While last year's Wii version of FIFA was good, the series was still somewhat hamstrung since it was based on PlayStation 2 code. However, according to FIFA 10 Wii line producer Sid Misra, those days are over. "The Wii audience is looking for something specific to them," Misra told us on a recent visit to London. "We've come up with the idea of over-the-top, nonstop football, which means arcade-style gameplay and a whole new look to the game."
Misra isn't kidding. As we sit down to play the game, we find it's a totally different beast to any other version of the game. The main difference is a concept called momentum, which allows you to activate special skills as a reward for controlling the pace of the game. For example, if you're moving the ball up the pitch towards your opponent's goal, your momentum bar begins to fill up. Once it's full, you can use this momentum to unleash faster, more-powerful shots on goal, and the game slows down time and zooms in on the action to heighten the intensity.
The look of the game is also much different, and while it's less realistic than before, we love the caricatured style. Players are split into skinny, average, and stocky frame sizes and move accordingly, while the special shots on goal are extravagant to say the least. There's also a comedy aspect to the game--if your player gets hit in the face, he'll check his nose to make sure it's not bleeding; if he's hit in the groin, he'll drop immediately to the ground.
FIFA 10's online features have also been bolstered, with support for up to four players in two-versus-two matches. "It was a technical challenge to accomplish," says Misra. He also promises that all of the technical issues with last year's online mode have been addressed, and the focus is on getting people online and letting the community grow from there.
That's not to say that offline players have been forgotten, though. When you create a profile in the game, it will keep track of all your stats, such as goals scored and cards collected, and your head-to-head record against other players on your Wii. The game will then draw up tables to see how you stack up against the CPU and other players and will then display them on the loading screen to motivate some prematch trash talk.
While the game is even more cartoony than before, we were surprised to hear that the "footii" minigames have been dropped this year. We've certainly given these minigames a hard time in our reviews of previous FIFA games, but we're still surprised that EA Sports has given them the boot. "We wanted to make a cohesive experience, centered around the gameplay itself. We do have some game modes that we aren't announcing right now, but they do focus on that social side of gameplay."
That might sound like a bit of a teasing statement, but we won't have long to wait for more details on these new modes. The team has about two and a half months of development time left on the game, so according to Misra, we should start hearing more in August, possibly at Gamescom. We'll be certain to bring you more on the game when we have it.