To Americans, soccer has always been the game on ESPN that you watch when nothing else is on, or the story you read in Sports Illustrated after you’ve read through all the articles you’re interested in. However to the rest of the world, soccer is in their blood. It is the biggest sport around the world and a country’s identity lives and dies with their futball team. You’d figure that a sport like soccer, with such international recognition, EA developers would… I don’t know… remember to include a country’s international team! FIFA developers left out so many aspects of international play that the only thing that saves them is the outrageously amazing game play.
Ask any foreigner about their favorite FC and they will be passionate. They will always know the score of the latest match and would love to talk to you about it, but ask them about when the national team plays, and that’s where you get some excitement! FIFA 10 does a very poor job of living up to this hype. Teams like Costa Rica and Honduras are not even available in the game. Now I know that World Cup Qualifying is happening as we speak and that developers are already working on World Cup South Africa 10 right now, but the fact that all type of international tournament play was overlooked this year really puts a disappointing twist to the game.
Once you get over the shock of missing teams and no international tourneys, there are still upsides to FIFA Soccer 10. If we were just looking at game play to base FIFA off of, then I don’t think there has ever been a soccer game to compare. The first time I began to play, a buddy of mine walked in and said, “Holy cow (edited of course), those graphics are ridiculous!” Without a doubt the best visual effects of any FIFA game before it. The controls are also as close to natural as ever before and they cause you to have to think one step ahead while playing. For example, you are making a streak up the field and get a pass from the midfield, you have to be jostling the defender for position even before the ball is passed otherwise he’ll get position. It doesn’t take too long before you have mastered your favorite ball skill moves and can use them during the game, along with finesse shots and lob shots as well. The controls are very user friendly.
The skills, abilities and accomplishments are fun by themselves as you practice and make your player better on the practice pitch. I always find myself playing in the practice arena and completely forgetting that I have to press start to actually start playing a match. In most games, the graphics and controls are usually the difficult part that developers screw up on. In FIFA 10, those are the strong points of the game and they missed out on the easy stuff of not having international play!
There is the same Manager Mode as previous editions, but this year’s was a little more in-depth and realistic. For example, in previous years, the recognition of teams and funding really wouldn’t make a difference in which players you could reel in, when in reality small clubs have a nearly slim to none chance of transferring a player you’ve ever actually heard of, and if someone on their team begins to play great, he is usually transferred to a team like Man U. However, this year it is much more realistic in trying to get players that would never even think of coming to your small town squad in real life. But the game play difference between these squads is not so different that there is no chance you could beat a team like Chelsea with your under qualified squad.
The new Be A Pro Mode is one of the best additions to FIFA Soccer 10. You can upload your face online and download it to make your player look just like yourself. As you begin to play with your new pro, you’ll start on the reserve squad and have to move your way up through the ranks. Your player will be given specific goals to reach throughout the match. Some are very unrealistic, like score three goals during the match. That is a pretty ridiculous goal to give a player for every game. However the better you play, the faster you will move your way up to the national team and gain popularity. It is very addicting and a different type of play because you only control one player on the pitch as opposed to the whole team (however you can control the whole team if you would like).
As good as the graphics and controls are, you’ll find occasional glitches in the game that make it unrealistic. For example in Be A Pro mode, when you tell your teammates to pass you the ball, and it is at the right time and you are open, your player rating goes up. However, if they pass it to you and it gets intercepted on its way, a defender who has been dominant with the ball will suddenly forget how to do anything but dribble straight and will get the ball stolen. On the flip side, if you call for a pass and you aren’t open, your player may just kick the ball randomly in the wrong direction, out of bounds or get it poked away. During my few weeks with the game, I didn’t notice major glitches in the game, but I have heard of games being started without a ball and/or having stats not accumulate.
Despite the few glitches, and the complete neglect of international play, FIFA has the best game play of any soccer game to date. You can try and set up your favorite international matches (depending on whether or not the team is actually represented in the game) and play that way, but there is no tourney mode like World Cup. We’ll have to wait for the World Cup edition next year for that. Overall, FIFA Soccer 10 is a great game to play and the graphics and controls alone are an incredible step in the right direction.