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It wouldn\'t be like Sony to sit back and watch Konami and EA Sports fight it out for soccer top-dog without at least dipping their oar into the water. Last Christmas This Is Football was released across Europe in direct competition to FIFA 2000 and was received with lukewarm enthusiasm. 12 months later a second This Is Football attempts to take a greater share of the market. So will gamers who wake up on 25th December with \'This\' in their stockings have as good a day as those blistering their thumbs on the new FIFA? Quite possibly!
As far as handling goes the passing is tidy and shooting seems fairly accurate, although the joypad commands require a few practice games. This is only because there is still no universal decree for button configuration, so no doubt if you picked up and tried another soccer game moments after playing TIF you would probably be passing with your shoot button and slotting a through-ball instead of sprinting. Nothing new there! On the downside I found a couple of sweet spots where strikers scored every single time, especially from set plays.
All sporting simulations offer the usual package of Practice, Exhibition, Cup and Season modes. Where This Is Football 2 definitely succeeds is through the sheer variety of game modes. Not only does winning any competition give you an extra photograph of a trophy to go into your Hall of Fame (big deal!), you also get access to one of nine special tournaments. These include a few novel ideas apart from the standard World Club and Euro championships, such as the Time Warp Cup and the Jumpers For Goalposts League. The latter involves a selection of schoolboys playing out a league on the schoolyard with… yes, you guessed it… jumpers for goalposts. Not a game you would wish to referee, but great fun to take part in. If it\'s novelty cheats you\'re after then codes, such as Micro Players and Big Heads, are revealed by winning certain competitions.
Graphically This Is Football is acceptable, although lagging slightly behind FIFA and ISS Pro altitudinous standards. On the pitch the players are slightly grainy, while their polygon counterparts in replay mode are quite square shouldered and chunky. However, the developers have done a reasonable job of texture mapping the players real faces to add a little realism. I did notice a slight problem while playing. When running a player across the pitch he could snag and pull another player out of position with him. Thankfully this didn\'t spoil the game.
Finally the sound effects reach the standard achieved by most sporting games. The commentator helps build the atmosphere by describing the action as it unfolds, although only star players seem to be mentioned by name. All the while the crowds can be heard chanting those same star names in the background. They even mimic the referee\'s whistle as end of full time nears.
· Fully associated with FIFPro (International Association of Football Players\' Unions)
· International teams from across Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and the Americas
· All your favorite players represented from the English Premiership and First Division, French First and Second, Scottish, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Belgian and Spanish leagues
· Authentic renders of various European stadia
· Game Modes include Quick Game, Exhibition, Season, League and International, National and Special Cup Tournaments.
· Relive days gone by with the Timewarp League which features historically authentic teams from the \'50s, \'60s and \'70s, all togged up in the original retro kits.
15 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
Up to 8 Players (with Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'This is Football 2' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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