Introduction / Plot:
No big introduction or story needed - hey its football - you know the game, where over 20 men run after a little ball and try to kick it in some big cages - the game of peace - and love - and drugs...
Gameplay / Controls:
First of all: Gameplay is great. I have no gamepad but i can say, that with keyboard the game is already very easy to play. Fifa 2001 gives you the opportunity to pass, shoot, sprint (knob-killing like in old c64 and atari times make your little football star run faster :) and foul as you want to. The "old" penalty technique where you point to the goal with a red arrow, hold the shoot button down for strength and then try to kick and twist the ball into the opponents goal, was taken over into Fifa 2001 and works as well as before. All shots are handled in the same way when it comes to strength - if you want to have a shoot that knocks your enemy off his feet, you just have to hold the button down for a slightly longer time.
But lets leave the detail and come to a little more general things.
EA Sports created a real living football game - movement of the players is natural, gameplay is full of dynamic and pushed me directly into the playground - pure adrenaline as i'd say and a very human way in reacting of the players, they wont let you run through the field anymore - if necessary they will even foul you - which can be helpful, though, if the referee has a bad day ;).
One example i just have to give to explain what i mean with human "way of acting" is the following:
A player just runs over the field, and tries to make a goal - the ball hits the post, flies back, and smashes into the players balls - the player had to be substituted ;D.
Apropos substitutions and injuries - injured players that are not automatically substituted cauz of a foul have a mark now - a red cross on a white ground under their feet - cool I think - so you know who of your or the opponents players is injured at any moment.
But first how about some training? Fifa lets you train yourself in penalties, free shots and training games - each from the offensive or the defensive site - training is ok but the total starter will probably miss the possibility to train techniques and shots without opponents.
For sure, you can also give yourself the time for some strategy.
First - more for fun then for strategy - is the setup of your players - set names up, faces, skin colours, skin styles etc. Still a nice gimmick if you wanna personalizge you and your friends in the game.
Then we have our strategical part in the game - customization of the start-lineups, formations, game-strategy itself and kick takers. Me for myself had the problem that the German players always ran behind the opponents, so every pass was no problem to intercept for them - a possibility to change the formation and strategy was a must - and was solved well - you cant change it totally as you like, but the game gives you good possibility to customize the way your players interact.
The game uses a fast and clear 3D engine that produces a very realistic gaming experience - textures are clear, in no way mushed - what I think, is very positive - the players faces got even more improved and the moves are smooth and in no way mechanical. What also made a very good impression to me is the game-field lighting - very good shading and shadows there make you feel just liek you were in the game yourself.
But sure there are also some negative statements - but they are not the fault of the game, more the result of the still not optimum computer-speed and graphic technology; its that in the zoomed sequences, where the players show their happiness about a goal or a won game the moves are just unrealistic - its like their bodies have no kind of weight and there is few or no collission-possibility of body-parts at all. But I think in comparison to the rest of the game thats stuff you can easily look over :).
Sound / Music
Sound is good. Professional spoken commentaries, that even, when they repeat itselves some time, dont fall on your nerves, good sounding crowd recordings and modern music confrim the good general impression.
The fast to understand, action-filled, realistic and dynamic gameplay, nice made, natural graphics and the good sound make this football game a must for everyone who can think of playing a game of that genre. Its highly recommended to everyone to download and try the free demo of the game - its worth it :).