This is Football 2003
Genre Sport -> Sport
Today's Rank 28228
USA
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
UK
Date 2002-10-04
Another football season, another slew of titles all promising to be the definitive recreation of the beautiful game. This Is Football 2003 (the fourth version in all, the second on PS2) will probably bag third place in the premiership of footy games: this time round, the drastically revamped FIFA Football 2003 and perennial hardcore favourite Pro Evolution Soccer 2 are likely to be battling for the top slot come Christmas. The game boasts over 13,000 players from leagues all over the world [including the English second division, so finally Cardiff City can be promoted to their rightful place in the Premiership--Bluebirds Ed] and the option to create and customise even more teams. You can even start by managing a school side and work your way up to league level, though this is a fairly tedious and unrewarding option. The gameplay hasn't changed dramatically from last year, though the learning curve is steeper and your opponents' AI is substantially improved. The goal-scoring sweet spots are still there, but you have to work harder to find them. This is not a Pro Evolution-style simulation: the action moves continuously from end to end. However, high scoring matches, at least in single player mode, are rare. Graphically TIF shines, and both Pro Evolution and FIFA will have to go some to match the player likenesses (at least in the higher echelons; further down the leagues the players become more generic) and the lovingly realised stadia. This Is Football doesn't have FIFA's brand identification or Pro Evolution's loyal following, but it's a slick, comprehensive and enjoyable game that deserves to qualify for the Champions League of football video games, if only by achieving a runner-up spot. --Michael Bartley
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