by Joseph Barron
reviewed on X360
Become a Virtual Pro
The new Virtual Pro mode is an enhanced version of last year’s Be-A-Pro, where you play as one player in a team. This year you are encouraged to design a player from scratch to work up the ranks of your favorite side. You earn experience to improve your attributes by playing well and completing “Accomplishments” during matches, such as scoring a certain number of times. This mode also marks FIFA’s first use of EA Sports’ GameFace technology, which allows you to download your own face into the game to apply to your Virtual Pro. Unfortunately, due to overwhelming demand, the ability to upload a photo of yourself to EA’s servers has been completely broken since the game came out.
Online you will be able to play all of the modes youare used to from FIFA. The most interesting of which is the ability to create leagues with your friends, where playing against each other is tracked in a points table, though there are limited slots in a custom league and you must be invited to one by a friend. Most people will likely stick to the always competitive ranked matches, which remain as lag-free as ever. Unfortunately, these matches were also overloaded at launch, resulting in frustrating disconnections. FIFA Soccer 10 has been another example of EA’s failures to properly prepare their online modes for big releases.
Weird design decisions
Of course, it wouldn’t be a new soccer game without its fair share of weird design decisions. New kit options (such as under-armor) are not available in the customization options despite being visible on some players by default. If you play in the English Premiership in manager mode almost every match is played in rain at night, which is ridiculous when all Premiership games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and it doesn’t rain at every single game! You will find that stadiums aren’t always full in Manager Mode, even if you are playing as a side with a huge fan-base such as Manchester United, whose stadium is filled with 76,000 fans every week in reality. Also, menus in Manager Mode run very slowly when displaying lists and the music selected for the menu soundtrack is unusually poor for a FIFA title.
Graphically FIFA Soccer 10 is stunning. The player likenesses have improved yet again and the TV style presentation just gets better and better. The frame rate issues from FIFA Soccer 09 when large numbers of players are on screen haven’t been completely eradicated but they’re much less noticeable. The commentary remains second to none as well, with even more conversation topics than before. Even in dull spells in matches, the commentators will just chat to each other, all in a very convincing manner. No other sport game, soccer or otherwise, can touch FIFA in this area.
FIFA Soccer 10 certainly isn’t as significant a leap for the franchise as FIFA Soccer 09, but it represents a refinement of everything that was thought of last year. Yes, 360 degree dribbling has revolutionized the way people will play attacking football, but the rest of this year’s game is clearly much more to do with padding out the feature set and re-balancing in areas complained about by series fans.
That said, while the leap isn’t huge, EA Canada have managed to come close to perfecting all of the features and modes from last year. This is definitely more than enough to keep on growing the gap between FIFA and PES. If you are looking for a new soccer game this year then there really is no contest. FIFA remains comfortably ahead of PES for the second year in a row.
New 360 degree dribbling control.
Menus in Manager Mode run very slowly when displaying lists.