The beautiful game continues to get even more attractive
Posted 3 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Last year’s FIFA was finally a soccer game worthy of HD gaming. The game offered plenty of great options and was overall a very satisfying sports title. But even with all its praise there was still parts to improve. This year, FIFA 10 has made some more adjustments and the series is now in a place where so many other sports titles wish to reach.
A number of key additions and modifications have been made to the series, both on the pitch and off. On the field, FIFA has pushed itself into giving you a more authentic feel of the sport both in terms of how you play and how the game is presented to you.
In terms of the action, the introduction of 360 degree dribbling is certainly the most important. In the past, players only moved in the key eight directions of the controller which often lead to awkward movements. This has changed dramatically as players now move with a lot more fluidity and realism. When players quickly change direction, they react as your own body would, by clearly showing the shift in weight that occurs. The movement with the ball also allows for more creative plays; players will be able to shift the ball in key situations leaving defenders in their dust. It works well and good FIFA players will quickly use this to their advantage in a number of different situations.
Keepers now move and react as would a real goalkeeper should. When controlled by AI, they will make quicker decisions, move around more and will try their best to react properly to shots taken at their goal. While this in principal works well, it is still not without its faults. The keeper still makes very foolish mistakes and most ’glitch’ goals will be a direct result of his inability to make a proper decision. The most evident of their mistakes happens during crosses when the keeper is not always certain if he wants to punch the ball away or to grab it. If he decides to punch it backwards, this will often lead to the ball landing in the net rather than behind it. It doesn’t happen too frequently and the cross needs to be done extremely well, but when you fall victim to this, you will curse out loud.
Another noticeable difference comes from how games flow. In the past when players were fouled, a brief cut-scene would often ruin the pace of a game. Now nearly every call from the referee, including throw-ins, is done in-engine without any breaks. There will be times when the camera will pan towards the ref to show him draw a card, but it is never a cut-scene. The other addition is the ability to now take quick free kicks after fouls. If the opportunity exists, an open player can run up to the ball and re-start the action immediately. Sadly, this can be both a blessing and a curse depending on how you utilize it. If you manage to get the ball to an attacking player, your opposition will be scratching their heads; if you take it too quickly and give it away, it could lead to a counter attack on your own goal.
Key changes have also been brought to the FIFA series off the pitch. The first is Virtual Pro. Last year’s FIFA offered you the chance to create yourself as the soccer king you have always wished you could be. This year, you can now upload a picture of yourself and take your player anywhere you want to. While you still can take your created self and play through the Be a Pro Mode, they can also be thrown into regular matches, recruited to your Manager Mode club and used online. On top of this, your Virtual Pro also unlocks in-game achievements as you play through the game. Depending on your actions with your created self, you will unlock bonus content to improve them. Play a certain amount of games, perform a specific goal or trick in the arena and other tasks will net you bonus stats that make your character a beast on the pitch.
Scoring on free kicks has always been a problem with recent FIFA games. To combat that complaint, FIFA 10 sees the addition of custom set-pieces. If you want to create that great play that absolutely confuses the defense, now is your chance. This addition is nice but won’t be used by more casual players. There is a lot of work needed to create that perfect play and it doesn’t always result in a goal. But, if you want to see how good you’d do as coach, this could be right up your alley.
Finally, there’s My Live Season, which is an extension of last year’s Adidas Live Season. In this mode, you get to take the team of your choosing from any of the six available leagues and compare your actions to the club’s real-life performance using the actual data from the match of that week. Your clubs stats are kept track of and you will be able to see just how good you fared in comparison. While you can’t jump ahead in the season, you can play friendlies just for fun before the upcoming fixture. This is a nice little addition except for one major detail, it’s not free. There is a 5 game trial available, but if you want to invest in a complete season, it will cost you an addition five dollars (400 MS Points) per league to continue. It is a nice feature, but only die-hard fans will invest the time and money to mimic their favorite’s club season.
Graphics and Sound
Thanks to the additions/changes made in the gameplay department, the graphics really do show their stuff. Player move much more realistically than they have in the past and it gives you the better impression of a real soccer match. Famous players are instantly recognizable and the available in-game stadiums are absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, crowds still feel too generic and don’t give off the same feel that everything else does. They do react accordingly to the action on the field, but there isn’t enough emotion at other key points. The chants are often sound diluted and reactions during goals, especially in the dying moments of a game do not accurately depict the real thing. It’s almost there, but still needs more work. Small additions, such as team specific banners or even flares in the stands can do wonders in this regard.
The commentary partnership of Martin Tyler and Andy Gray returns and they are still as solid as they have been in years. There is even more interesting banter between the two including discussing team aspirations for the current season, debate on specific players and other topics. They never talk to the point of becoming annoying, so it feels like actually listening to a soccer match in Europe. The game’s soundtrack still features an eclectic mix of world music from popular and trendy indie bands such as Canada’s own Metric to remixes of popular songs and other tunes that will quickly become stuck in your head.
The rewards associated with Virtual Pro will certainly keep you playing FIFA throughout the year. The game’s Manager Mode is still extremely solid and online manages to give you the same great experience from last year. FIFA is an absolute delight to play with friends either on the same television or online and thanks to the number of different clubs available to choose from, re-creating last year’s Champions League final or simulating a custom tournament is there for you.
The only downside on the teams available is that there is still a lack of South American and Eastern European Clubs. With the recent success of Russian clubs specifically, it’s about time that EA Sports showed some love to those parts of the world. Apparently, the Russian Premier League will be available in FIFA 11, but the inclusion of a few more sides from that part of Europe would complete the European experience.
As you would expect with EA, there is the ability to buy your way to success in Virtual Pro with the included FIFA Store. The store offers you the chance to pick up short or longer term perks for your character if you so choose. It’s certainly not the way to go for true fans, but if you need the edge when it comes to online play, the store has your fix.
Soccer fans should finally be happy with what EA Sports has given them. The FIFA series is now back to its glory PS2/Xbox days and there is so much to do here. Virtual Pro options alone will occupy you for long periods of time and the on the field action sees the series soaring to new heights. This is without a doubt the best soccer game in a long time and one that every fan should own.
+ 360 degree dribbling is fantastic
+ Seamless soccer play
+ Quick free-kicks really change the dynamic on the pitch
+ Custom set-pieces are excellent for creative types
+ Great multiplayer, both online and off
+ Martin Tyler and Andy Gray are still among the best commentary teams in the video game world
- Buying stats for your player
- Crowds still don’t give you the genuine European/South American Soccer Vibe
- Needs more clubs from Eastern Europe, including Russia and South America
- Weird goal glitches, especially with Keeper mistakes and defensive player selections
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Release Date : 2009/10/20
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : EA Canada
Category : Sports
ESRB : E
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