FIFA 10 Reader Review
Itís that time of year again. EA have churned out another FIFA, but is it actually any good?
As we have come to expect from FIFA, there are a lot of features included in the game, and some of them actually work properly. Firstly there is the usual compliment of teams and leagues, an impressive number, as usual. The graphics are pretty decent, although not anything spectacular. The game now has proper weather effects and freely gives you night and day matches (They call this a new feature although for that to work youíd have to overlook the fact football games had weather effects 10 years ago. Two steps back, one step forward then).
The 360 degree control is a nice addition, once you get used to it. Virtual pro is a new feature too, although a largely pointless one. Shots donít tend to balloon over the bar with quite the frequency they once did, which is a relief. Crosses and corners feel a little better and free-kicks, with a little practice, are more accurate as well.
Iím sorry to have to report this, but the cheating AI is back, as bold as ever. The new physical style to the game is greatÖ.for the computer teams, who shove you down with majestic aplomb. Of course if you try to shove the AI players back, you will give away a free kick nine times out of ten. And of course, the referee is very much the computerís twelfth man. Perfectly legitimate tackles will get you pulled back by the ref, while the AI team will happily rugby tackle you to the ground and then skip merrily on their way.
Pace has been reigned in, so donít try anything silly like trying to run anywhere. Massive defenders will bomb along nicely to pinch the ball off your lighting quick striker. In fact youíll end up just wanting a team full of wrestlers to compete with the cheating, physical AI teams. Your goalkeepers also excel at galloping off their line, happily gifting the opposition a chance to slot home an easy shot into an open goal.
I, just like everyone, wanted rain and night time matches in this FIFA, but I wasnít expecting to get it every match! In manager mode youíll likely forget what the Sun looks like as you play game after game in the driving night time rain. The commentary is as dull as ever. "Heís really playing football now" and "That pass was definitely to his team mate" are archetypal examples. The game difficulty settings donít actually make the AI play better, they just make them play faster. So you donít get to test yourself against teams player better, more inventive football, you just get teams playing the same old way, using all the same cheap tactics, just faster. And once you learn the way the AI plays, no matter what difficulty, it becomes terribly predictable and easy to suss out.
The game also still picks certain matches that it decides you wonít win. In these matches it will make sure you donít win by ramping up the cheating and scoring scripted goals while making sure your team suddenly plays much worse than normal. This is probably the worst example of lazy game design. Rather than simply offer you a challenge, you are simply forced to lose to make sure you donít run away with the championship. Appalling.
Be a pro is still only 4 seasons, which makes it largely a waste of time as your experience is halted just as your career begins to flourish. The worst part is that there is absolutely no reason why it shouldnít last for an entire 15 year career.
The game is also swimming in bugs. Particularly manager mode. There are quite a few game-ending bugs such as the one that freezes all transfers or the one which gets you sacked for no reason so you have to start all over again. Losing signed players is another grievance. Also, the wrong teams will often qualify for European tournaments, which is particularly galling if you are the team who wrongfully misses out. A game should never be released with this unforgivable amount of bugs. Maybe a patch will be released, maybe it wonít, either way this is still unacceptable.
If you can fight your way through all the bugs and cheating, there is still a decent football game here. But for every good match you play, youíll play another which will enrage you with itís cheating and glitches. This game feels more like hard work than fun, which, as a game, it shouldnít. If only more effort had been put into the AI, and the ironing out the bugs, this game would have scored far higher. If you can get it for a discount price then itís worth it, but it simply cannot justify full price.
5 / 10