2006 FIFA World Cup Germany

Hold the World Cup in your own hands! Well, not really, of course, but it's as close your're ever going to get.

If you're not one of the people who mess about in menus before starting a game, you might be surprised how easy FIFA World Cup appears. We were. Before we knew it, we'd blitzed Holland 5-0 in the quarter finals without letting a goal in along the way. This made us a bit suspicious, so we checked the menus. FIFA's default difficulty is set to 'amateur'. Tsk. So we played the last two matches on Pro level, and still won the trophy. Well done us.

So the lesson there is "always check you're not playing on the difficulty level for idiots with sausage fingers". Or play a harder, better game. What we have here is the third FIFA game in PSP's short lifespan. And this newie is more or less the same as its PS2 bro, which means it suffers the same faults - namely, that no matter how high you ramp the difficulty level, it seems more to affect how good the opposition keeper is than how well the other team actually plays, and that the sliding tackle is near-impossible to use without shattering someone's kneecaps. Our tip: just jockey the man in possession for as long as you can - he'll almost certainly give the ball up in the end.


But despite that, FIFA plays as slick a game of football as you'll find on the handheld, with crisp, pacey action and goalmouth incidents by the wagonload. And, of course, it's all dressed up in the usual FIFA finery - Townsend and Tylsdley are on commentary, Did You Know questions pop up while matches load (although, yes, we did know England beat Germany 4-2 in the 1966 final, ta) and another collection of EA - sigh - 'trax' soundtrack it all. Every team in the world is present too, should you be inclined to take the likes of St Kitts or, erm, Chad (in Africa, on the edge of the Sahara, as if you didn't know) to global glory.

Germany 2006, though, isn't quite as good as last time - not so much due to the issues above, but 'cos 'normal FIFAs have a variety of competitions. This, for obvious reasons, has just one. There are extra challenges offered - come back from 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go; prevent Italy from losing against, er, Fiji - but they won't keep you going forever. Still, it's another very good, but not great, FIFA. Did you really expect anything else?

The verdict

As entertaining as you'd expect, but Germany 2006 doesn't quite take its chance to dominate the handheld football scene. We could really do with an A-grade footie sim on PSP, y'know.

PlayStation Portable
Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts