2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review
This tournament-specific soccer game doesn't offer as much content as FIFA 10, but it does improve upon that game in a number of areas.
- Plays a great, realistic game of soccer
- Impressive visuals and animation
- Difficulty and control options cater to players of all skill levels
- Significantly better commentary than FIFA 10.
- Limited online options
- Even minor lag ruins online games
- Some lengthy load times between matches
- Inconsistent feedback in Captain Your Country mode.
Once every four years, EA Sports gets to put out a licensed World Cup game in addition to its regular FIFA offerings. This year, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is arriving in stores just six months after the release of the superb FIFA Soccer 10, so predictably it doesn't represent a major leap forward over that game. Some noticeable improvements have been made on the field, though, and while you won't find the same wealth of gameplay modes on offer here as in a regular FIFA release, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained while you're waiting for the next World Cup match to kick off and when you want to relive or rewrite the tournament once it's over.
Unlike FIFA 10, which features both club and international teams from all over the world, 2010 FIFA World Cup offers only international teams. You won't be left wanting, though, because while only 32 teams get to play in the finals, the game features no fewer than 199 of the squads that entered the tournament's qualification process. If you choose to jump straight into the finals in World Cup mode, you only get to play with the teams that are taking part in this year's finals in South Africa, but if you choose to play through the qualification games beforehand, you can attempt to change the fortunes of any team in the game. You can choose to play a number of friendly matches in between qualification rounds, which makes the whole process take a lot longer than it needs to, but those games at least give you an opportunity to experiment with different formations and tactics just as real managers do. Leading a low-ranked team to its first-ever finals appearance is very satisfying, and playing with those teams is a much different experience than taking control of big names like Brazil, Italy, or England.
Regardless of which team you take control of, 2010 FIFA World Cup plays an entertaining and realistic game of soccer. Players are even more physical than their FIFA 10 counterparts, and it's not uncommon to see them tussling for control of the ball or just getting in each other's way. Every player on the field, as well as the referee, now has real physical presence at all times, and when they come into contact with each other or with the ball, the results are invariably believable. Players who are on the floor need to be avoided because you can't simply run through them; the referee will do his best to avoid the ball but will occasionally get hit by it; fouls are committed by players who have so much momentum that they can't avoid colliding with each other; and when the referee books one of your players for a particularly egregious tackle, the slow-motion replay generally leaves no doubt that his decision was warranted.
In regular play, you get to control every outfield player on your team, switching semiautomatically to whoever is closest to the ball. The controls are extremely responsive, and customization options include different button layouts, assistance settings for specific actions (passes, shots, crosses), and a simple two-button setup for newcomers to the series. The regular controls employ every button, both analog sticks, and even the D pad if you want to alter tactics on the fly, and there are plenty of actions that require you to press one button while holding down another. With the two-button setup, though, you just have one button for passing and pressing (the function changes according to whether you're in possession of the ball or not) and a second for shooting and sliding tackles. These controls don't afford you anything like the level of control of the regular setups, but they definitely make the game more accessible, and using them is a good way to get comfortable with the basics before you inevitably feel the need to use the "proper" controls.
Another, more challenging way to ease into 2010 FIFA World Cup is to check out the Captain Your Country mode. Like FIFA 10's Be a Pro option, this mode puts you in control of just a single player. You can choose to play as one of the thousands of pros featured in the game, create a new player from scratch, or even import your created player from FIFA 10, which is a nice touch. You then pick a country that you want to play for, and you must earn your spot in the first team by participating in B-team friendlies and the like in the months leading up to the World Cup finals. As one player on a team of 11, you're required not to chase the ball all over the field, but rather to play your chosen position realistically. Small chevrons at your player's feet point toward the area of the field that your player should be in anytime you stray from it, and a rating from 1 to 10 that appears onscreen at all times lets you know how well you're doing in the manager's eyes. If you miss a pass or unleash a shot that's off target, you might see your rating drop, but if you send in a cross that one of your strikers gets on the end of or make a crucial tackle, it goes up. Even while keeping an eye on your player and on the ball (which is still the camera's focus), it's difficult not to obsess over your individual rating. It appears alongside those of three teammates (who can be controlled by other players) and is much better than the less-precise system that served the same purpose in FIFA 10.
Inevitably, there will be times when your teammates in Captain Your Country mode frustrate you, but there are also times that you get to feel like part of a well-oiled machine as you make runs off the ball, call for passes and through balls, and try to beat or participate in offside traps. If you make captain, you also get to change tactics and set piece takers, as well as tell the goalie when to rush out and when to stay on his line, which makes you feel like you have added responsibilities much as you would wearing the captain's armband for real. Sadly, while Captain Your Country offers a fun and lasting challenge, it's not without its faults, both on and off the field.
- Player Reviews: 22
- Game Universe:
- FIFA 2001 (PS2, GBC),
- FIFA 2001 Major League Soccer (PC, PS),
- 2002 FIFA World Cup (PS2, PC, GC, XBOX, PS),
- FIFA Soccer 2003 (GC, GBA, PC, PS2, PS, XBOX),
- FIFA Soccer 2004 (GC, GBA, PS2, PC, XBOX, PS, NGE),
- FIFA Soccer 2005 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PS, PC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, GIZ),
- FIFA Street (XBOX, PS2, GC),
- FIFA 99 (PC, N64, PS),
- FIFA 2000: Major League Soccer (PC, GBC, PS),
- FIFA International Soccer (GG, 3DO, GB, GEN, SNES, AMI, SMS, PC, SCD)