FIFA World Cup is quite simply one of the most exciting PC sports games ever created. It wasn't so very long ago that soccer fans could choose from a variety of PC-based depictions of their favorite sport. Yet as the last few years of the 20th century fluttered by, it became increasingly apparent that one title stood tall above the rest. That game was EA Sports' FIFA Soccer, and today it is virtually the only way to play. With FIFA World Cup 2002, EA has gone to the well once more, again tweaking its dominant formula just enough to make an already captive audience think hard about reenlisting. Sporting several minor gameplay enhancements and a substantially overhauled presentation that impressively re-creates the global impact of a World Cup event, this edition of FIFA is in many ways the finest edition of FIFA yet. Although it revolves completely around the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup and as such doesn't deliver the sheer number of players, teams, and league and tournament options of FIFA's regular annual installments, FIFA World Cup 2002 is quite simply one of the most exciting PC sports games ever created. This is no small accomplishment considering how professionally appointed each previous FIFA has been. Yet when experienced back-to-back with last year's FIFA Soccer 2002--released a scant six months ago--FIFA World Cup 2002 is a completely different animal. Starting with the game's dramatic introductory sequence, you'll sense that EA wanted to unleash something new. The usual electronic/dance beats of chart-toppers such as Moby and Ministry of Sound have been exchanged for the powerful strings and crescendos and kettledrums of the critically acclaimed Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The menu system, which surely reached the peak of drabness in last year's model, is polished, colorful, and presented with pride. The new "everyone's game" component, wherein you can access real-life multimedia snippets concerning most every aspect of this year's World Cup, is especially enjoyable despite its low-grade video quality. FIFA World Cup 2002 presents 20 Japanese and Korean stadiums in all, each a seemingly faithful and certainly brilliantly rendered work of art, and the choice of day or night contests. Interestingly, the game does not offer inclement weather options. When the sides are selected and the go-ahead given, you'll take a dizzying ride from the top of the stadium to pitch level, taking in a profusion of visual treats along the way. Fireworks explode in the sky, laser effects dance all around, and a surging sea of spectators rises and falls as one. EA has adopted a high-contrast color palette for this edition, with greener grass, brighter daylight, darker night skies, punctuated lighting effects, and more vivid kits and thus has made the game look far more vibrant and alive than ever before.