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FIFA 10 Review

Anybody that follows sports video games knows that while EA may have a monopoly on the NFL, they have a fair share of competition when it comes to their other sports franchises.  The last few years have seen some quality titles from Konami’s PES (2008 most notably) and EA has been pushed to bring their version of soccer to its ultimate peak.

FIFA 10 is just that.  By far the most complete sports game I have ever played, FIFA 10 is a must own for anyone who loves soccer.  I don’t even follow professional football but I can only imagine how bad ass this game must be for the true enthusiast.  The fact is, is that you don’t have to be a die hard soccer fanatic to love this game, it’s that spectacular.

What I’ve always loved about soccer games was their almost instant accessibility and little to no learning curve.  FIFA 10 is definitely much harder than previous soccer games I’ve played and there is a ton to learn about the games finer strategic points, but taking that time makes it much more satisfying when you succeed.

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Presentation:

If you’ve played EA Sports game in the past you know what to expect.  Slick menus and presentation are par for the pitch in FIFA 10, and there’s no reason not to like it.  The authenticity is far beyond what I have ever seen in a soccer game period.  The amount of leagues available really lets you know just how worldwide a sport soccer actually is, and it’s fun to scroll through all the teams just to look at their logos and uniforms.

EA has really brought this year’s FIFA to the world stage and it shows.  You really feel part of something that’s bigger than you, a true feat in a sports game.  The stadiums possess great lighting an depth and you can even see the telecast equipment on the field.

What would have been cool was if there were some more crowd animations as soccer fans are some of the most passionate and belligerent spectators around.  Team specific songs are sung, banners are waived, riots, violence, and rival matches would all really heighten the level of immersion.

So while not dead on, the presentation of FIFA 10 is definitely spot on.  The sheer scope of the game is fully realized and it won’t take you but a minute to notice it.

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Graphics:

While I wasn’t blown away by anything in particular, FIFA 10 looks great on all occasions.  The pitch and players are clear and sharp, and anyone looking at this game while not really paying attention would swear it was an actual TV broadcast.  The flow of the game feels really seamless and looks just awesome in HD.

What I was blown away with, however, was the animations.  Every game never played the same way twice thanks to the incredible achievement in physics and gameplay.  From the ball hitting the referee to back kicks and flailing player collisions, the killer animations usherd a potent intensity to the action.

The stadiums hold true to their real life counterparts and come alive with each match.  While the stadiums could have shown some wear to them, a great sense of depth is achieved nonetheless, and there are several quality camera angles to play from.

This year’s FIFA has an improved game face feature that lets you import a picture of your face and have it appear on a player in the game.  Unfortunately I can’t align my EA account to my Xbox 360 so I didn’t get to give it a try.

The instant replays which were previously a little jagged and unrefined, are now solid, well timed, and look awesome.  No complaints there.

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Sound:

The sound in FIFA 10 is comprehensive to say the least.  The stadium noise is effectively apparent and there is an assembly of mainstream “world” music to help you feel more cultured.  In fact, the music soundtrack tries to cater to the masses so heavily, that it will be too broad for the average listener.  Some of the music is downright bad and it gets to be a bit annoying.

On the contrary, the play by play commentary from Martin Tyler and Andy Gray is very well done.  It’s full of colorful quips and you never get tired of hearing their banter.  They seem well versed in all play modes and repetition and inaccurate calls are on the minimum.

I would have liked to hear more on-field player noises like grunts and body collision impacts as well as crowd chanting, song singing, and biased one-liners delivered in a garbled drunken language, but it’s not like you’d ever hear that stuff on TV anyway.

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Gameplay:

Stellar.  Everything about the gameplay in FIFA 10 is outstanding.  It feels great and is so precise that it will keep you on your toes at all times.  There’s so much to do that you’ll have to take your tactics back to the drawing board to implement all the new moves you can perform.

FIFA 10 is the first time where you can dribble the ball in 360 degrees and it can either be a gift or a handicap given your play style.  Memorizing what the right analog stick does as far as skill moves are concerned is going to greatly improve your game as haphazardly pressing it in a random direction is going to lose you the ball immediately.

Skill moves and dekes are pretty hard to pull off with accuracy and not every player is capable of performing the same ones.  There’s a robust tutorial system in players to help you nail down some of the finer aspects of the game and I would highly recommend checking them out, especially if you aren’t so well versed in the general mechanics of soccer.

The amount of game modes present in FIFA 10 is downright staggering.  I have never seen so many in a sports game, ever.  Be A Pro Mode is cool and the Live 2.0 Season is fun for those that want to test their skills alongside their real life teams.  To my disdain, though, you have to pay extra for that.  I played the trial and played 5 matches as Manchester United and just got my ass handed to me.

You can practice a variety of scenarios. make you own plays, and customize just about any aspect of the game to your liking.  Playing online also offers a host of options with leagues and tournaments at your disposal.  I would suggest honing your skills as best you can before getting online as if you are like a me, an avid player with decent skills, will get straight tooled on.

To sum it up, EA has made the gameplay so robust and effective that the time taken to learn the advanced controls will be well worth it in the long run.  While that’s not to say the average player won’t be able to pick it up and play a casual exhibition match, it just takes a bit to truly master all that the control scheme has to offer.

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Replay Value:

Tremendous.  You really might never need a new soccer game (or at least for the next couple years) there is so much to do here.  Even if you are on the fence about getting into a soccer game, this is the one.  From the seemingly endless amounts of modes to online play, FIFA 10 will definitely detract you from the other games you are playing.

Final Endings:

To say that EA went all out on this one would be an understatement.  FIFA 10 is everything you could ever want from a soccer game and much, much more.  having previously been a fan of the PES series, I can honestly say I am fully converted to FIFA 10.

Even though it is going to be a tougher battle in terms of learning the controls and the actual game of soccer, the outcome will be that much more rewarding.  Polished presentation, exemplary gameplay and modes, and an endless amount of replay value, FIFA 10 is the new benchmark in console soccer games.

Pros:

  • Unparalleled animations
  • Precise gameplay
  • Crushing replay value

Cons:

  • You have to pay extra for Live Season 2.0
  • Crowd needs more animations
  • Mild learning curve

Buy FIFA 10 here for $57!



Jeff B