FIFA 10 Review
by CommandoCurse

Basic Information:
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Date of North American Release: October 20th, 2009
Date of European Release: October 2nd, 2009
Date of Asian Release: October 1st, 2009
Trophies: Yes

First of all just let me say this - the review you will see will not be biased towards the FIFA franchise in anyway. I've been a long time PES fan and it's only been since PS3 that I feel FIFA has taken the lead. FIFA 08 really pushed the boundaries, it added new and realistic gameplay to the authentic football franchise and pushed FIFA ahead of PES which has become quite lackluster. And since then they've added to this new style of game - with FIFA 08, 09 and now 10 they've made what was a money-based, quite poor in gameplay and barely improved every year football game into the ultimate football game.

When you put the disk in at first it'll come up with a fantastic goal scored by Wayne Rooney - get used to seeing these epic goals in the actual game! From there you'll go into the arena mode which features the new Create a Set Piece mode where you can have training ground matches and practice set pieces, but I'll go into this more later. On the start-up menu it has the glossy, authentic EA Sports game feel to it with the trademark text and colour scheme on the menu buttons. And a lot of the interfaces like Manager mode and online Gameplay have been changed to basically make it look better.

But overall there are no out and out big changes - just a lot of fine tweaking done trying to create a football game as near to real life as possible. It's almost as if they've been finely tuning an old car, but now there isn't much more room for improvement. The tweaking isn't incredibly noticeable, but if you try and play Fifa 09 afterwards you'll notice the difference completely and by comparison, it's quite a lot of change.

In my opinion the gameplay is fantastic. If you play football yourself either with friends or with a team you'll know your own style, and it's now a lot easier to play a real game of football with style and class, and not just knowing how well the AI deal with certain aspects like different skills and different shots. And this new-found ability of using style is backed up by stronger AI opponents - they'll now barge you off the ball and getting it past players can be a real challenge with different outcomes every time.

In one match with Barcelona vs Manchester United I was charging down the right wing with Messi. The first time I tried this I was capable of just using speed and skill to take it past Evra. But the second time Evra simply hussled me off the ball, as defenders can now throw their weight around (something Patrice Evra isn't shy of doing!) and barge you off the ball.

But when you do manage to get it down the wing and towards the byline, then you'll probably be thinking of putting a cross into the box. The ball now moves in different ways so you can get some great curl on crosses to beat defenders and add that extra edge to your attacks. But when you're taking a corner you'll be reminded you're playing a game again, when you add curl to corners it's a bit on the extreme side. By simply adding curl away from the box you can send a ball from the byline to what's nearly 30 yards out, but by doing it the other way around and whipping it in you should have better results.

Whilst we're on the topic of how differently the ball moves, you'll notice how much more realistic your attacks are when you start shooting; whether it's long or short range you'll have many options. But most of the time it'll be 3 options of a Finesse shot, Laces shot or trying to lob the keeper. The finesse shots use the greater curl ability found in this game and are good for placing it into the corner of the net when under 20 yards out. Laces shots will be your best bet when far away the 18 yard box, but don't be afraid to score a fantastic goal by smashing it past the keeper in the box! And finally with the chipped shots it's still relatively easy to score if you're running at the keepe,r as the keeper manages to always creep off the line even if you don't press triangle to bring forth the keeper - this definitely needs fixing!

The manager mode has been thoroughly improved so don't expect to be signing the likes of Robinho as Notts County in your first season. The player purchasing mechanic has been improved and you now have to influence players to your club with their ideal length contract and higher wages. Or, you can spend it on things like how well your players are trained, how good the fitness equipment is and improve the quality of your negotiator so you can sign players for cheaper. There are still things which make it quite realistic like when I was playing as Notts County, I thrashed league two and won the FA Cup, league, and Johnston's paint trophy. I received no money for winning! But I was able to spend the money gotten from earlier games, so it was alright. In my first season I fixed up my stadium to gain more money. And by my second season I was gaining 300,000 per home match win and getting tons of money, which I found quite un-realistic.

There are also game modes like Lounge mode, Be a Pro: Seasons, Tournament mode and Virtual Pro creation. Lounge mode is an old game mode but is still enjoyable, it consists of getting badges for playing games and doing things like keeping a clean sheet, score a hat-trick and don't make a single foul. Be a Pro:Seasons made its debut last year in FIFA 09, and is similar to manager mode but you just play as one player. It lasts for just four seasons, and throughout that time you're trying to get up the footballing ladder, coming up from the reserves or youth team of a small club into the first team of higher tier club, whilst at the same time trying to get your first international cap. If all goes well by the end of your fourth season you could very well be playing for your national team in the international cup. This is basically just the World Cup that we see every four years in real-life football.

The online modes haven't changed much, they're still quite consistent and there are enough modes to keep you entertained in the game. There's the normal ranked matches which match you to someone of similar skill level. Then, after your online match a new feature comes in and that's the skill levels. Although they were a feature last year and the year before, they've been upgraded now so that when you finish a match, it shows you how far off you are of the next level. I quite like this feature as with FIFA 09 I STILL don't know what skill level I am!

The FIFA Interactive World Cup has returned which is practically the same as playing regular online matches, but your progress through these puts you further up the FIWC leaderboards. And the top so many get placed in a real life FIFA Tournament with big prizes. A LOT of time needs to be put in to get up to the top though...

There's the new Virtual Pro online clubs feature, which is quite a good addition. You can take your own virtual pro and game online with other virtual pro's in a game of be a pro. (Key FIFA Word here is PRO I think!) You can join a random team or make one with friends, and the most ingenious part of this is that it practically creates a real life football world made by the community. You can get scouted by bigger teams and from there take part in bigger matches etc.

But from when the game released, online mode faced the majority of the game's problems. I've had first-hand experience of this myself, and matchmaking was hell. There were problems with connecting, and then when you did connect there were problems staying in the games! And then personally, I had major problems staying connected to EA Sports, even when I wasn't playing online mode. I'd be loading up manager mode and the little pop-up of "you have been disconnected from EA Online" would show its dirty head. But with the recent update 1.02, all has been solved! And for myself, online matches have been virtually lag-free!

The only technical errors in the game that I've came across are the previously mentioned online bugs and glitches. There are a few manager mode glitches like goal-keepers clean sheets would appear as assists, but nothing major to put you off the mode.

But when this game is running how it should be, you know you're playing the best football game around. Every pass matches how you inputted it, and should play exactly how you want it to be played. Every shot matches the style and power that you input in the controls beautifully, and it's not long until you start scoring some magnificent goals. Every tackle looks brilliant, whether you win the ball or not, you should be impressed with how detailed and brilliant it all looks! And finally the celebrations - these just add the finishing touch to your hard work and they could possibly be my favorite part of the game!

Gameplay: 9/10 Brilliant
Singleplayer: 9.2/10 Brilliant
Multiplayer: 8/10 Superb
Technical: 9/10 Brilliant

Overall: 9/10 Brilliant

Overall it's another "Brilliant" addition to the FIFA franchise. Not a massive deal has been added, but this year has been a massive spring cleaning. There aren't many features that have been left un-touched and it's produced a brilliant footballing experience for people of any experience and any age.

The whole game mechanics are now so finely tuned that I can't see what could possibly be changed for FIFA 11 - everything plays so well, everything looks so well and everything is just magnificent. I've only played the demo for PES, but I believe that FIFA has won the crown of "Best Football Game" for this generation.

This, is surely as big as football can get!