Review by Menji

"The learning curve is steep but definitely worth a play!"

Every four years, Americans like me drop everything we do and watch the World Cup. This will be the only time Americans care about soccer and the only time games like these sell in America. Naturally with my newfound excitement, I wanted to try the game out and see what has been changed since my last experience with the 2002 version. To my pleasure, the game has tremendously improved and actually made it a bit of a challenge, more so than I remember.

There are two modes where most time will be spent: The actual World Cup and Captain Your Country. The World Cup plays just like the real thing. The player chooses his or her country and the settings and then sets off. The choice to start from the beginning of qualifying or right at the world cup is up to the player. Unfortunately, I don't believe the schedules are completely accurate as far as Friendly matches are concerned. But qualifying appears to be the correct way as far as I could tell. The results of the World Cup are weird though. After three trips there, Netherlands and Spain only qualified once! Italy and France had no problem reaching the finals and this shows that EA has some pretty crappy projections.

Gameplay is generally smooth. The player can control one player on defense and the player with the ball on offense. Just about every move and play can be executed but the problem is that there are so many things to do that it becomes difficult to master. One thing that I disliked was the overload of actions by one button. I might be using on constantly on defense and by no fault of my own I would still be using it after I get the ball and my player will launch it out of bounds. Mistakes like that happen all the time and need to be fixed. Shooting is a bit complicated but can be perfected, passing and lead passing work wonders. Stealing the ball can be done with a simple timed challenge. No longer can you just use slide tackles like the last version I played which happened to be in 2002. There is not much control over how well the goalie does except for the difficulty. Penalty kicks are a bit of a pain especially as a goalie. I suppose that is realistic but still irritating.

The other interesting game mode is Captain Your Country. The player has the choice of picking a player on a current team, creating his or her own, or importing a character from FIFA 2010. From there, the player can only control that player on the pitch. Points are awarded for doing that player's specific duties: staying in position, passing, stealing, controlling, crossing, shooting and assisting. The higher the player scores the better chance he has at moving up the squad roster to the starting spot. Nothing is too hard especially since the player has the ability to call for the ball at any time and the player's teammates will almost always pass it to the player. As the player's respect and ability increases, more options will become available for the gamer. Specifically choosing who takes penalty and corner kicks. There is also an option to control the goalie and have him charge the ball. Even after finishing this mode, there is the ability to export the player into regular gameplay and I assume to carry him on to next year's game!

But the absolute worst thing about the game is EA Sports screwing up the trophy system. Sometimes the game will award the player with trophies and sometimes they will not. There are a couple of things to fix this but they work for some people and may only make some trophies work. I was quite disappointed after winning my first World Cup and not receiving anything through the long journey. The stats were glitched and didn't record any of my player's goals or assists and I was a screwed out of those trophies as well. Clearly EA Sports did not spend enough time working out the bugs and last I checked, they didn't even release a statement or patch to fix this trophy problem.

The game is buggy but still pretty fun to play. Online is setup well and records points from every country. There are a bunch of fun challenges to do that occurred in real life as well as playing in hundreds of games. One of my favorite things is the ability to run around and practice kicking before each game. FIFA World Cup 2010 isn't something I would want to invest in. It's a perfect rental and even a bigger blast with a person to play with. Check it out or just wait for next year's version!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/03/10

Game Release: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (US, 04/27/10)

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