FIFA ’10 improves on a classic

Joe Pelletier

I really did not expect much from EA Sports in the release of FIFA ’10–frankly, I was content to keep playing the classic ’09 version.

But a few modifications and a reverence to the great parts of FIFA ’09 make FIFA ’10 a great buy for the sports gamer.

Case in point: 360 degree player movement. In previous FIFA versions, the player was limited to the eight compass directions, which often made motion a bit jerky. But the advent of 360 degree movement makes dribbling and sprinting much more fluid. With a little practice, one can have a lot more liberty with the analog stick.

Control extends to the ballhandling aspect as well, with a five-tiered system of dribbling/juggling ability. Those on the lowest tier can perform only the basic tricks, while superstars like Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi can break your ankles with ridiculous (occasionally too ridiculous) ball maneuvers. Seriously, they’ve got handles like pots and pans.

On the defensive end, tackle animations have grown more varied, while tackle strategy holds to the tenets of ’09.

Nothing about the graphics particularly stands out in FIFA ’10. It is the same stadiums, the same grassy fields and basically the same player avatars.

Perhaps the biggest off-field addition is that of the Virtual Pro mode, one which allows you to create a player, place him on any team, and use him in any of the gaming modes. Certain accomplishments can be captured in all modes, and eventually, like other EA Sports “Be a Pro” modes, one can be deemed a “Virtual Legend.”

FIFA ’10 is a game to be enjoyed with friends and alone. The skill system is one which constantly pushes you to find better and better ways to win, and the entertainment factor (from post-goal celebrations to the pressure in a Golden Goal situation) makes for a must-play. Get it.