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Jeremy Jastrzab
22 May, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review

360 Review | The greatest sporting event of them all.
Ever since Australia qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, there has been a distinctive change in the media. Soccer is now Football while Footy is now AFL, League or Union. However, converting this into the everyday vernacular has been a challenge, as now whenever you mention that you’re going to go and watch the ‘football’ or ‘footy’, you could be talking about any of four different sports. Oh, and by the way, with the 2010 FIFA World Cup around the corner, EA has released their obligatory football game tie-in.

As usual, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is the feature-stripped version of the previous year’s football iteration. In this case, FIFA 10 is the base game. Significantly though, many now believe that the FIFA series has transcended the shadows of the Pro Evolution Soccer series. While FIFA always had the licenses and the modes, Pro Evo was always considered to have the superior gameplay, until the lack of evolution allowed for FIFA to make a comeback. On a side note, why is called Pro Evolution Soccer in Europe?...

BOOO!!!

BOOO!!!
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Obviously, the main aim of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is to guide your team to glory in one of the world’s greatest sporting contests. Thankfully, you’re not restricted to just the 32 nations that qualified for this year’s event. In fact, 199 (of 204) FIFA teams that participated in qualification are available for selection. From there, you can participate in this year’s event as scheduled, make your own World Cup, and even redo qualification to get a team like Macau into the World Cup. However, if you want to do stupid stuff like play with ‘clubs’ and Premier Leagues (isn’t that an Indian cricket tournament?), you’re out of luck, as this is a strictly international affair.

Sure, the core football fans are likely to stick to the vast selection of teams and options available in the main line of FIFA games. However, it is entirely possible that there are a legion of football fans out there that are looking to just play some quality international football and win the World Cup. Right? After all, they’re not going to keep flogging these games otherwise. The good thing about 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa though, is that unlike the crappy Olympic tie-in games that come with each Summer and Winter Olympics, is that it actually plays a great game of football. And it makes some good additions and tweaks along the way too.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa plays probably one of the most natural and flowing games of football represented in a video game. While holding to the confines of realism and the base game in FIFA 2010, the quality of the teams you’re playing as really shines through. What helps make this game potentially feel more natural and often realistic than its predecessors, is the way that the off-the-ball players react. They can make intelligent runs and movements and are very good at positioning themselves for headers and set-pieces. A lot of the players seem to know their positions very well, as they will cover pretty much everything that they need to when on the ball. On the flip side, there seem to be a lot of fouls, as the players tend to play very physically and aggressively. While the AI seems pretty decent on the ball, a big folly with it is the lack of intent shown when the ball is in open play. You’ll see A LOT of players watching as the ball trickles a few metres away from them. Also, players relying on a lot of the ‘assisted’ options will have to put up with unwanted automation, such as unintentional passes.

This is football, not ballet!

This is football, not ballet!
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A big gameplay change is made to the spot penalties. This is very welcome, as the penalties in football games haven’t been changed from being a coin toss game of chance for something like the last 1000 years. The additions of metres for the kickers and defined controls for the goalie, as well as practice facilities, mean you’re actually in a real contest, and not one something that resembles a game of two-up. Another interesting addition is the two button control mode. For those unwilling to delve into the intricacies of football games, all you can do here is pass and shoot. It’s a handy addition for new players and possibly parents, though it is best played when both players use it.

In terms of game modes, you’ve got the stock-standard collection for these kinds of football games. You can play friendlies, play through the World Cup, Qualify for the World Cup, history altering scenarios and train. The ‘Caption Your Country’ mode from UEFA Euro 2008 makes a return, where you can create a Pro, import a Pro, or use an existing Pro to take your country of choice through to World Cup glory. It’s a tough mode, as you start off with the second and third teams, and claw your way to the top by performing well and improving your skills. Like the usual ‘Be a Pro’ in other EA Sports titles, you are only in control of one player, but your team capability seems to reflect your progress individually. It wasn’t until about half way through qualifying that our team ‘clicked’ and made things much less frustrating to watch.

The online game modes are quite a nice addition too. Aside from the standard leader boards and one-on-one ranking matches, you can play through an Online FIFA World Cup. It works pretty well, as you’ll try and make your way through a virtual group, which picks up other players looking for group games until you can each complete three matches. If you advance, you search for other guys waiting for the corresponding elimination match. Overall, the system actually works really well and the online servers are very good, making for smooth matches. Another quirky little feature is the online leader board for the 'Battle of the Nations', where you vicariously represent your country and all your feats in the game give points that go towards this. Currently, Mexico is WAY out in front…

Don't choke!

Don't choke!
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An issue that seems to permeate through these interim FIFA games is the dexterity of the menu design. If there is a fault to 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, it’s that the menu design is pretty weak and confusing. Either way, whether you just want to play or you want to dig into the stats and customising, you’re either stuck with too many menus, or a system that leaves too much to be buried in hard to find places. That, and for players looking to do some customising, then well, there really isn’t much you can do, let alone find that you can’t do it. While you’d consider 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa to be a streamlined FIFA game, the menus go against this with a garish and cheap look and unpolished function.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is really the game for football fans who aren’t into the yearly updates, the club scene and seriously in-depth career modes. The leap from 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany is night and day, and it’s even better than UEFA Euro 2008 as well. The actual football is fluid and realistic and while you only play as International sides, there have been some good gameplay tweaks and additions and some entertaining online modes, once you get to them through the cumbersome menus. And just how long you'll be playing after the World Cup is over? Who knows...
The Score
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is an excellent football game for the fans who only come out every four years, and it plays a good game of football in its own right as well. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 Comments
3 years ago
I love Fifa but I won't be buying this. There's no way I'm paying $70 for a new penalty kick system.
3 years ago
I agree with Cian. If you've got Fifa 10, you can just make a World Cup scenario tournament, it's no too hard to do. Although you might find some of the teams that made it into the 2010 world cup aren't represented (Ghana)
3 years ago
I'm sorry, but all I can think of is:



=

3 years ago
A penalty system that is almost impossible to use online... or at least feels that way.

I think the review sells it short a bit, I love this game. I have FIFA 10 but just had to get this after playing and loving Euro 2008. But im football mad. I like to do all the qualifying and stuff, theres also a whole 'scenarios' section where u try to right wrongs of past qualifying campaigns, and a section of that will be scenarios from the actual 2010 world cup that will open up as it goes.

Online world cup is great, for me - being someone who likes to play online but feels little reward in one off games - as you basically play a full world cup against real people. 1 game at a time, so you play your matches whenever you want, a day later, a week. The only prob i had with it was that the games arent added to your online head to head record, that would have been nice cos id just never play head to head again, only online world cup!

Only other negative for me was that you dont get to pick your squad from the full fifa 10 database. Theres about 35-40 odd players in the full squad and you end up picking the 23 to take to the world cup when the time comes.

Also it would be nice if they added the regional cup tournaments into the game too as a bonus, even if they let our euro so they could cash in in 2012!

Anyway for a nut like me, i love the world cup flavor of it and was worth the $60 i paid for it... i think!
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  29/04/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Sports
Year Made:
  2010
Players:
  4

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