52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 43
FIFA Soccer 10
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Developer: EA Canada
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
Soccer, or football for everyone outside the United Stated or Canada, is known throughout the world as "the beautiful game". Soccer is a game of strategy and finesse. To be honest, I do not follow soccer or watch many games. Only on occasion, while at the gym running on the treadmill with the remote for one of the shared TV out of reach, do I find myself watching a game. I will go on record as saying that watching soccer is the excitement equivalent to brushing your teeth. I may incur the wrath of most of the world for saying this, but the sport is simply incredibly boring. That in itself is not an indication that the video game cannot be good. Baseball for example is a boring sport to watch, but can be fun to play on a console.
FIFA Soccer 10 does have a lot going for it. First and foremost, the presentation for FIFA Soccer 10 is impeccable. I know that this is a trend with just about all games released by EA Canada, but this game takes the cake. The visuals are spot on to what few soccer games I have watched. I mainly played as the Toronto FC (I know the sport is boring, but did they have to also pick a boring team name?) as they are the soccer team that I am most familiar with. I do not know a single player on the team, but their uniforms look authentic enough. OK, I had to BING their logo just to be sure everything was as it should, and it was (just as I expected from the fine crew at EA Canada).
EA also never skimps out on the soundtrack for their sports titles (unless it is a college title). FIFA Soccer 10 is no exception. The game ships with a solid soundtrack that includes close to forty tracks by international artists (Soccer is an international sport after all). I have not heard of any of the featured bands, but some of the music is really good. I personally enjoyed the song by a Scottish band called Dananananaykroyd (gotta love that name). Canada is represented by indie rock band Metric with a catchy song entitled “Gold Guns Girls”.
(Click for larger image)
FIFA Soccer 10 does share a lot in common with other sports titles developed by the same crew. The controls are incredibly tight and responsive (much better than NBA Live 10). Controlling the main player is done with the left analog stick and all actions with the buttons, triggers and bumpers. New this year is the ability to dribble the ball using the right analog stick to outplay opponents. This new dribble technique is an essential tool to master as defenders and tacklers are smarter than ever thanks to a new and improved artificial intelligence that allows for player who makes better decisions about intercepting, defending or running. This improved AI also has a tendency to fall in front of the goal when to an opposing player has the ball anywhere near a scoring possibility. This makes scoring that much more difficult and game scores even lower (is there anything really lower then 0-0).
For soccer fans, FIFA Soccer 10 will be like heaven. Over 30 leagues are present in the game, from all six conferences. In all there are over 500 different teams playable in FIFA Soccer 10. The game also features 50 well know playing fields from mostly Europe. Shame BMO Fields did not make the list. Also present is a large assortment of game modes. Available to soccer aficionados are Quick Play, Manager Mode, Virtual Pro, Be A Pro and the all new Practice Mode. The Practice mode in particular should be a welcomed addition to long time FIFA gamers, as this was one of the most requested game additions year after year. It is hard to believe it took then this long to introduce a simple practice mode, but at least they got it right. Practice mode will allow for full matches, corner shots, freekicks or even allow gamers to create their own custom plays. Once a custom play has been perfected, take it online and test it out against some real life opponents. Manager Mode returns once again, but features a series of different enhancements to make the experience more realistic. Past FIFA titles allowed a rich owner to purchase elite players as money was the only determining factor when agreeing to a trade. Now players will look at other factors such as team skill level, how many players in each position before making a decision. Since manager mode can last 15 seasons, it will require real skill to remain competitive for the entire time period.
(Click for larger image)
Another cool new game mode is the Virtual Pro mode. In this mode gamers can create a player complete with their own face (thanks to EA’s Game Face Technology), and then use this newly created player in just about any game mode available in the game.Finally there is Lounge Mode. This mode allows players to challenge friends to matches that may or may not be "fair". Gamers may opt to start a game a few goals ahead of a more skilled opponent. Doing so to a less skilled opponent would be just wrong...fun but wrong.
It seams it would not be an EA game unless there was a way to give them a few more loonies. FIFA Soccer 10 allows gamers to spend points to purchase 1, 8 or 20 game enhancements. Yep, for only a few hundred MS points, you can have a superstar on your team for 20 games. Still looking to spend more MS points. Well then Live Season 2.0 is just for you. This paid service allows fans to get weekly updates on their favourite league, including games played, hot streaks, injuries and trades. The cool part is that gamers can go back and play games that may have been lost by their favourite team converting a loss into a win. Fans of the Toronto FC and MLS need not worry about spending money this way as the MLS is not one of the 5 leagues that offers this service.
FIFA Soccer 10 is about the most realistic soccer game I have ever played on any console. The only real issue I have with the game is that it is too realistic. I am not a fan of the sports as I find it very boring. The game being so realistic was (in my opinion) monotonous to play. Not because the game is flawed, in fact a good flaw allowing me to score 12 goals in a game would have made things more exciting. For die-hard fans of the sport, look no further. For myself, I will stick with FIFA Street for my occasional soccer fix.