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Review | FIFA 10

Format: All of the formats | Genre: Sport | Publisher: EA | Developer: EA Sports Canada | Release date: 02/10/09 | RRP: £29.99 – £39.99

By Greg Giddens

fifa1On the surface, FIFA 10 sticks mainly to the same formula as FIFA 09.

The graphics and menus remain mostly the same, and the general modes on offer haven’t changed much. But it’s below that surface where dozens of tweaks and minor changes collectively shape a much better experience. EA Sports Canada have paid great attention to their fans, resulting in a football simulation that truly lives up to the beautiful game. There’s certainly room for further improvements, but it’s safe to say FIFA 10 is the most impressive football game so far.

//Getting better all the time
The foundations remain unchanged, and for good reason. FIFA 09 was great, so with FIFA 10, an improvement on an already winning formula certainly seems like the best way forwards. The most prominent change is the very welcome introduction of full 360 degree movement. Although previous iterations had a very functional range of direction, the ability to dribble, pass and shoot with highly specific and accurate directional control opens up a multitude of options to both you and your opposition, changing the way you approach the game quite significantly. To help maintain balance, tackling has also been improved so as to ensure the 360 degree dribbling doesn’t nullify its use.

Tied to both the tackling and the 360 degree control are the improvements to the AI. Players will now stay in position more often, with defence and goalkeeping seeing a massive rise in general competence, and the referee will now ignore most of the accidental off-the-ball challenges that so easily occur and attempt to keep play going by way of advantage. The pace of the game is altogether more realistic than in previous iterations, slower when players are being cautious and punishing when mistakes are made, but despite the shift yet more towards the world of simulation, the accessibility is never compromised, so FIFA 10 remains as immediately enjoyable as ever.

//Options galore
fifa2The alterations to how the game is played all help to improve the many game modes FIFA 10 has on offer. All the standard modes we are all familiar with are present, such as exhibition mode and tournament mode, as well as a list of expanded or tweaked areas. Live Season 2.0 is essentially an updated version of last year’s Adidas Live season, allowing you to download the real-world stats of your chosen league and replay and reshape its history – digital fantasy football, if you will. The mode itself isn’t anything new, and at present is unavailable due to unforeseen technical problems, but if it delivers what’s promised, it should feel fresh, and will be a great way to rectify real world defeats in your delusional world.

The management mode has certainly seen a large improvement. The logic problems that plagued FIFA 09 have been mostly fixed, resulting in much more realistic player transfers and game outcomes. It does still falter on occasion, with small clubs making ridiculous singings and the larger clubs selling their best players, but these unlikely scenarios aren’t too frequent, so mostly the experience feels real enough. It’s still doesn’t offer the amount of options or accuracy of the likes of Football Manger, but it’s a step in the right direction, and its addition to actually playing the games provides a much more content heavy title than many management-only or playing-only games currently offer.

Virtual Pro and Practise are the final two modes that have been expanded on in FIFA 10, with the practise mode allowing you to really hone your skills before playing matches and giving you the ability to carefully create your own set-pieces. Virtual Pro is an improved version of Be a Pro from FIFA 09, allowing you once again choose a player, or create one from scratch, and lead them through their football career.


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