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FIFA World Cup 2010 Review

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It’s been four years since the last World Cup took place and it’s finally time again for the world to unite in order to watch one of the greatest sporting events known to man. ESPN has clarified this through commercials with the slogan: “For one month, every four years, we are united.” This couldn’t be any closer to the truth. This year the World Cup finds its way to South Africa and while it’s sure to be a spectacle for the ages, it’s unclear whether or not 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa — developed by EA Sports — is a good representation of the event.

This time around, EA Sports has taken great strides in creating a much more festive celebration filled with top notch presentation and great commentary from the usual duo in the booth. World Cup 2010 features 10 of the official stadiums you will see this year in South Africa as well as 199 national teams which includes the unlikely appearances of a Team Canada (their footy club is as solid as their army) among other countries.

Game Play

2010 FIFA World Cup provides similar game play to that of FIFA 10. Anyone who has played the earlier release should be quite familiar with the controls and feel of the game provided within WC10. Player movement is crisp and the animation system continues to use the famed 360 degree scheme that has worked so well in the past.

Unfortunately, the game still does have some of its quirks that will hopefully be ironed out for FIFA 11 this upcoming Fall. One of those quirks is the aggravating decision of AI teammates to pull up short or not finish a play off properly. There were several times during play where I would make a lead pass for a teammate or a low pass across the box in which my teammate just decided to stop running and watch instead of finishing of the play for a goal or a shot on net. I could definitely see this minor frustration leading to many broken controllers, but it isn’t a problem everywhere in the game, just in their Captain your Country mode.

Captain your Country is a new mode in FIFA this time around which allows you to create a player from scratch or import your FIFA 10 Be A Pro. In this mode, you can play with up to three friends on the same team or on rival teams on your way to earning the Captaincy for your country in the World Cup. All participants start off on the B-Squad and you must work your way through the CYC rankings in order to make the Starting XI roster and earn the arm band that signifies you’re the best your country has to offer.

Along the way in this mode, you’ll be tasked with certain objectives that you can reach. None of these are mandatory, but they’re kind of like Trophy’s that enable you to do other things in the game. For instance, winning the World Cup with your player will unlock him for all of the other offline game modes available. Adding in these small incentives are a great way to add replay value and fun factor into the title on an overall level.

Outside of CYC, there are a couple of other cool new additions to the game play side of things as well. One of my favorite additions is the new Penalty Kick system that is very reminiscent of taking Free Throws in the NBA series, but with a soccer twist. Instead of just having your shot on goal during a penalty, there is a small horizontal bar below your player pre-kick that allows you to align how much composure he will have during the kick itself. This is the difference maker between being deadly accurate with the ball or failing immensely and showing up on Failblog.org.

Another cool feature is the Qualifying and Story of Finals mode of play. In this featured mode, gamers can relive moments from the 2010 Qualifying process as well as the 2006 World Cup. Currently there are over 50 challenges for you to complete and in case that isn’t enough, you can look forward to more. EA plans on adding more scenarios for you to complete as the 2010 World Cup plays out so that you can change history as it happens. This is a great new feature for the game and truly makes playing the game over an extended amount of time quite worth it.

Online Play

Obviously the majority of you reading this will probably be taking your fight for the World Cup online to show to other gamers why your country rules them all. And while this is a popular component of any sports franchise, World Cup 2010 takes it one step further through Battle of the Nations, 2010 FIFA World Cup Online and the World League Ladder.

In Battle of the Nations plays can represent their country online in tournaments against other players. When competing in the BotN, your outcome in a game will all be recorded and will effect the overall ratings of both your country’s team and its players. The goal is to top the Nation Leaderboard in hopes of proving exactly why your team is the best in the world.

The next mode of play is called the 2010 FIFA World Cup Online. This works just like it sounds and just like it does offline. Here, you’ll battle it out in the group stages of the tournament as well as the tournament itself until a 2010 World Cup Champion is crowned. This mode of play works really well and if you can get together a group of dedicated gamers, it’s even more fun to play for bragging rights. However, this mode of play is nothing compared to the World League Ladder.

In the World League Ladder players vie to become the best club and player in the world. This mode works similar to the online team play functionality of FIFA 10. Players must play their way through Division 10 all of the way to Division 1 in order to claim to be the best there is and the best FIFA 10 World Cup has to offer. Of course, if you happen to suck, you’ll lose a lot of games and be relegated down in the divisional rankings instead of up.

Presentation and Visuals

This is where the design team at EA Sports has definitely stepped it up a notch over past iteration. The presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup is absolutely spectacular. While playing through the World Cup, you are treated to a ton of firework shows, 10 official stadiums filled with fans of your country and the opposing teams with face paint, flags, banners and the works. Confetti cannons are shooting off, covering the outline of the field in a confetti storm and there are even signature chants and national anthems.

One of the only odd things about the presentation is a hiccup in the national anthem itself. During a game which featured Canada Vs Italy, the American national anthem was playing to open the game. This didn’t make any sense and was actually a regular occurrence, so hopefully EA can patch that issue.

Another key addition to the presentation comes through the celebrations players display after scoring a goal. EA has teamed up with Coca Cola to bring gamers eight new exclusive user-controlled celebrations. These celebrations can be unlocked by purchasing Coca Cola products and entering in keys at the official website to gain access to them. Some of them are pretty creative and definitely add more to the experience.

As for the play by play commentary, it’s exactly what you’d expect out of a FIFA title. The famed duo are back and so is the repetitive nature of their calling of the game. This is something you kind of just have to expect out of a sports franchise, but it seems like more lines of dialogue could have been incorporated to at least keep it a tad fresh.

Conclusion

Let’s be honest. Most gamers out there that have purchased FIFA 10 earlier are going to be wondering if it’s worth shelling out more money for a game that probably should have had its own mode and place in the yearly installment itself. Well, I’m going to confirm that despite that let down, it’s definitely worth the asking price or at the very least a rental. 2010 FIFA World Cup brings the event to your home console at a level unseen of before in a World Cup game. With the new presentation elements and the various game modes, EA has packed an entire game’s worth of content into what could have just been broken down into a standard mode of play. This decision is definitely a great one as it helps the game play like a completely new game that any fan of the sport should own.

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Comments (3)

  • TRF

    Great review. I’ll try out the demo and see if I like it. I haven’t played a soccer game since FIFA ’07, so I don’t know if I still like ‘em or not.

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  • Joe Garcia

    Awesome review. The anthem thing can definitely get grating. It’s happened to me as I play through the WC mode as South Africa.

    @TRF – You’re pretty much on the same boat I was — I hadn’t played a FIFA game since the last World Cup release and enjoy 2010 very much. I think you’ll like it just fine, though you should definitely check out the demo.

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