Opinion// FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010

Posted 12 May 2010 14:38 by
Is 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa just a cash in? Let's see, but let me first add some context.

I'm a big football fan and when I saw England fail to reach the European Championships in 2008 I wondered to myself what the hell I was going to do for that month. I sure as hell wasn't going to watch the tournament knowing that we weren't involved. Instead I decided to buy EA Sports' UEFA Euro2008. So, for five short weeks I sat in a dark room, with my England-branded underpants on, playing my version of events.

What was surprising though was what I first thought would be nothing more than an aid in stopping me from having a full on breakdown turned out to be the best football game I had ever played. UEFA Euro 2008 was a huge step up for the genre and laid down the foundations for the PES-murdering FIFA 10.

So, you can see why I was interested in EA Sports 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Although it isn't quite the game changer that Euro 2008 was, it is by far the best game of football currently available.

It has taken FIFA 10 and improved it in pretty much every way. Nearly every complaint fans that had with the game have now been addressed. Goalkeepers have been vastly improved and no longer run off of their line exposing huge gaps for massive damage. Outfield players seem to control the ball a little better and you no longer have to fight with defenders to get the cheeky sods to do what you want them to do.

Most importantly though, the biggest complaint people had with FIFA10 was the 'ping-pong' gameplay and this has been fixed. The issue is that because the gameplay was physics based, there was no pre-determined direction that the ball would move in. This sounds good written down. However, when most matches consisted of the ball pinging off of five midfielders' legs only for it to suddenly pop out of the scrum into the path of the opponent's leading goalscorer, it got a little frustrating. This has been sorted in FSAWC2010.

The players now hold the ball closer to their feet meaning that there is less room for random errors that set off the 'ping-ponging', and allowing for a more fluid and intentional gaming experience.

The graphics have been worked on, with player likeness looking so good that even your lady friend will swoon when you bring on David Beckham on the 89th minute to waste a little bit more time. Kits now look wet when it's raining; and managers can be seen screaming from the touchline. Unfortunately, EA liked its artistic work so much that it insisted that you see a short cutscene between every replay and break in the game. This can be shut off at the menu, thankfully, so I won't hold too much of a grudge.

The AI has had an overhaul too. The computer or console, as an opponent will now play a lot more like a human than ever before. It will miss passes, run the ball out of play and even concede penalties. You no longer feel like you're playing against a mind-reading robot but more as though your console is shouting ?Look Papa, I'm a real boy!?

The most interesting additions to the game happen away from the pitch. Firstly we have the Online World Cup Mode. You are essentially playing a FIFA World Cup tournament but instead of going up against the console, the online system matches you with an opponent who is at the same stage of the competition. This means that you are up against each other in order for one of you to continue your progress.
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