The difference in hardware between the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 3 means that the FIFA games for each console are now handled by completely different teams, each with its own aims. The PS3 team is desperate to show off the horsepower of the console, whereas the PS2 team is so comfortable with the hardware that it's their job to try out new ideas. Although the PS2 version of FIFA 08 doesn't play that much differently than last year's game, the developers have introduced a number of cool new features, new control touches, and all the expected roster updates. If you're a football fan that prefers fast-paced arcade gameplay, you can't go far wrong with FIFA 08.
FIFA 08 doesn't look particularly amazing, but it moves quickly, and the player animation is spot-on.
In terms of the core gameplay, FIFA 08 doesn't feel that much different from its predecessor. It's been refined slightly, and now it's a little more difficult and even faster than ever. It's worth noting that although the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 08 have been slowed down to almost simulation level, the PS2 version is still frantically paced. The artificial intelligence isn't quite as dynamic, particularly when it comes to defending, but this leaves the game more open to midfield battles and reasonably large scorelines.
The changes to the gameplay come in the form of new manual controls that let you better adjust the direction and power of passes and crosses. Passes are now dependent on the direction in which you hold the left analogue stick or D pad (depending on your chosen control system) as well as the length of time you hold the X button. These factors are useful once you become familiar with the system, given that they can really make the difference when you're making a break, but novices aren't left out either--the AI is usually clever enough to know who you want to pass to. You can now also choose to bring the goalkeeper out and control him yourself with the right analogue stick, which is very useful when you're one-on-one with a striker. And if you can predict a shot and hit the triangle button as it's made, there's a good chance you'll save the ball.
There are also some nice new tricks that let you fool human players by misdirecting free kicks. If you press the L3 button when taking a free kick on goal, the camera will lock in its current position while you continue to aim the shot by moving left and right. Because of the blind nature of this aiming scheme, the controller will vibrate while you're aiming toward the post, which gives you a good indication of where you need to go. The system isn't perfect, given that the added time it takes is usually a giveaway of what you're up to, but it's still a tactic that advanced players will want to use. The same technique can be used for throw-ins to you make it look as if you're going to throw to one player when you're really aiming for another.
On the new features side, the chief addition is the Be-a-Pro cooperative mode. This mode lets two to four people play as individual members of the same team, and together you work your way through a season with teamwork and cooperative play. You can choose to play either as real-world players or, as the game recommends, create your own. The player-creation tool lets you change most aspects of your player's appearance, from his weight and facial details through to the type of sweatband and socks he wears.
The game recommends that you create a player because you can continually upgrade him as you win games and progress through the season. Once you start the season, you will be set a challenge--for example, midfielders might need to make a certain number of passes during the game. If you manage to pull this off and--preferably--win the game, you'll be able to upgrade your character more quickly. To help you accomplish these tasks, you can use different commands on the control pad to order your AI teammates around. If you press "X" while your team is attacking, they'll attempt to pass you the ball, regardless of their position. You can also ask for through-balls and long passes in the same way.