This is Football 2003 Review

This is Football 2003 Review

Firstly lets' get one thing straight, This Is Football 2003 is an arcade style football game and not really a football simulator, which basically means it is all fast and furious action. Last years TIF enjoyed some good reviews in the light of the weak ISS2 and FIFA outings. Now one year later TIF 2003 has upped the ante with more realism and tweaked game play. How does it compare to PES2 and FIFA 2003? Read on to find out.

TIF 2003 is endorsed by FIFPro, which means more than 14,000 real life players feature in the game with each one supporting some pretty good and accurate modelling. There are somewhere in the region of 700 teams, including every major national team and a handful of club teams from England, Spain and Italy. This kind of detail is usually only found in games like Championship manager.

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TIF 2003 features a decent selection of modes, full season, cup competitions, career and custom leagues. In the career mode you take on a team of youngsters and enter small competitions upwards to full professionals. The "guts" of the game are in the season mode, you can take control of any team you like and then buy and sell players using an initial sum of one million pounds. As your team improves you can charge more at the gate and bring in more cash to buy players and improve your team even more. On top of this you may also create your own team, but it is a very long and drawn out process that most players won't have the patience for. If you do posses enough patience you can create everything from the manager down to your player's stats and facial looks. One slight flaw in the off pitch game is that transfers are never knocked back, so technically you would be able to make Port Vale a world beating team with players like Ronaldo, Zidane and Roberto Carlos.

Some may try to compare TIF 2003 to Pro Evolution Soccer 2 but it really isn't necessary. The two games are very different. Pro Evolution Soccer 2 is an outright Football simulation, most of the time you will be trying to create a goal and its really hard work, just like the real thing. TIF takes a different angle and it actually hands you opportunities to score, which in turn gives the game a faster pulse. The previous instalment of TIF was criticized for the end-to-end action with no middle ground. This time round things have changed a bit and there is noticeably more midfield play to be had and the game seems to run at a much more balanced pace.

From the start you will notice TIF 2003 is a pretty good looking game with some nice player animations. The more famous players like Zidane and Beckham are very noticeable although some will look a little strange because some players have what looks like that wrong size head. There are some very nice little touches; when players breathe in the cold weather you can see their breath in the air. After nasty tackles you will get the obligatory cut scene of the referee giving a yellow or a red card, its quick and to the point. One point that could be good or bad, I'm not sure which, you can get half of your team sent off very quickly with some not very well timed nasty tackles, when your team gets reduced to 6 or 7 players the match will then be cancelled. The camera work is good on the whole and the TV style multi angle replays shown when you score a goal show the game engine off very well.

Commentary is provided by Peter Drury and it's not bad although some lines could be better and he yells players names a little too often, although I have never heard a prefect commentary on a football game ever, it always seems to be the weakest link. The matches are fairly painless for the most part as Peter Drury has enough lines to avoid too much repetition.

The controls for TIF 2003 are basically the same as Pro Evolution with the shoot and cross buttons reversed, this is a nightmare is you play one of these games straight after the other. The game play on the other hand is a very simplistic affair and it lacks some of the intricacy seen in Pro Evolution. Individual players don't really gel into the game and you might find yourself playing one touch football, as the passing is a also a little rigid. Goalies aren't too clever, they will run out more often than not to intercept the ball and find that they can't get there in time, then, they decide to turn around and run back to the goal leaving a simple tap in for the forwards. Other times the goalies will just hug the line and wait for the encounter, then, the striker is left with a 50/50 chance of scoring. This is the main flaw of the on pitch game, scoring is more about luck than skill. The ball tends to stick to the players feet until you hit that circle button and every time the player will whack the ball wherever he is on the pitch. The ball always seems to curl in the air towards the corner you are facing too, then the keeper may tap the ball away or he may not, it's all about luck!

The AI is alright and it puts up a pretty good fight but you will find yourself carving though the AI's midfield and defence with ease. Saying that, the AI is able to return the favour though which provides for some petty fast paced end-to-end action. It's all very exciting good fun if not very realistic.

This Is Football 2003 is its own brand of football game that favours arcade elements, its accessible and entertaining. Anyone who wants to play a football game that provides you with some outstanding goals, end to end action and generally fast paced gameplay that doesn't require any serious thinking should check out TIF 2003.

7.0 out of 10

 

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