In less than two months, the best soccer teams in the world will gather in various South African stadiums for the FIFA World Cup. But you don’t have to wait; you can play right now.
|2010 FIFA WORLD CUP SOUTH AFRICA
EA for PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, PSP
Replay Value: 8.5
Overall Score: 8.5
Pros: Captures the feverish excitement; two-button play; revamped shootout scenarios.
Cons: Too much advertising; occasional graphics hiccups; needs better ending.
Is 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa worth the price of admission — especially if you already have FIFA 10 from six months ago? If you’re a soccer nut, the answer is generally “yes.”
This game is not just about being the best in a country, region or even a continent. World Cup is about bragging rights, about being the best team on the planet. And it happens only once every four years with 32 of the world’s finest teams.
First, you can import your Virtual Pro player from the FIFA 10 game. But he doesn’t just play at the same strength. You add achievements and experience boosts as you play World Cup. Or you can create a new player to step up in the ranks from a B Grade International player all the way up to the captain of your World Cup team. You even have an in-game page full of your statistics. They call it a Web site, but it’s mainly just a screen for your accomplishments and ranking.
In one key way, World Cup has become easier to play than FIFA 10. Even newbies will enjoy the play that lets you use just two buttons on your controller, one to pass and one to shoot. This doesn’t “dumb down” the game, though.
Included are small innovations that come together to make FIFA World Cup a well-thought-out simulation. For instance, say you’re visiting a team that is at a higher altitude, such as Ecuador. If your team hails from, say, England, players onscreen will get winded early, and the home team will have the advantage, even if they’re generally a weaker club. It’s a little tweak that makes it closer to a real-life game.
Returning from World Cup 2006 is a scenario mode that’s packed with action. But this mode has been revamped. It includes 55 scenarios in which you relive some of the most extraordinary in-game situations in this year’s World Cup preliminaries, along with those from the 2006 finals.
For online play, EA has gone Madden on World Cup. They’ve created a very in-depth experience, their most innovative yet for any FIFA game. It will have you virtually traveling the globe to vie against the best teams in the world.
You feel the excitement even before the early rounds of the game. As you prepare for battle, you hear enthusiastic English announcer and former pro Andy Townsend, who played in two World Cups himself.
As you ready to play to the sounds of music from around the world, you see the enthusiastic fans — even one with a red, white and blue Mohawk — dance and get a little rowdy.
Fireworks explode; confetti covers players and fans alike. Then Townsend and commentator Clive Tyldesley provide the sometimes thoughtful and occasionally mocking play by play.
A FEW HICCUPS
Once you’ve finished some games, you’ll notice the graphics have a few hiccups. Essentially, you see play from above the field as if you were high in the stands. And sometimes two players near each other will move in exactly the same way. Or they will stutter step.
Even so, with 22 players running on the field, a constantly moving camera, the loud cheering and a kind of small radar screen that shows you the whole field with zippy dots for the athletes, you’ll be so caught up in play, you may not notice the small glitches.
However, there’s one big downside beyond the small graphics problems. You see a ton of advertising around each stadium. You’re already paying $60 for a game; you don’t want to be bombarded by more stuff to buy.
Finally, no sports game, including World Cup, has figured out how to give you the real excitement of winning the whole enchilada. There’s fanfare and fireworks, the deafening crowd and team jubilation, which is cool. But there needs to be something more. Maybe it’s something humorous or dramatic. Maybe it’s a mini-game within the cut scene that shows the ultimate victory.
If you already own FIFA 10, a real soccer fan has to think seriously about getting this World Cup game. It does give you the true thrill of winning. And if you’re strapped for cash, you can always rent before you buy. Finally, there’s a free demo up on Xbox Live for you to download. It doesn’t have all of the features, but it will give you a taste of the gameplay.