2010 FIFA World Cup South AfricaESRB:
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Canada
Online Multiplayer: 2
Downloadable Content Support
EA has recently released 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa in time to wet your appetite for the upcoming World Cup event taking place June 11th to July 11th 2010. Although I have played a lot of real life soccer over the years, I have never taken the opportunity to try my hand any virtual versions of the sport. FIFA World Cup South Africa brings you to the heart of the action on the field where you can experience your favourite players, teams and the game of soccer to the fullest extent a game can offer. Come prepared to live through and share in the excitement which is the FIFA World Cup.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa looks amazing with a unique and easy to understand menu up front and all ten official stadiums beautifully recreated and packed with tens of thousands of fans sporting their team colors as the back drop. The pitch is vibrant in color, and when visiting other countries you will notice the different designs visibly displayed in the grass (e.g. lawn cutting pattern).
The overall feel of the presentation is that of a televised soccer match. The coaches often make appearances during stoppages in play with some close ups, and the crowds look amazing when zoomed in on. The camera angles, close ups, movement, etc. might annoy veteran soccer game players, but for newcomers and World Cup fans alike the television feel is something that they can grasp onto in a heartbeat.
One thing I did notice was that the more popular or well known teams were given a lot more attention to detail and looked similar to their human counterparts. The lesser known teams unfortunately did not get the same level of attention and at times they looked as though they had been taken from a stockpile of generic players. However, this generic look did not affect the fluid animations of the players as they rushed across the pitch to intercept a pass, or to strike the ball towards the goal.
For anyone who has attended a soccer game in real life you will recognize the loud and passionate sounds of the crowd and the on field play. FIFA World Cup South Africa does a top notch job bringing these sounds home, from the screams of disgust to the cheers of joy that coincide with the ups and downs of any good match. The commentary pairing of Andy Townsend and Clive Tyldesley sounds great and pulls you even deeper into the action of the game. A bonus is that the commentary does not get repetitive and I was happy with this fact.
The soundtrack is fairly diverse with the headline track being a remix of “Wavin’ Flag” by K’Naan. Other notable artists that appear throughout the game are Basement Jaxx, Nas & Damian Marley, White Rabbits, Kid British and quite a few other artists that come from all over the world. Though a great majority of the artists were new to me, the overall cultural experience that these artists brought to the game was fantastic and even had me checking them out on iTunes after my match.
To be honest, I was expecting the gameplay to be a little bit more complicated for a rookie such as myself. As a beginner to the game I found the two button controls very easy to get into and I was able to pick up the game and score within the first five minutes of my first match. With only pass and shoot buttons to worry about at first, I was able to integrate the sprint button and make some dekes with the right analog stick as I progressed through the gameplay learning curve. As fun as winning can be, I eventually had to beef up the difficulty slightly in order to give myself a better challenge and playing experience. Let’s face it Team Canada really shouldn’t be annihilating Team England quite so easily.
FIFA World Cup South Africa also has a set of Complete Controls (more advanced controls) which offers a greater variety of moves that can be used during matches. These controls were a tad daunting for a beginner like me but they are a lot more versatile. Veteran players will definitely gravitate towards these controls so they can bring the precision of a soccer to their console. There are also new penalty kick controls that allow you to stutter kick as well as an aid that lets you get the ball past the goalie using the analog controls. During the gameplay I didn’t get rewarded a penalty kick, but I was able to test out this new feature in training mode and found it quite easy to use and pick up right away. Other training modes available were one on one, defensive strategies, and the ability to create your own training setups. Once you feel confident in your skill sets its time to try out the different game modes.
There are a variety of offline game modes with Kick Off being your standard exhibition style match. Kick Off will pit you and your favourite team against one of the 199 teams that are available.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament is the mode that will garner the most interest as you get to compete as a FIFA team straight through the qualification rounds and into the World Cup Final. Quick Start will get you right into the finals or you can play in any of the six confederations in the qualifying rounds and work your way to the final match to take home the World Cup Trophy. This mode seems to be suited for fans that want to participate in the most realistic game, aside from playing in a match themselves.
There is also a Captain Your Country (CYC) mode which other EA Sports titles use but it is commonly known as Be A Pro Mode in the other games. You can create a player from scratch, use an existing player, or import your FIFA 10 virtual pro. You can then compete solo or with up to three other friends for the position of Captain on your team. This offline mode is by far my favourite and the most enjoyable. It brings a role play element to sports titles that I thoroughly enjoy. Take your custom player through the trials and tribulations of starting out as a young and upcoming player, overcome challenges placed on you by the coaches, peers and ultimately yourself to become the best player in your country and ultimately the world.
Being a proud Canadian I worked my way up to become captain of Team Canada quite quickly by becoming the assist leader and scoring my share of goals. However, I am a bit of a bully and I ended up acquiring a suspension during a game, and this quickly dropped me down in the CYC rankings. It was a bit of shock that I dropped over ten rankings, but that is what being a Captain is all about. Leading a team by getting a lot of penalties is not going to happen. You have to be a team player and taking penalties and any resulting suspensions will not lead your team to victory. So keep that in mind as you decide whether or not to plant you cleats into your opponent’s body, rather than just taking the ball from them.
One last offline mode is called Story of Qualifying which is really quite interesting. This mode allows you to play scenario-based challenges where you get to play previous qualifying matches and tournaments. As scenarios are completed points are unlocked which opens up even more scenarios, including the 2006 Fifa World Cup Finals that took place in Germany.
The scenarios are broken down into the six qualification regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, CONCACAF and South America. There is an initial 45 scenario challenges available, with a total of 55 made available as you complete scenarios and earn points. A real treat for fans will be the Story of the Finals. As the actual FIFAWorld Cup begins in South Africa in June additional scenarios will be made available through downloadable content and will give fans a chance to play out some of this year’s World Cup (Note: This section of the game will come after June 11, 2010).
FIFA World Cup South Africa features two online modes with Head to Head being the standard online matchup where you can search through lobbies and join a match, or host your own game where you adjust the game options as you see fit. You can access leaderboards to access through here as well as have the ability to download the latest game rosters.
The second online option is called Battle of the Nations, where you choose the country you wish to support and earn points for them. On July 12th, after the World Cup finishes the Battle of Nations winner will be declared. Make sure you pick the country you wish to support carefully though, because when you make your decision it is final. Being a proud Canadian I chose my home country to participate in the tournament and unfortunately I didn’t earn any points as I played through the tournament. How the Battle of Nations works is you are paired up with another player starting out in the tournament, then after that match you will play a second game, and so forth. Failure to progress knocks you out of the tournament and you have to start over.
My overall experience has me finding that the Captain Your Country and Battle of the Nations game modes are definitely exciting for FIFA fans and gives them great opportunities to support their countries. This ability to back your country gives the gameplay excellent replay value and will surely delight fans. As a newcomer to the series, the Captain Your Country mode was especially nice for me as it helped me learn more about the strategy of a soccer team, and playing as part of a team. The other modes didn’t bring as much learning potential as CYC did but they too were well implemented.
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