On first glance, FIFA '08 looks great - hundreds of licensed teams, thousands of licensed players - a new control system specifically for the Wii, online multiplayer.
Presentation wise, this is everything you'd expect from an EA game - slick menus, good music, big, bold team badges, nice graphics, decent (if annoying) commentary from Andy Gray and, I think, Martin Tyler?
The problems, for me, arise chiefly in two areas - "usability" and controls.
The first problem comes from the menu and navigation system - substitutions are pointlessly unwieldy, the Wii remote is overly sensitive when choosing players, and if you use the stick / pad, you have to keep the 'mote 100% still. It may sound like a small point, but why - as in previous FIFA's - can you not just scroll down from your current XI to access the bench? Instead, you have to press (1), to toggle between the two. The team selection screen for a "vs" game could be better, but is at least quick. Online games are hit-and-miss. From my experience, I've had serious trouble connecting to the EA servers (I have a reliable, fast wireless connection), and despite me never having quit out of a game, I have a positive DNF rating when my opponent's connection failed. Online games are good fun, and generally lag-free, however, and one of the main reasons I rate the game as 3-star, rather than 2.
The other main problem is the controls. In one respect, EA are to be congratulated for having adapted the game for the Wii remote and nun-chuck, but their motion controls are far from perfect. Most actions rely on the remote being held perfectly level, for a start. For example, tricks like stepovers and dummies are performed by swinging the remote either left or right while pressing (C) on the nun-chuck. More often than not, I find myself hoofing the ball upfield as the remote senses even the slightest upward movement, which performs a shot.
Another major problem is that both a header/volley and sliding tackle are performed by swinging the remote down. When you're going for a cross, it can be difficult to judge when to perform this action, and if you time it wrong, you're more than likely to end up with a red card for your striker as he lunges desperately at the goalie, or a defender. I've done this bags of times, and online opponents appear to suffer from the same issue, so it's not just me!
As with most Wii games, the controls can take some getting used to, and while you will certainly get used to them, I don't think they are particularly intuitive.
However, it's not all bad. I give FIFA three stars because it IS fun to play footie with the 'mote and 'chuck - you do definitely feel more involved. Online games are easy to set up, the graphics are nice and bold (and you can switch to the "classic" camera angle if you don't like the goal-to-goal default view). Goals really do feel like something worth celebrating, and replays are great to watch.
As the Wii's first serious football game, FIFA has a 100% market share, which will guarantee it a place in the top 10 for the forseeable future. It doesn't entirely deserve it, but it's by no means a total flop.