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Review: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

This is football.

The World Cup is almost upon us and this year EA are determined to capture the whole experience inside your console with 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.  But are the changes made over FIFA 2010 significant enough to warrant your attention or would you be as well holding out for FIFA 2011? Well, let’s find out shall we?

The first thing you will notice about FIFA World Cup is that it is a lot more refined than FIFA 10, there isn’t a whole load of menus for you to be lost in and given that this game is based on a specific tournament this is no bad thing. What EA seem to have concentrated on with this game is making sure that you get an authentic experience as possible, therefore gaining access to the Finals and even the Qualifiers is a much more user friendly experience.

That’s not to say that there is a lack of options included in the game, which includes the chance to replay through the qualifiers, the World Cup tournament itself, a scenario mode for the qualifiers which lets you try to change history by replaying significant games from the competition, and, in a brilliant twist there will also be a scenario mode for the World Cup, allowing you to replay games from the World Cup itself. The latter will be made available as DLC during the World Cup, which is a brilliant idea.

Finally the game also includes a Captain your Country mode, allowing you to import your player from Be A Pro in FIFA 10, with the overall aim being to become captain of your country and lift the World Cup, a young boy’s dream come true, surely?

FIFA World Cup also includes an online mode with a World League Ladder. This is a new ranking system based on ten divisions with added promotion and relegation. The season in the consists of ten games and a four-round knockout cup. Unfortunately we were unable to play a significant amount of games before this review hit (as the game isn’t out until tomorrow) therefore we will be covering that and the rest of the online mode in a separate review to be published soon.

So we know all about the modes, but it is the action on the pitch that counts and thankfully EA have got it spot on. The first thing you will notice before you hit the pitch is the new control system for more casual players. Nicknamed the “Dad Pad” by the developers this new two button only control makes the game a lot more accessible for those who are not maybe used to the more complex system. All of the previous controls are still there for those used to the game but this new system just means that the game should be a bit more competitive, rather than you running over the top of your inexperienced opponent while they try to figure out which button shoot is.

As with most new versions of FIFA though, it’s once you’re on the pitch that you really notice the difference. Given that this is the World Cup, the presentation tries to create what the developer calls a “Carnival of Football” experience. What this means is that you are treated to a wall of colour as the opening scenes show your stadium filled with confetti, fireworks, camera flashes and fans. Throughout your games fans are seen dancing around enjoying the match and when someone scores, well the place just goes wild. Maybe the only problem with the opening scenes is that they can drag on a bit, but hey maybe I’m just bitter because there are no Scotland fans dancing about in their kilts.

Ok so you’re saying “get on to the football already” and at last I’m succumbing to your wish. Once the game kicks off you will be pleased to know that there are significant changes to the action, they maybe not groundbreaking but you certainly notice them. One of the things you will notice is that players seem to be able to read the game better, with passes feeling more precise, there are some neat touches which help the game to flow more smoothly, for example, players now take the ball on their chest while on the move, rather than stopping to gather it.

Players can also pass the ball with their chest now if it is too high to header it. There are also other new little tricks that you will notice as you play which help to add to the overall authenticity. Another change is to the affect that altitude has on players, given that most of the games are being played above sea level, players who are not used to this now tire more quickly, giving an advantage to the teams who are used to altitude effects. Players can also be injured out with the matches, so if you find that your most important player is unavailable then don’t be surprised.

As well as changes to gameplay, other areas have also been improved, although FIFA has never struggled when it comes to commentary it seems to be even better than before in FIFA World Cup. The graphics have also undergone significant improvement with the lighting feeling a lot more realistic and the player and managers looking more like their real file counterparts than ever.

Perhaps the biggest change though is to the penalties, rather than the choose a direction, hit and hope system of old, EA have now factored in other factors such as the composure of the player and the power and direction of the shot. To do this EA have included a new power and composure bar. The power will determine how hard the player hits the shot and is combined with the analogue stick to choose the direction. The most significant change though is the composure bar which will change in size based on a number of factors such as how important the match is and who the player is taking the penalty. The composure meter must be stopped in the green or yellow area when taking the shot, then you must choose your power and direction and shoot. If you fail to hit the right spot on the meter, then chances are that you will balloon the ball over the net.

Thankfully you can practice penalties by choosing the option from the main menu. Here you will be shown a marker giving you an idea as to where your penalty will hit, allowing you to get used to the effects that power and composure have on your shot.

If this game was merely a cash in from EA then I probably wouldn’t have managed to write nearly as much as I have (remember we haven’t even really mentioned the online mode yet). To me it seems that EA have learned their lesson from past games and have went all out to provide a game that anyone watching the World Cup will be proud of and you know what? They have succeeded.


  • Improvement to the graphics
  • Better commentary
  • Penalties changed for the better
  • Scenarios modes
  • 199 teams included allowing you to play countries that didn’t qualify


  • Online mode is quite basic
  • Doesn’t offer quite as many gameplay modes as FIFA 10

FIFA 2010 World Cup brings with it a number of improvements over the previous version of FIFA, these range from small tweaks to the gameplay as well as significant changes to graphics, penalties and even the controls. EA haven’t stopped there though as they have also introduced a number of other additions which help to make the overall package a worthwhile addition to any football fans collection. In short if you love football in any way then this game is an essential purchase.

Score: 9/10


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