Tuesday 18 May 2010

Game Review: Fifa World Cup South Africa 2010

Only 6 months after the release of FIFA10, EA sports have brought out their new addition to the football simulator franchise. With such little time between games one would question whether FIFAWORLDCUP10 is worth the full retail price attached to it. Some would also question what kind of possible changes could occur in such a little time gap and if it is not simply better to wait for the arrival of FIFA11. Fortunately, a lot of care has been put into this instalment and with improved game mechanics, enhancements over FIFA10, aesthetic revisions and re-modelling, on top of the unparalleled resemblance to the actual World Cup, this addition to the series really brings you to the action like never before.

Lets not beat around the bush here; FIFAWORLDCUP10 is all about the glory and dynamism that is associated with the world’s biggest sporting event. Right from the first game you jump into, the atmosphere will blow you away, the fans erupt, fireworks signal the beginning of the World Cup, the managers walk out onto the pitch and shake each other’s hands, the even more life like player models exchange small talk before an even more realistic and enjoyable game of football is played. With such a short time span to make technical revisions to FIFA10, it was obvious that the job of the staff would be to tinker with the technicalities of the game and remove previous issues and problems. Players now feel even more life like, especially with regards to the contact they make with each other. AI’s intelligence has been enhanced; the passing system has been improved with better through balls to accompany smarter runs behind the defenders. The shooting feels a lot harder, it is more difficult to find that cheap goal that always goes in, however you find that a lot more realistic scrappy goals tend to find their way into the back of the net, which is fine since if players never made mistakes, you would never see any goals. The game’s default camera has changed and zoomed out a little bit to give you a better view of the pitch allowing for easier cross field balls to stretch the play, but this of course can be changed back if you find it not as comfortable.

One of the most significant and needed additions to WORLDCUP10 is the composure metre for penalties. The technique for taking penalties is more difficult now, but it works an absolute treat once you go through the penalty tutorial mode and get to grips with it. Since a lot of games could come down to penalties, it was a wise choice making them more of a challenge to convert to make the shootouts much more dramatic. WORLDCUP10 also has the help of commentators Clive Tyldesley and Andy Towsend, who do a much better job than Andy Grey and Martin Tyler, talking in a much more realistic and fluid manner.

What would an EA sports game be without flash, without flair? Well WORLDCUP10 is bursting to the brim with beautiful looks. As always, the games presentation right from the title screen is absolutely gorgeous. In game, as I have mentioned, the designers have taken the time to model all of the 32 qualified managers and you can see them occasionally during breaks in play barking out orders or patting players on the back when they make substitutions. Every World Cup stadium looks gorgeous and there are others to play in as well that all look fantastic. Fan animation has also been added with people screaming from the stands with face painted national flags and so forth. This all alongside the great game play, helps build the atmosphere of a terrific sporting event. Overall, the game feels significantly more realistic (if that word can be used to describe a video game), but it is a vast improvement over FIFA10 and I could not go back to playing the prior.

Now lets talk about the modes available in this game. In comparison to FIFA10, you are somewhat limited but what you are offered is ever so thrilling. WORLDCUP10 offers you a choice of 199 international teams, but no clubs. The teams that have never qualified for a World Cup can be guided through the qualification process and eventually brought into the World Cup where you can take the under dogs and try to win the ultimate prize. If that seems too much of a hassle for you, you can take one of the already qualified teams and play through the group and knockout stages to reach the end. The games difficulty curve is presented almost flawlessly, with available challenge to any player of any level. The final offline mode is Captain your Country, which allows you to play as a single player, or alongside 3 friends in offline mode, each controlling a player, as you try to reach the captaincy and first team squad of your chosen team for the World Cup Finals. This mode provides a slightly enjoyably variation of the football simulation, but is often plagued with ridiculous technicalities, such as at times you could be scoring a hat-trick a game and all of a sudden you can be dropped to the reserve team and lose the armband. Overall, you don’t buy any FIFA game to really be playing this mode.

The cream of WORLDCUP10 is by far the Online World Cup Mode. This allows you to pick a nation and guide them through the group and knock out stages of the tournament. You are paired up with players that are playing with the same teams as allocated in your groups, so while you will not go through the group stages with the same 4 players, they will be the same teams, keeping the realism. It is especially exciting when another game of the other two nations is going on and their score-line is passed onto you, as more often than not, goal difference can decide group stage qualification. The game promotes play with weaker teams in this mode as you gain more points, but unfortunately, you can really feel the difference of powerhouse teams such as France and Holland, so no matter how good you are, it is difficult to stop Frank Ribery and Aaron Lennon bombarding the wings with you not being able to get anywhere near them. That’s not to say that this is still not an incredibly enjoyable game mode. When you enter the knock out stages you actually feel the pressure and excitement and the reality that you might win the World Cup with your favourite team. This sense of emotion is what WORLDCUP10 does best in simulating and this is certainly no easy task to accomplish. The national pride at stake makes it a nerve-racking tournament but the satisfaction of winning is absolutely incredible.

To conclude, unfortunately it is difficult to admit that £39.99 is a hefty price tag, but this is only because FIFA10 came out 6 months ago. There is very little difference between the PS3 and 360 versions of the game, if at all. The Wii version is a totally different game with the Wii controls so this review does not apply to it. There is absolutely no doubt that FIFAWORLDCUP10 is a better game in every aspect technically and visually. If you have the money, get it, you will not regret it, it is as simple as that.

CeX (UK) Contributor

Igor Kharin

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