2010 FIFA World Cup - Review

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Release Date: 23/04/2010

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Some people are on the pitch...

The real FIFA World Cup may be four years in the making, heightening the glory and agony of everyone involved, but FIFA World Cup games certainly aren't four years in the making. In fact, given that FIFA 10 only came out last October, you could argue that 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa has been a mere six months in the making.

To do so though would be misleading, because while this game owes a lot to FIFA 10 - the best football game on the planet at this point - there's just enough extra thought and effort here to justify an interim release.

On the pitch, EA Sports has taken the foundations laid down by its last game - slick passing, realistic player behaviour, 360 degrees of movement and more exciting shot outcomes than ever before - and adjusted a few parameters to positive effect.

Goalkeepers can't be lobbed so consistently any more, while the referee no longer stops the game for every tiny shoulder barge, skilled footballers find it easier to control an aerial ball at pace, and fast players are able to outstrip defenders more convincingly. New animations and tweaked ball movement should also change the dynamic, even for people who have played FIFA 10 solidly all year (like us).

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It's coming home

The World Cup mode itself is as slick as expected, with all the right stadiums brought to beautiful life, showered in ticker tape and draped in superlatives by the fawning (and typically awful) commentary duo of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.

The game recognises player form here, so an injured star may struggle to regain his place in the team if his understudy has been doing the business, and there are other nice touches - like results from pivotal group games filtering through while you play out your own matches. There's an online World Cup mode too.

Captain Your Country mode allows you and up to three friends to play as individual players (rather than controlling the whole team) and attempt to earn the fabled armband, provoking a nice balance between rivalry and cooperation.

Should things go as far as penalties, you now have to time your button press and then hold it to vary pace, and you can add a stutter to your run-up. You will definitely have to watch the tutorial videos and practice on the training pitch though, or else the only heights you'll hit are the ones Roberto Baggio found with his decisive, World Cup-losing spotkick at USA '94.

Elsewhere, Story of Qualifying allows you to pick up famous matches in progress - playing as Theo Walcott in England's qualifying demolition of Croatia, for example - and attempt to equal or improve upon the fairytale events that followed.

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They think it's all over

You may have more luck introducing friends to this game, too, thanks to a new optional two-button control scheme nicknamed "Dad Pad", where the game does most of the thinking for you, leaving you to pass and shoot.

It defends automatically and decides what kind of pass or shot you had in mind, rather than asking you to juggle lots of button presses, and is surprisingly accurate in its judgements. This should allow complete beginners to enjoy competitive (albeit slightly patronising) encounters with veterans.

Dad Pad and the new penalty system are smart enough ideas that we would expect to see them return later this year, but that also leads us to the elephants in the room. FIFA 10 is already excellent, and while World Cup is glitzy and nicely put together, patient fans may do better to wait and see what lies ahead in FIFA 11.

If you're dying for a new football game to play this summer, however, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is unlikely to disappoint, and under the right circumstances it does have one exciting feature that FIFA 10 lacks, and which we're unlikely to see at the tournament itself: England lifting the World Cup for a second time. Dream on.

The Good:

  • Gorgeous presentation.
  • Excellent World Cup mode.
  • Slight gameplay tweaks from FIFA 10 (new penalty system is defo worth learning).

The Bad:

  • Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.
  • Not as many features as FIFA 10.
  • Steep learning curve for penalties.

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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Sport

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-183456

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