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The 2010 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, so it’s no surprise to see a video game version of the greatest sporting event in the world. It’s a quick way to make money for EA to release a football game based around a sporting event but is this one any good?  We’ve all experienced games that are re-skinned to fit an upcoming event, but it looks as though you can put all your reservations aside for 2010 because EA has remedied many of the issues that usually crop up in such quad-yearly titles.

Some genuine effort has gone into making 2010 FIFA World Cup a worthy companion to FIFA 10, from the exhaustive roster of 199 international teams to the 10 authentically realised stadiums, as every inch of the game is of a remarkably high standard.  It doesn’t stop there though, with the gameplay being subject to more than 100+ gameplay enhancements and the visuals getting a fairly substantial lick of paint. The result is a FIFA game that looks and feels quite fresh, effortlessly outstripping previous Euro and World Cup games in terms of quality.

The visuals look great as you would come to expect from a FIFA title with aspects like improved pitch textures, lighting effects, and player likenesses give 2010 FIFA World Cup a more realistic look which is further enhanced by cutaways to concerned managers and celebrating fans. All this really drives home the broadcast style presentation and helps make the World Cup carnival feel real in your living room. This is about as close to replicating a televised football match as you can currently get. The FIFA gameplay mechanics have also been systematically picked over and tightened up, incorporating seemingly minor tweaks like being able to chest the ball and loft driven aerial passes forward to maintain the momentum of a match. Passing and movement feel more fluid and responsive too, adding to the already rather solid FIFA 10 foundations, with meaningful alterations that actually help to actively improve the gameplay. The best enhancement EA has made is the improved goalkeepers as they’re actually rather good this time around. So no longer will you be cursing at the goalie for rushing off his line and getting lobbed.
There are many new game modes in 2010 FIFA World Cup that also illustrate EA’s commitment to making this so much more than a simple FIFA 10 rehash. Besides the obvious inclusion of the full World Cup tournament itself, available in both online and offline, there’s also a new Virtual Pro mode called Captain Your Country. CYC supports 4-players in co-op. You can also import your Virtual Pro from FIFA 10 into the CYC mode and then compete for the captaincy as part of a team of your choosing or build a new pro from scratch and lead him to glory. Battle of the Nations, Story of Qualifying, and the World League Ladder also provide heaps of potential gameplay that will endure far beyond the televised event. And let’s not forget about the additional scenarios that will be available for free from the 2010 World Cup once the actual matches have played out. Expect to play the inevitable England penalty shootout and Germany grinding they’re way through to the semis.

Battle of the Nations is an ongoing competition to see which nation is home to the superior FIFA players, like me, and World League Ladder is a fight for supremacy in ranking tables where relegation or promotion is always on the agenda. Story of Qualifying features situations hand picked from the most memorable moments of the World Cup qualifying stages, including that questionable Henry goal against the Republic of Ireland.  I really enjoyed the commentary from Andy Townsend seething at the fact of Rep Ireland going out. You can also leap back in time 4 years and put right what once went wrong.  There’s a whole bunch of 2006 World Cup scenarios to unlock and pick through as well, so if you feel Zidane’s sending off should not have cost France the world crown then here is where to re-write history.

2010 FIFA World Cup does a fantastic job in encapsulating the pageantry and sense of occasion that comes with the tournament. If indeed emotion and passion are what the World Cup is all about, then EA Canada has got it pretty much spot on with its representation of the exuberant carnival atmosphere. It’s much more than just colorful streamers, confetti, and fireworks.

2010 FIFA World Cup is a great edition to the already outstanding FIFA franchise and once more proves that these international tournament based games aren’t just cash cows.  I predict that the lifespan for this game will be about half of that of the yearly release FIFA but six months is a good amount of play time for $39.99. Whether it’s enough to warrant parting with your cash again if you already have FIFA 10 is what most of you want to know. There’s certainly enough new stuff in 2010 FIFA World Cup to make a purchase worthwhile and if nothing else, the new modes and gameplay tweaks make this a perfect companion to FIFA 10. Simply put, this is the best football game money can buy at the moment.

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