2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Video Game Review
With the World Cup looming on the horizon, we at FIFPlay Community reveled in the chance to put EA's World Cup video game under the spotlight. After only seven short months of FIFA 10 being released, it's fair to say most gamers, including myself, where skeptical about the significant improvements that could be made in such a short time however that skepticism was soon pushed aside once we delved into the rich and atmospheric game.
The colorful and emotional crowd is such a vast improvement over previous EA football game's. From the whistles for full time, to the gasps of near missed chances, you really do feel like your playing in front of thousand's of enthusiastic countrymen. This is only reinforced with close of camera shots of small groups of very colorful fans showing their elation or disappointment depending on your teams performance. Even the new pairing of commentators, Martin Tyler and Andy Townsend, create a more atmospheric feel and commentary is far more varied over the robotic and somewhat predictable commentator's of past FIFA titles.
The animated fan's and more varied commentator's are a very good background to present the passion of a world cup but EA has also improved things on the pitch as well. The most notable change is the player's having a more real world presence. From defender's diving in front of shots, to player's cutting out stray passes and even the referee gets in on the act. It really does start to feel like a game of football when you find yourself hard pressed to find a team mate in the middle of the park, without an opposition cutting out the ball. This is not just down to player's having a presence, passing itself is now more challenging. Rather than passing off the ball in the rough direction of a team mate, like previous EA FIFA title's, a player really does need to point more carefully to pick out a pass. This is not to say that you can't cut open a team and score but you have to be much more precise with your passing and shooting.
Penalty kicks have had a complete overhaul. A kicker has pressure bar at the bottom right. In that bar is a colored area of green that he has to try and land a sliding indicator into. Once the player hit's shoot, hopefully as the indicator passes in the green, he holds down for power and pushes the right analogue stick in the direction he wishes the ball to go. Holding too long on power on pushing too long with the right analogue stick will send the ball wide or high into the stands. A much more challenging way to take penalties and even more so if the stakes are high. The green section becomes much smaller, if you find yourself in the semi finals of a world cup, with the penalty taken your team through. At first the new system can seem tricky but there's a whole penalty shoot out mode with instructions to help you get into the new way of taken penalties.
The world cup mode is the obvious main mode in the game. Allowing you to choose any country you like and join the world cup right at the start of the qualifiers or jump straight into the world cup competition itself. When the game starts the player is presented with an Internet like homepage allowing for easy navigation to the next fixture, squad management and a rather large array of statistics and tables. Once you reach the world cup competition itself you need to select your 23 man squad. Taken too many of the same position is sure to leave you short in other areas that might prove catastrophic in your world cup run so it becomes a balancing act in having the right mix of squad players should injuries and suspensions occur. Pop up messages appear when players become injured or suspended either in matches or in training and this becomes a regular enough occurrence to give player's another obstacle to overcome in their bid to reach the final. A nice touch, when in a game, is a player will be given up to date scores of matches that affect them, so for instance scores of other matches in their group. A great feeling of achievement can come from taken a lesser ranked country to world cup glory and all in all the world cup mode proves challenging and really does bring you in and make you feel like your competing in the worlds largest football competition.
The road to the world cup mode is a single player mode that pits players to complete specific objectives for each scenario. Scenario's come from the real world games and can place a player in a variety of different circumstances. Objectives vary for each game such as overturning defeats, while not conceding any more goals. Points are rewarded for completing objectives and accumulate 10000 to unlock scenarios from the 2006 world cup. A section of scenarios is dedicated to this years competition and when the final whistle blows at the world cup be sure to check back to see what new scenarios EA have made up from the real world cup competition.
The world cup online mode plays in much the same way as single player mode however players compete in what is called battle of the nations. Each player picks a nation that they would like to play for and then when they win matches they gain points for that nation, however players do not need to play as the nation they represent, in fact it's more rewarding, more points for a win, if player's choose lesser ranked teams. The nation with the best player's should come out on top. It's a good touch that really does make you feel very patriotic and fires up your competitive streak, in an attempt to push your nation into a higher rank.
The competitiveness that EA manages to bring to the online world cup competition is also evident in it's head to head online matches. In years gone past, head to head matches where for bragging rights and the leader board showed the top 100 ranked player's. Now a league system has been introduced. Player's begin in league 10 and their overall goal is to move up into league one. Their given ten head to head games to accumulate as many points as they can. 16 points gets you promotion and lands you a chance at cup glory, which is a further four games you need to win without loss. Less than 9 points gets you demotion, unless your in league 10. It really does make you feel like competing in a virtual competition and you soon find yourself enthralled to push yourself into the top league.
The captain a country mode is practically overlooked by EA. It plays pretty much exactly the same as FIFA 10's create your own pro, except with two differences. The first, your overall score for a match is indicated throughout at the bottom left and the second is holding onto the captains armband for any significant amount of time is near on impossible, even if you put in man of the match performance and a handful of goals.
Capturing the atmosphere and enjoyment of the largest football competition in the world. Plus the thrill of the competitive online head to head and world cup mode's. The 2010 world cup game really did win us over and will keep FIFA fan's very busy and content, at least until the FIFA 11 game comes out.
Reviewed by Mike Bond, from FIFPlay for NowPublic