Game Review - by James Allen
EA and their wonderful line of FIFA games have long dominated the soccer simulation et. There has been a standard set by FIFA that all other soccer games try to follow. Will Microsoft's latest entry score on EA, or will they get the red card?
Microsoft International Soccer 2000 lets you face off two countries in an all out duel of greatness. You can play a friendly (or not so friendly, depending on your mood), or a tournament. ("Friendly" is the term for single match.) Tournaments include international cups, European events, territory cups, and knockouts. All of these differ by which countries are involved, but it is essentially the same thing. As for the countries themselves, you have the whole world to choose from, but the differences between the actual teams stop at the flag they represent. Also, there is no multiplayer for this game, a feature that is implemented in almost every game put out on the et today.
During the game, you can customize rules, such as time and offsides, and tactics, such as your formation (4-2-2-2) and strategy (attacking or defending). The one nice feature in Microsoft International Soccer 2000 is that all of these changes can be made in a simple menu box during the game. Everything is represented graphically, and in an easy to understand manner. Unfortunately, this is the best feature.
The graphics in Microsoft International Soccer 2000 are good, but nothing you would consider stellar. Microsoft says they have over 200 motion-captured player moves, but you would never notice. All the slide tackles look the same, and usually the player is facing the wrong way after the move is completed. Plus, you must view the game from quite a far distance to play well, and this eliminates you seeing any detail that has gone into the game. The worst graphics blunder I've seen in a while concerns ball control. The bright neon orange icon to designate which player you are controlling does not change when you have possession of the ball. Also, with players trying to slide tackle the mess out of one another, it is really hard to tell who has the ball. This leads to you slide tackling when you think you are shooting or passing. This gets very aggravating after a while. However, the graphics are good at displaying the flags of the individual countries, which is great for a geography lesson, but not a soccer game.
I could have recorded all the commentary for this game in five minutes, and that's what probably happened. The commentary is horrible, and only interjects for a corner kick, goal, or card: there is no play-by-play to speak of. Plus, players are never mentioned by name. The only thing that stands out is the commentator pronouncing all the names of the countries. The crowd's volume changes when a goal is scored, and that's about it. They even tried to steal the famous goal cry. How lame.
The gameplay feels like you're playing FIFA. The first version, however. Apparently, gameplay for soccer games has not advanced since the Nintendo games, or that's what Microsoft would lead you to believe. The game consists of 4 actions: pass, kick, slide tackle, and steal. Now, most soccer games do consist of these four basic elements, but never in this poor of a union. If you are controlling the ball, the computer will continue to slide all over the field, in an attempt to steal the ball from you. What if they are too far away? That's ok, they will continue to slide toward you until they get the ball. The field crew always seems to water the field a little too much before every game.
In addition to this, every shot on goal always results in either a corner kick or a goal. I have yet to see the goalie actually catch the ball. The programmers apparently don't like goalies, because they have been turned into human piņatas. When the ball flies out of bounds at the same speed it came in after it hit a goalie in the stomach, you wonder if the goalie is ok. Too late, a corner kick has already been taken. The AI move way too quickly, and when you slow the game down, it's Seniors Day, because they players must be using walkers. Overall, the gameplay in Microsoft International Soccer 2000 is horrible.
I personally cannot believe that Microsoft would put their logo on this game. I cannot find a single good point to persuade you to buy this game, even for it's low price. If you are low on cash, then just wait until the next paycheck arrives. Microsoft International Soccer 2000 should be avoided at all costs, no matter how cheap.