It’s easy to be cynical every other year when EA bring out a FIFA game based around international soccer competitions and it’s also easy to see why. There are less teams to play as, the game usually feels a bit stripped down to the bare bones and once the tournament is over you probably won’t pick the game up again.
Having said that, this latest World Cup game is very much fun to play thanks to some new game modes and some tweaks to gameplay and graphics which show where the game will be heading when FIFA 2011 comes out.
The first mode you’ll probably play is the World Cup tournament where you pick a team, make your way through the group stages and hopefully to the final. The game seems to have a faster pace and focuses very much on the occasion. Long shots of the stadiums, close-ups of managers giving orders and even the fans willing their team to glory. Commentary is provided by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend and although repetitive at times, does the job well. The atmosphere of the stadiums can also be heard but most of the time the horns being blown by the fans do sound like you’re playing the game in a stadium full of bees.
Graphically there’s been a real boost to player likenesses and sometimes they look almost photo-realistic so a big thumbs up there!
The biggest change in gameplay is in penalty kicks. There is now a meter where you have to hit a sweet spot as you press the shoot button and you can also stutter your run to make the keeper dive early. As the keeper you can also commit early or wait to dive after the ball is kicked if you want to react to a poorly taken shot. It takes a little bit of getting used to so they’ve included a practice mode as well.
Other modes include the Story of Qualifying where you try and change the outcome of games against the odds as a team or individual, Captain your Country which is basically Be A Pro mode as you try to make your way from the B team into the actual squad. Up to four players can play at once in this mode and work together to make a difference. And of course you can play the game online against others and try to get more wins for your country which affects the real-time rankings.
Another nice touch is that during the competition itself, more scenarios will be added to the game for you to play through to alter the outcomes of what may become historic matches.
This certainly isn’t as in-depth as the yearly game but it really does capture the essence of this year’s World Cup in South Africa. I think it’s great fun to play and if you’re having any World Cup parties round your house, you could do worse than get this to play before and after watching a game on the TV. It gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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