FIFA 10 Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

For many the launch of a new FIFA game represents an essential purchase, but after the outstanding performance of FIFA 09 is there room for improvement? Can EA add anything to the game and to the many existing modes without spoiling the balance of play?

Starting up the game, we once again find ourselves in the Arena, this time with Wayne Rooney practising one-on-one against the keeper. Going into the menus reveals several new modes, but diving into a Quick Match is the best way to gain reassurance. This is better than last year in several ways, not least being the arrival of 360-degree control. It doesn’t take long to feel the difference and to applaud EA’s decision.

In general the game looks as polished as ever, with likenesses of the best-known players and authentic kits and stadiums. Movement is fluid with only the occasional blip, such as problems positioning the elaborate goal celebration routines. Clever effects including motion blur and soft focus help to add to the atmosphere, and the familiar instant replays will soon have you repeating your best goal-scoring moments. Uploading the videos and snapshots is fun too. Weather effects including snow and rain are impressive.The sound suffers the same problems as several of the recent EA Sports titles – although the background atmosphere is superb, aided by tannoy announcements and fan chants, the main commentary is let down by repetition. That’s not to say that Martin Tyler and Andy Gray don’t do a good job, with their trivia and banter, but a little more variety would have helped.

The Be A Pro mode is undoubtedly one of the best yet, with the added option of “My Virtual Pro”. Uploading a “Game Face” through the EA website allows you to control a player that looks like you, working your way through their career improving stats and playing games. Newspaper headlines give feedback on international call-ups, injuries and disappointments. The enhanced Manager Mode is aimed at those looking for depth and piles of statistics, with the player negotiating sponsorships and wheeling and dealing in the transfer market. Live Season 2.0 lets you play along with the real-life leagues, updating player stats and teams as the season progresses. However, the major drawback is that it has to be paid for.

AI is solid and impressive for the most part. There are still a few quirks, like when a player kicks the ball into touch or a goalkeeper passes straight to the opposition. Control builds on last year with alternative configurations and the usual variety of flicks and tricks. The menu system still grates at times but does a good job. Even with familiarity with previous versions, there is an initial steep difficulty curve as the player gets used to how the game plays. Choosing a lower league team as your favourite exacerbates this, but there are Achievements for persevering with a lesser team.

Online is a relatively smooth performance, with the game lobbies helping to find a match and the option to jump straight into a quick match with friends. The highlight has to be the team mode, with up to twenty human players interacting. It really feels like you are playing in a position and working together. The only niggle would be the player who quits from a losing position and just the occasional jerky performance. Controversially the game has already been patched and updated, attempting to fix bugs (predominantly in the Manager Mode). And many will find the ability to upgrade their Virtual Pro by buying a temporary boost with Microsoft Points is a step too far.

There are those who question EA’s business model of producing yearly updates to their sporting games, particularly with the prevalence of online access allowing games to be patched and updated. Just one question remains for this review to answer – is it worth upgrading to FIFA 10 if you already have FIFA 09? My answer would be yes; this is the latest and greatest incarnation of the series from EA, and well worth playing.