Gameplay ImpressionsGameplay Impressions
At first glance, not a lot appears to have changed from 2009. After a few games, however, you’ll notice a number of differences, some subtle and others obvious, that really help to enhance the gameplay and make it a more flowing game of football. Being able to take a free-kick immediately after you’ve been fouled, for example, by putting your hand on the ball to steady it and then picking out a team-mate, allows you to gain a quick advantage over the opposition as they try to scramble back into position. Players seem to react quicker to the action around them, spotting runs and tracking back the player, intelligently moving into space to receive a pass, or barging a player of the ball as he tries to latch onto a through ball. The pitch is alive with activity and intelligent play.
FIFA 10 does seem to have stepped up a notch in terms of speed; it's very fast-paced and aggressive. Every match that we’ve played so far has felt like playing in a Premiership local derby, with lots of physical interaction on the pitch and direct play. The new 360 degree control system has given us even more flexibility on the pitch, allowing us even closer control over the ball than before. There are far more ways to get past a player and move around the ptich and you're able to keep the ball in touch far easier than before. The result is a faster-paced and more flowing game of football.
The animation in FIFA 10 is stunning. Step-over’s, scissor-kicks, the way that players fall, dive and leap in the air, or the way that they move intelligently to track runs or move into space is gripping to watch; even the referee plays his part by giving players the advantage if they're fouled but still retain possession; he'll even leap over the ball if he accidentally gets in the way. This may seem like such a small enhancement, but essentially what EA has done is iron out all of the small irritations that affected the flow of the game in FIFA 09.
Scoring goals is what it's all about and a pin-point cross and header requires just as much skill as a 30 yard belter. When that ball hits the back at the net and you run around the pitch and choose your appropriate goal celebration, there's no other game that does it better and with as much style and flair as FIFA. Scoring does feel a little bit harder than the last iteration though. Defenders seem more adept at spotting your runs and muscling you off the ball, so you can't seem to pass as many through balls that attackers can latch onto as easy as they did in FIFA 09. This does mean that you have to be more tactical and skillful in your execution. It certainly makes for more challenging game than FIFA 09, but at the same time reflects a closer and more accurate simulation of the real sport.
There’s so much to do in FIFA 10. Though you’re ultimately just playing a game of football you can opt for a more in-depth experience in manager mode, or play with 9 friends in 10 vs 10 mode, or head straight online to rise up the leaderboards. Thankfully, the ranking system has been adjusted to take into account the teams that are playing so everyone is in with a chance of gaining some decent points this time around. It just seems that EA has taken into account user-feedback this year and acted, improving on every grey area of FIFA 09. Even the inclusion of a practice arena, where you can design and record set-pieces, is an effective new addition.
The only finger of criticism that we can point at this year's iteration is that the goalkeeper's seem to parry quite a lot of shots. This obviously gives attackers the chance to pounce on the re-bound and also encourages you to shoot from areas of the pitch where you don't really have the belief that you'll actually score . We've had a couple of annoying tap-ins scored against us from parries that the goalkeeper should have caught, but we suppose that does happen in real-life. It's too early in our FIFA 10 experience to say whether this will be a long-term irritation. I'm sure when the boots on the other foot and we're tapping in a last-minute winner, we'll be over-joyed.
Make no mistake about it, FIFA 10 is a dazzling football package that boasts everything a fan could ever want. Great graphics, brilliant game modes, a solid online component and the most enjoyable game on the pitch since last year's iteration. We said it about FIFA 09 last year, but this year it's even better. FIFA 10 is the best football game on the planet.
Final Score - 9/10