Okay so its that time again when the world have gone football mad and people up and down the country have got Seaman on their lips. Oooh-er. Its also a great time for companies to churn out the latest installments of their footy games. For those of you that have played the previous incarnations of Virtua Striker you will know roughly what to expect. For you newcomers to the game i'll give you a quick intro. Virtua Striker is an arcade style footy game, which is very much pick up and play and uses very few buttons. Thegame focuses on international teams rather than club teams and allows you to play in cups and friendlies alike.

The games simplicity will attract many, there are only three buttons to learn and no combinations to memorize. You'll actually find yourself being able to beat most computer opponents within your firstfive or six games. Due to the lack of buttons the game plays very differently to most other games on the market. To make up for this the developers have made the pitch way smaller than you would normally see in a football game, which means you spend most of the time in midfield battles with several players from each team trying to gain possesion and burst through the defence. This gives the game a frantic pace because if a player can make it past your misfield it means there is a good chance they'll also make it past your defence and go one-on-one with the keeper. Keeper AI suits the game just right, they make enough mistakes to give the opportunity for long range blistering shots but are good enough to present a challenge. The game does fall down due this arcade style of play. You'll actually find yourself repeating the same tactic over and over again, there is lttle space for imagination, the game is quite easy and lacks any real depth.

In the games favour though are the graphics, player models are well detailed and the games animation is simply the best i've seen in a football game on any system the ball dynamics are absolutley perfect, and the whole engine shows the fluidity that all other football games have tried to acheive. Collision detection between the ball and players is superb and really adds to the experience this tied in with the seamless animation means that when a player gets in the way of the ball he will intecept it, unlike other games were the ball appears to simply pass through/past the player.

Another let down is the fact that players down have their real names one of the England players is actually called W. Churchill. You can get round this though by using the edit feature to change the players names and details, but this does seem like an unneccessary hassle.

All in all Virtua Striker 2002 is a great looking game which is fun for people looking to pick up and play withou getting involved and also for younger gamers. Though its lack of depth may put off gamers looking for a more realistic indepth challange. If your looking for a real challenge pick up ISS 2.