2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (Available on PS3, Wii and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 20
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Canada
Release Date:  April 27th, 2010
PSN/Xbox Live/WiFi Connection: Online Multiplayer

Parent Talk: There’s nothing preventing anyone from enjoying 2010 World Cup. This is a soccer game after all.  For you techies, the game supports up to 1080p resolution and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

Be forewarned; I’m a casual soccer fan, know only the basic rules of the sport, and could probably name not more than three superstars from the top of my head. Thus this review is catered towards a similar audience. Hardcore football fans probably already own this anyhow, so please doesn’t be insulted by my lack of knowledge. Like most, this year’s World Cup captured my attention, and I’ve been eager to try a soccer video game. The last I can remember doing so was on the SNES.  Again, I’m a casual here.

The Great:

Simple, but effective co-op. Take two gamers that know nothing of soccer, and watch them slowly but surely learn the roots of the game. Scoring as a pair is ten times more satisfying than doing so alone.  Most games are better with a buddy, and 2010 World Cup is clearly no exception.

The Good:

+ The depth. Every country that entered the qualifications is playable. That’s around 200 nations each with more than 25 different players. Do the math.

+ Winning the World Cup. As a hockey fan, winning the Stanley Cup never feels special in a video game. Here, lifting that gold trophy gets the blood pumping. I won with Canada; something I’ll probably never witness in my lifetime, but I can sure experience it on my Xbox.

+ Playing online. Though not perfect, online tournaments are a blast.  It’s easy to restart if you fail to quality for the finals.  This is the most popular sport on the planet, so there’s always someone available to compete with.

+ Just playing. Soccer can often be monotonous for casual fans due to the lack of scoring opportunities. This game is anything but however, as I was passing the ball around within minutes, finding open space and creating scoring chances. The defence is harder to master, but everything is well-balanced.  Your choice of team also hugely impacts the outcome.  Most countries have strengths and weaknesses; only a few seem unbeatable.

+ The box-art. Jokes aside, I really like it for some reason.

The Bad:

– You will lose, a lot.  I’ve yet to win online, managing only one goal in almost ten games. I haven’t used a good team yet (Canada being my preference), but the game could be friendlier to noobs.

– The passing is not 100%. Passes mostly arrive where you want them to.  However, there are times when one lands at the feet of the player closest to its intended destination. This unfortunately destroys your offence, resulting in quality scoring chances for the opponent.

– Aiming.  It would probably help if I read the manual, or just practiced more, but I nevertheless find it very difficult to land shots on goal.  My friend thinks the same, so who knows if I’m alone here.

–  South Africa.  I think EA could’ve done more with the beautiful country’s atmosphere.  It seems like something’s missing. A few African songs could have helped I suppose.

The Ugly:

Team Canada’s world cup record. Ouch!

The Lowdown:

2010 FIFA World Cup is a plausible introduction to soccer games. I might consider regular FIFA games from now on; this is the most fun I’ve had with a soccer video game.  It’s a solid package, and definitely a must-buy die-hard soccer fans. Those that aren’t might want to wait for a price drop.  It’s bound to happen, seeing as FIFA 11 is coming.  I stamp this title with ‘Buy It Cheap’, but only because it’s about sports, not exactly rare.  Anyone that, like me, watched a lot of soccer these past several might want to check this out. Who knows when the tournament will return to Africa?

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