2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

The World Cup is here once again, but does EA capitalize on the exciting trip to South Africa?

By King, Posted 12 Jul 2010

The World Cup is a special event. Every four years, the world is united by one sport, with every nation hoping to do their country proud and bring home the title. In coordination with the big stage, a new FIFA title is put out every four years by EA, which puts a sole emphasis on the the World Cup. Meaning, 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is more or less FIFA 10 with a new flavor.

The biggest overhaul is the game's presentation, and it's not just a small touch here and there, this full on feels like more than just a regular soccer game. South Africa has a unique atmosphere, and EA nailed the look and feel, from the authentic venues, vibrant soundtrack, and everything in between. The only thing missing is some vuvuzelas to top things off. Commentary from Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend gets the job done, but nothing they say is very interesting. Everything else, on the other hand, is spot on with what you'd see if you turn on your television to watch a match. It's worth noting that this game is no slouch in the graphics department, either. It may be hard to appreciate the look with the camera zoomed out, but the field, character models, lighting, everything looks great, and the animations make it look like a real game.

Complete with camera shots of the crowd, wearing your nation's apparel, cheering you on, and close-ups of the players on the pitch, these presentation elements actually hurt the game in a way. The first time you see them, these small touches are welcome to add to the realism factor, but by your second or third match, you just grow tired of them. They look nice, but soccer is the game that never stops moving, so being interrupted by a cutscene, as minor as it sounds, gets annoying after a while. These can be turned off, but in online play you're stuck with them, even if both users agree to skip it, that moment took you out of play for a few seconds.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review

Thankfully, there's not much more to pick at in the gameplay, which is saying something considering that the cutscenes aren't a gamebreaking problem. Everything else feels like in FIFA 10, except slightly better. Things run just a tiny bit smoother overall, but the biggest change is the improvement to penalty kicks. When you got fouled in the box, or were caught in a tie game down to the end, when you stepped up to take a penalty kick or defend one, things felt a little clunky. Now, with a little practice, you'll feel like you have full control of where you want your kicks to go, or where you want the goalkeeper to dive.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about the gameplay of FIFA games is how inviting it is. It is easy for someone with little knowledge of the game to pick up a controller, and within minutes, know exactly what he or she is doing. The controls are simple and easy to get a hold of. By no means is it a “noob friendly” game, though. Soccer sim veterans will feel right at home, and be able to find depth in the various strategies. And yes, they will be able to kick a beginner's behind, no matter how easy to pick up the controls are.

The gameplay is better than ever, presentation captures the exotic World Cup feel, but 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is full retail game, so there has to be some meat on the game modes. The most obvious mode to be here is the World Cup mode. You can choose just about any country in the world that has a soccer team, and either go through four years of qualifying, or choose to just quick start the 2010 World Cup. The mode doesn't give you a whole lot of options. Play your games, manage players, look at stats etc., but it really gives you just about everything you could ask for from a mode like this, and win you finally hoist the trophy at the end of it all, it really feels like an accomplishment.

If you want to challenge gamers across the globe, along with the regular quick matches and lobbies, there is a full World Cup to take part in. It's a unique option in the sense that it's not just a big tournament, but rather a whole game mode that adapts to you. You won't have to worry about setting up game times or make sure all the league members are active. With this you'll always have an opponent waiting. The Online World Cup begins with you picking any team, whether they're really in the tournament or have never made it in history. From here you are put into a random group against three opponents who you don't yet know. Your opponents will be revealed once you play them in matches.

It's an awesome idea, and playing against a human controlled opponent rather than the computer ups the intensity and makes every victory that much more satisfying. There are only two issues for me that keep it from being the main attraction. First is that there isn't much motivating players to select lower rated teams, so often times you'll end up having the first group consist of something like: Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and the United States. A way to control the diversity and realism in the group stage would be nice. The other problem is that for those of us who aren't professionals at the game, we'll never get a chance to taste the glory. Only the elite players will be making it deep into the tournament, while the rest of us continue to be eliminated in the group stage (and occasionally the round of 16). It's fair, but I think it would have been possible to have a rating system for users, and you get matched up based on your skill level.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review

There's also Captain Your Country, which is basically the same as FIFA 10's Be a Pro. You take a player (created, existing, or imported from FIFA 10) and work your way up the roster in attempt to try and be the captain of your team. You play through everything like you would in the regular offline World Cup, except now you can only control your created player. Whether or not you like this style of play is up to you. I prefer being able to take control of everyone on the team, but some players like the feeling of being only one man on the field. It's a nice addition, anyway. If you have some friends who want to join you on the journey, up to four players can join in a co-op Captain Your Country campaign.

Not necessarily a game mode in itself, but rather an extra little feature, we also have Battle of the Nations. At the start, you choose one country that you wish to support. From now on, every match you play you will be earning points for this country (whether you're using that team or not). There's a leaderboard system floating around at all times letting you now what nations are in the lead. Anyone who has played NCAA Football 10 will remember a similar feature. There's also a mode called the Story of Qualifying, which lets you relive some of the best moments from the qualifying matches, and will be updated to let you download the best moments from this World Cup.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is a great game of soccer, and in fact, has the best gameplay yet. The real problem lies in its replay value. The presentation is top notch, bringing the feel of South Africa home, but how long before that becomes stale? Once this World Cup has passed will you still want to play this game? The game has no shortage of game modes to dive into, but the modes aren't going to be long lasting. How many times can you win the 2010 World Cup before you get tired of it? This game is better suited for either someone who just can't get enough of the 2010 South Africa World Cup, or a casual soccer fan who doesn't care for things like managing a club and taking them through multiple seasons.

If you don't fall into one of those categories, you're probably better off sticking to FIFA 10 and/or holding out until FIFA 11 releases this fall (since 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is a full price game). What we could really dream for is that EA Sports would start including a World Cup mode as part of their regular FIFA series, rather than put out five titles in four years. Too bad we aren't likely to see that happen.

Logan Smithson, NoobFeed

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  • I was "this" close of getting the game. Probably I won't get it because the replay value is almost null. It seems like an improved FIFA 10 to me, and I'll wait for next FIFA titles instead of picking this one up.

    Posted Jul 12, 2010

  • I like that Battle of the Nations feature. It's something new in any FIFA game I've played so far.

    Posted Jul 13, 2010

  • I think I remember the Captain the Country came from Fifa 98. Possibly with different name or mode. I may be wrong. No vuvuzellas. EA should be shot for this mistake!!!

    Posted Jul 13, 2010

  • @Koshai : Did they have the mode back then? Haha, I think I heard they were bringing vuvuzelas to FIFA 11.

    Posted Jul 13, 2010

  • Correct about everything. Best gameplay in a football game so far but replay value is a little bit disappointing. But no worries, FIFA 11 coming soon.

    Posted Jul 30, 2010


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, WII, Mobile
Publisher(s): EA Sports
Developer(s): EA Canada, HB Studios
Genres: Sports
Themes: Soccer
Release Date: 2010-04-27

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