To be honest with you all I was a little apprehensive and unsure of what to do with the review code for FIFA 2010 World Cup when it landed? “Here we go again”, I thought to myself. The disappointment of FIFA 10 still left a burnt aftertaste in my throat and its obvious failure to improve on itself following the far superior gaming package that was FIFA 09 left me sceptical to say the least of its World Cup cousin. Indeed if anything, FIFA 10 was a step backwards almost, therefore any hopes I may have held for some improvements in FIFA’s poorer second cousin were slim, at best. So you will forgive me if when the thump on the doormat, that heralded the arrival of FIFA 2010 World Cup, did not inspire me with all the gusto and optimism that I usually have when I am reviewing an EA Sports title. But I’m here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, of how wrong my original pessimism was and how quickly the smile returned to my jaded lips as I began to once again breeze around defenders and curl a ‘purler’ into the top corner just like the heroes of ‘The Beautiful Game’ do for their respective teams and countries in real-life. The only difference of course, being that once my game had ended I did not drive home in a £250,000 Bentley and return to my mansion in the Home Counties, where my Page 3 Girl wife waited at the door for me with a Martini in one hand a copy of the News of The World in the other as she began questioning my latest indiscretions in a nightclub toilet with a shopgirl from Bolton.
Right from the ‘get-go’ you will notice the changes in FIFA 2010 World Cup from its predeccessor, as even the menu’s have been reformatted to encompass the more ‘user friendly’ features that are on offer to the gamer. And with that new experience comes the opportunity this time around to take part in an ‘Online’ FIFA World Cup that will see you carry the hopes and dreams of your chosen nation throughout the entire World Cup Finals. The welcome return of Captain Your Country means you can even go one step further than that by having your custom designed player have to make the final cut through a series of qualifiers and friendly matches that will determine if your man has what it takes to be a part of your country’s national squad, and so be included in the trip for World Cup glory?
Stunningly presented in a beautiful package FIFA 2010 World Cup allows the player to compete as any one of the 199 qualifying countries playing in 10 different stadium locations, where the developers where so good at their job this time round that your teams performance is affected by weather and altitude conditions and factors such as climate and humidity could have some of your players being forced off due to exhaustion just when you need your stars the most. Even things like wind direction is noticably affecting the way that the ball is responding in your arena, as you vie for possession against the World’s best players in your bid for victory. Such is the attention to detail of how things are for real footballers in the real World, the CPU will even mimic the way that teams respond to whether or not they are playing at home or if they are featuring in an away game fixture.
The modes on offer all have their own particular attractions and gimmicks but one of the modes that we loved here at GamesMediaPro was the head-to-head challenges in Zakumi’s Dream Team mode. There was many a hidden snigger to be had after beginning the tournament with a collection of random players, and then once you had secured your supremacy over your hapless opponent you could then steal his best player at the final whistle and so on until you had a team of literal All Stars that weren’t just World beaters, but were butt kickers also. Expect a few whiny protests from embarrassed friends and family members during this mode.
One small detail that had us smiling in the office was the inclusion, in all their resplendent colour and vibrancy, of the World Cup fans. During matches, and at half time and full time intervals from play and team building, you will occasionally be entertained by the sight of Mohawked Czech Republic fans or Drum bashing Spanish fans in their national colours dancing in the terraces and generally behaving like your average football fan. On more than one occasion we found ourselves either humming along to, or just plain outright singing, whatever song the English band was playing during our matches, as if we really were in a stadium in South Africa with a face painted with the Cross of St George and a head sponsored by Carlsberg.
As for the actual ” in game “ play, the game does run very similar to FIFA 10 with some much needed and much welcomed tweaks that mean no more does your keeper get lobbed from 45 yards out by every player on the pitch, regardless of talent, position, and even when they were meant to be passing the ball not going for a pot shot howler. The other most notable difference from previous FIFA titles was, in our opinion, the fact that now when your strikers are going for goal it feels like every time you shoot you unleash a thunderbolt from your gold Nike‘s and very nearly leave schrapnel wounds on the man between the sticks. Not that this is a bad thing, but if you think you are going to be belting them into the Onion Bag from all corners of the pitch then think again. Apart from that there are only subtle differences that make comparison difficult to appraise. The best comparisons, we think, are in the games structuring and in its gameplay, and every one of the new features comes as a marked improvement over the last title for the fans of the FIFA series here at GamesMediaPro Towers.
And so, to summarise, while there are going to be gamers, and reviewers alike, out there who will pick up this title and think to themselves that they have seen it all before, well we are here to tell you that No, you haven’t. This is not the Road to the World Cup, this is not Champions League, UEFA 2008 or even FIFA 10. This is FIFA 2010 World Cup and for those gamers and football passionate sports lovers out there who bother to take a closer inspection of this game we can safely assure them that they have probably just purchased the best International based football game out there, and possibly the best sports title of the year. If you could only purchase one football title this year then you could do a lot worse than spend your hard earned cash on this, we rate it a hearty 9 out of 10.