFA 06 is the best looking soccer game available. The players are nicely detailed and feature a ton of great looking animations. The stadiums look great and feature some nice lighting effects during night games.
The sound is also really well done. The soundtrack once again spans the world to find great upbeat football music and the result is a varied mix of songs that is great overall. FIFA 06 features a new commentary team of Clive Tydsley and Andy Gray and they do a pretty good job. The game does a better job of keeping up with the action and not saying blatantly wrong things like it did last year, so the all new commentary is a definite improvement.
FIFA 06 is a very solid game of soccer that packs all of the teams and players you want (10,000 players and 21 leagues including international teams, English Premiere League, and even MLS) along with the best graphics youll find in an Xbox soccer game and online play. In terms of features, it easily trumps Winning Eleven 8. But it doesnt come out on top in the area that counts and that is in fun, accessible gameplay. It is fun, for sure, but not as fun as the competitions game. If having all of the real teams and players are the most important thing for you, then by all means, buy FIFA 06. For everyone else, I recommend giving FIFA 06 a rental before you buy.