FIFA 10 is currently the best football game on the market
FIFA 10 is arguably the best football game on the market. It just does everything right. It has great gameplay, it has a tonne of licensed leagues, and it has a plethora of modes. If you are looking for a football game to sink hours of play into, FIFA 10 is the game you should get, easily beating Pro Evolution 2010, a game that, when played side-by-side with FIFA, feels decidedly archaic and clunky. EA's latest effort is simply the definitive football game.
There are, however, some new features, some of them meaningless, others quite special. Most importantly, the player movement has been updated with what EA calls “360-degree movement!” In previous games, players could only run eight ways: up, down, left and right, as well as the directions half-way in-between. That left 45 degrees inaccessible, which has been addressed here. You might shrug this notion off as being of little meaning and a simple marketing punch-line for EA, but it actually greatly improves the feel of the dribbling. Trick inputs have been improved as well, to make it easier to bust out skill moves, and the end result is dribbling that's really pleasant and intuitive. After playing this game, playing Pro Evo and the previous FIFA games will feel very, very clunky.
There are a couple of other new features as well, like the ability to take free kicks without pausing the action. It's a great addition, and if you're lucky, you might be able to surprise the opponent or continue an attack that would've been cut off by the free kick. If you don't want to take the free kick quickly, you can just wait for a few seconds, at which point the game gives you the classic behind-the-back perspective on the free kick taker that allows you to send out a long ball forward or take a shot at goal. Otherwise, there are the usual changes such as slight updates of player AI, ball physics and referee AI. Pretty small stuff that make the experience slightly better, but it's not something that you'll actively notice.
In terms of modes, the only new addition is the practice mode (which really, just returns to the game after its disappearance during the transition to current-gen consoles.) It's quite good. You can play matches with varying amounts of players on each sides, practice free kicks and corners, and the most interesting new addition; allow the player to design their own free kick routines by dragging players around and assigning them running lines. These saved free kicks can then be used in matches by pressing the respective direction on the D-Pad, and scoring a goal with a free kick that you've thought up the strategy for by yourself can be quite satisfying. It's a cool addition.
But like I said, that's where the new modes end. Although, I can't think of any other modes that would work. The modes include: Exhibition Mode, Manager Mode, Be a Pro Season and the equivalents of these modes online. You can take your own created dude into any of these modes to train him and level him up. There's something in here for everyone, so if you simply want to play a classic FIFA match, you can. If you want to pretend you're a pro climbing the hierarchy, you can as well, although I think that playing as a single player isn't as fun as controlling everyone on the pitch in the context of a videogame. If you want to become part of an online club, you can do so as well. FIFA 10 has plenty of content.
Graphically, the game looks nice. There are a couple of graphical glitches, and the stadia and supporters still look really jaggy and bad, but that doesn't matter all that much. The menus are still confusing and clunky, and it's not about to change, it seems, because EA looks determined to apply its blade system menu to every sports game they put out. The high-tier players look quite realistic, but as you might expect, the unknown players tend not to look accurate, with wrong hair colour and details like that. But hey, that shouldn't detract from the experience, because gameplay is all that really matters in a football game.
I'll say it again: if a football game is what you want, then FIFA 10 is the game to get. It simply is the best of its kind right now, wiping the floor with Pro Evo 2010, its nemesis, and providing great gameplay and a smattering of modes. It's well worth buying, provided you haven't got the current-gen version of FIFA 09 already. If you do, consider letting this one slide and waiting for the 2011 edition.