16. 2002 FIFA World Cup & FIFA 2002
For the 2002 season gamers got an extra dose of FIFA as it was a World Cup year. Not only was there a release of the standard game but EA Sports released a special edition for the Korea/Japan World Cup. This was the first time EA had released an exclusive game for the World Cup and it proved to be a big success. It also gave them a good grounding for the future major tournament games.
After the disappointment of FIFA 2001’s lack of gameplay change EA Sports had their work cut out to do something different. They did just that with FIFA 2002 as they revamped the passing and shooting systems to make the game better. Instead of passes just flying to teammates feet as if there were magnets in their boots, the ball actually went in the direction the user aimed it. The same went for shooting, which made the game much more exciting and difficult at first. This meant passes, shots and goals looked more realistic than they ever had done before.
Computer AI was much improved in this version of the game as it became much harder to get past defenders and players needed to be a bit more skillful to score a goal. Power bars were introduced for the first time which meant that players had to measure their passes and shots more carefully in order to be accurate.
2002 FIFA World Cup was essentially the same game but with the International teams that were involved in the 2002 World Cup as well as nine teams who didn’t make the tournament. The game gave players a sneak preview of FIFA 2003 as it included some features that would appear in the next installment of the game.