Fifa World Cup 2010 is the latest version of EA’s incredibly long running sports sim. In the last few years the Fifa series has got better and better, matching the existing high level of presentation with solid football mechanics. This latest version is attempting to bring something of the wonder of the world cup to the Fifa series.
As soon as you load up the game it’s clear that a lot time and effort has gone into getting the look of the game tied into the South African World Cup. This shows on all the menus and carries on throughout the game. The stadiums are well rendered and there are fireworks and confetti at the start of each match. The managers are now fully rendered in the game and the game will just cut to the manager now and again after goals or when bringing on new players, as might happen during a match on TV. They have wide range of correct national anthems in the game as well these will get played at the start of the game or you can access them by looking at the online world cup globe. Slightly confusingly it won’t tell you if it doesn’t have an anthem it will just play a track from the game’s own music. Although this is all cosmetic it is well done and adds to the feeling of the World Cup.
When you start the game you get an update on how the online world cup is going (at the time of writing Scotland are winning and England are second). This online mode sees you go through the World cup with other people taking the place of the teams; the game will keep track of your progress and add your results to the overall scores. This is a great idea to get people online because you are making a difference to the results over time. There are also online leagues that keep track of your individual position. The only problem with this is playing online is still an issue, although technically good it is still littered with people who quit as soon as they start losing.
There is a new mode in captain your country. This is a continuation of the be a pro mode found in 2010, you get to create your own player (or just use an existing one if you want) and play with just that player having to stay in position. This is a nice idea and is a very challenging way to play the game. It is almost impossible not to chase the ball all over the pitch school playground style, but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with a promotion from the b team in to the main squad and into the world cup game.
There are a few tweaks to how the game plays but not much that you’ll notice. The dribbling is perhaps a bit tighter and the penalty system has been changed but these are small changes and there will be a lot more in the main release at the end of the year. Hopefully they will include a slightly more frail opposing team defence at the moment most teams you play will find it very easy to take the ball of you with only the smallest of contacts and rarely make mistakes. It would be nice to see them make the occasional howler.
It is slightly disappointingly this outing doesn’t have the same kind of changes to the mechanics that have kept the games evolving year on year and has mainly concentrated on the look and feel of the world cup rather than make any to changes to the existing (admittedly very successful) game. This game is still great because the foundation of the game mechanics are incredibly well rounded but the fact remains that the additions don’t really add up to a full retail package. This could have been priced at about £25 and it would have been a great deal and brought new people into the series ready for the main release at the end of the year. This isn’t to say that the game is a complete rip off, if you don’t have the 2010 game or you love the world cup there is a lot to enjoy in here. It’s just that EA was just starting to get a reputation for decent football games after years of cheap cash ins and this was an opportunity to put some of that to rest.