by Joseph Barron
reviewed on X360
World leading soccer franchise
FIFA Soccer 10 is the latest annual update to EA Sports’ world-leading soccer franchise and this year the gap between FIFA and the competition is bigger than ever before. The front-end setup has been maintained from the last 3 versions of the game, but huge changes have been made to the controls and game modes and the result is a version of the beautiful game that is completely peerless.
The biggest of the alterations made since FIFA Soccer 09 is the new 360 degree dribbling control. In all previous soccer titles players have only been able to turn in 8 directions; forward, back, left, right and the 45 degree angles in between. This made animations look robotic as players could only turn in diagonal directions. In FIFA Soccer 10 players really can “turn on a sixpence” for the first time. Any subtle movement you make with the left stick is perfectly represented on screen by your player. It makes the possibilities endless when running at defenders with the ball.
Lobbed passes have also been noticeably improved. They are now much more controllable and players make more intelligent decisions about when to hit driven passes to cover larger distances faster. In previous versions lobbed passes often hung in the air far too long and where hit unnecessarily high. No such worries exist in FIFA Soccer 10.
The final major gameplay change on the pitch is that the goalkeepers are significantly improved. It is now much harder to easily beat rushing goalies with lobs and even if you think you are successful in doing so, they will often run back to their goal line and scoop the ball away. General shot-stopping has also become much better on the lower difficulties. My only issue with the keepers is that they very occasionally fail to trap back passes, resulting in some very embarrassing own goals. Though in the 20 hours or so I have played this only happened once.
Changes to Manager Mode
While there have been significant changes to the on-pitch action, EA Canada also introduced a raft of new developments to Manager Mode. The results of simulated AI matches are now much more in keeping with their real-world form. This also makes league tables more realistic. You won’t often see Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal outside the top four in the English Premiership.
Transfers are now a significantly more involved process. Players will refuse to sign, regardless of how much money you offer, if your team doesn’t have good prospects in continental competitions (like the Champions’ League), or if there is too much competition for places in your first team.
You will also be pleased to know that players’ fatigue is much less of an issue in Manager Mode in this game. You should be able to play your best starting line-up in the top teams much more often. Gone are the days of players like Wayne Rooney needing to be rested after two matches.
The other modes you expect, such as kick-off, custom tournaments and Be-A-Pro are all there in FIFA Soccer 10 and they are also joined by a few new ones. Practice Mode enables you to practice specific in game scenarios and design custom set-pieces which you can assign to teams and then trigger in-game at corners and free kicks. It is terrifically simple to use and adds yet another level of gameplay customization for the hardcore.
New 360 degree dribbling control.
Menus in Manager Mode run very slowly when displaying lists.