2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Xbox 360
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Football games that are based on a single event scarcely get the credit they deserve. Take the official World Cup games for instance. For years now the official World Cup game is sandwiched between the yearly releases of the FIFA series and more often than not it’s derided for being based solely on the World Cup and not allowing you to play with your favourite club sides. Such criticisms miss the point of the product entirely. Essentially, such games are interactive merchandise and are specific to the event they are based and when done properly they are enjoyable accompaniments to the main event itself. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa certainly has been done properly and offers solid value for money whether you’re interested in playing offline or online.
Most of the modes in the game, such as the ability to play through the entire World Cup program (including qualifiers and friendlies if you wish), an assortment of scenarios from the 2006 World Cup finals, the 2010 qualifiers and even the 2010 finals as soon as they become available via an update, are what you would expect although there are some welcome additions. In addition to the usual Xbox Live modes, you can now take part in online FIFA World Cup tournaments which will not only add some spice to the multiplayer modes but also add some longevity to the title as those who like to play online will definitely find this a worthwhile option long after the official tournament has finished. Probably the other notable mode is the Captain your Country mode where you and up to three other friends can create your own professional footballer and play for a nation of your choice. You can even import your custom player from FIFA 10 Be A Pro mode if you wish, although all of the stats will be reset if you choose to import a player in this way.
In terms of how the game-play has changed since the release of FIFA 10, there’s not a lot to talk about. There’s now an additional two-button control scheme for those who want a simplistic way of playing the game. I daresay it will be appreciated by those who don’t usually play football games but who occasionally like to get in on the action with a relative or friend. The other significant change is the new penalty system. This new system takes on board player composure. You’ll see a coloured gauge and the idea is to stop the pointer (by pressing the shoot button) whilst it’s in either the yellow or preferably the green zone so as to compose your player. If your player isn’t composed then you don’t really have much hope of hitting the target. This may seem like a convoluted way of doing things but in practice it works quite well. You can now chip keepers from the spot and even stutter your run up to the spot kick.
Graphically there’s not much of a difference in quality between 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and FIFA 10 which is hardly surprising given the short amount of time between the two games. However, it has to be said that when you compare the game with the 2006 FIFA World Cup on the Xbox 360 it’s impressive to see how much more EA are getting out of the console four years on. The frame rate is absolutely fine during the game, although during action replays it’s still not as good as it should be and this can cause them to be rather choppy at times.
Like in virtually every other sports title, the commentary in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa isn’t subtitled. This isn’t a problem in all honesty as the commentary is very repetitive and at times out of sync with how the game plays out. Whilst you’re browsing the game menus you’re given verbal information that talks about the various options and none of this is subtitled. It’s even more disappointing to see that the tutorials for the new penalty system and control scheme are not subtitled meaning they are practically useless for deaf gamers. We didn’t have access to the game’s manual so it’s difficult to comment on whether it covers all of the information you’ll need to compensate for these tutorials. On the whole though, it has to be said that the game is still absolutely fine and whilst it’s disappointing various aspects of the game aren’t subtitled, there’s nothing here that will present a serious obstacle to deaf gamers enjoying the game.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa gives gamers a fine virtual representation of the tournament. It even plays a slightly better game of football than FIFA 10 thanks to the addition of a better penalty system. Some may have been hoping to have seen further changes to the core game-play and it’s a fair point that more improvements could have been made. However, as a piece of World Cup merchandise, it’s difficult to argue with the quality of the overall package.