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Old 11-01-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
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[360] FIFA Soccer 10 Review

FIFA Soccer 10 Review

Title: FIFA Soccer 10
Platform: Xbox 360. Also available on: PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, PS2 & PSP, PC.
Developer: EA Sports Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Favorite Team: Glasgow Rangers (Scottish Premier League)
Reviewed By: James A. "fitbabits" Young

What's Hot: The on-field action is as great as it was in FIFA 09. The refinements made to FIFA Soccer 10 work for the most part. Martin Tyler and Andy Gray back in the booth, with a little more personality this time. Manager Mode is the best it has ever been.

What's Not: Horrendous performance issues online and with menus. Incremental changes are a little like a kick in the balls after last year's massive improvements.
In the annual battle of the two biggest soccer franchises available (FIFA and PES), last year proved to be a turning point in the fortunes of each. EA Sports' FIFA 09 finally delivered the beautiful game so often promised, while Konami's PES offering could only look on from the reserves and imagine what could have been.

During the build-up to the release of FIFA Soccer 10, much has been made of the gulf between last year's respective offerings, and with good reason. It therefore irks me to report that EA Sports has failed to land the decisive blow that would have consigned PES to also-ran status. Does that mean that FIFA Soccer 10 is a bad game? Far from it. However, it's not as good as it should have been.

While improvements have been implemented very well to the game engine, it is the presentation and sluggish performance of menus and online disconnects that really let the title down. It can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a full two minutes for the opening menus to appear. To me, this is unacceptable. It is as if that portion of the code was not optimized. Another example of the poor menu performance is evident when making substitutions or tactical changes either pre-game or in-game. It really does dull the excitement factor. Maybe this will be addressed via a patch some time later, but for the moment it really is an unwelcome distraction.

What of online, then? Perhaps the biggest improvement on FIFA 09... There are few things as annoying in a sports game than being disconnected right in the heat of an online battle, yet this appears to be the new norm for FIFA Soccer 10. At first I thought my ISP was responsible, but I have since played many other games online and not once been disconnected. Again, another huge letdown, especially when one considers the genius of last year's online offerings.

The action on the pitch remains largely unchanged. While players have more 'weight' to them, the ebb and flow of any given game remains strikingly similar to FIFA 09. As I said, that's not a bad thing in and of itself, but I expected more than just simple refinements.

One welcome improvement is in the goalkeeping department. Sure, keepers still make bone-headed decisions, but they do so in real life also (Manchester City and Glasgow Celtic fans should be all too aware of this). That said, there are less of these here, and good play from forwards or midfielders is often thwarted at the last minute by a combination of great goalkeeping decisions and the inevitable rush of blood on the part of the player. Conversely, cool heads usually prevail in one-on-one situations. Just like the real sport, then.

Once again, the team of Martin Tyler and Andy Gray are on commentating duties, and once again they deliver. There are a few too many recycled phrases from both FIFA 09, and even FIFA 08, but overall there are *just* enough improvements to be worthy. Both Tyler and Gray have injected a little more personality into their canned comments, which adds to the immersion on the pitch.

All in all, then, the beautiful game as portrayed by FIFA Soccer 10 plays just as good as I had hoped. It is the rest of the package that I feel let down by. Do I recommend buying the game at full price? Absolutely, but with the caveats above.

Score: 4 out of 5 CoGs

James says: "If my review seems to be overly critical, it is borne out of frustration. For each and every thing FIFA Soccer 10 gets right, something else, be it the menu performance or online SNAFUs, dulls the experience. EA Sports had the chance to make a statement with FIFA Soccer 10, but it appears the statement being made is that it's okay to coast now that superiority has been fully established."

*Note – Xbox 360 version reviewed.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:11 PM   #2
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I played FIFA 09 and was really impressed with the presentation and all the stat-tracking in the game... I just love it when each player has so many attributes to mull over.

That said, call me a philistine if you wish, but scoring is way too difficult in those games. I understand that this is just a realistic portrayal of football, but I got really frustrated by my inability to score in four straight games. I still haven't scored in anything but a shootout.

But hey, that's football, I'm sure a lot of people will love it as an awesome simulation (as I love NHL 10). Regardless, great review!
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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Geeze, up to 2 minutes to get the opening menus? What the heck is going on there?

Looks nice though.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by danhoo View Post
Geeze, up to 2 minutes to get the opening menus? What the heck is going on there?

Looks nice though.
I suspect the game is contacting the EA servers and taking its sweet time to do so due to the volume of traffic. Inexcusable, though.
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #5
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great review. just downloaded the demo to try out to... why would i pay 800 points for a live season update? Don't games like TW10, Madden10, and the NBA games do that for free?
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Old 11-01-2009, 03:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wilkz07 View Post
great review. just downloaded the demo to try out to... why would i pay 800 points for a live season update? Don't games like TW10, Madden10, and the NBA games do that for free?
If you pick up Madden 10 or NBA Live 10 used and they've already had their codes used, you have to pay to use Online Franchise (Madden 10) and Dynamic DNA (NBA Live 10) in the games. The latter you can't even update your rosters without the Dynamic DNA connection. It willl let you use the updated rosters online, but once you go back into offline play it reverts back to the original rosters.

Obviously a way to deter people from buying the game through Gamestop as used.
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:24 PM   #7
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Year after year I have always rated PES higher than FIFA, even last year, where the presentation in FIFA was excellent, but I thought the gameplay was not quite as good as PES.

This year, it all changed, EA Canada finally brought it all together.

I have tried PES2010 for the PC, and comparing to the PS3 FIFA 10, I would choose FIFA10 this year. Even thought PES made some great improvements as well, like the inclusion of the Champions League in ML, and the pace on the ball being just right. FIFA 10's gameplay feels just as good, and on top of that the presentation for FIFA is just excellent.

Just don't get the PC Version for FIFA, I heard is not even close to its console versions. Just get PES if you want to game on the PC side, I have nothing bad to say about PES, it is also good.

@ OP Review

First, I have the PS3 version.
-Yeah, I had none of the problems you're describing with the Menu system. Everything is just smooth, I love it.
-I tried the English commentary track, and I agree, too much recycled stuff. On the other hand, also tried the "Mexican Spanish" commentary, and all I can say is , "Whoa". Some great lines on there, that have made me laugh out loud a couple of times.
-The online is great, have never been disconnected (yet), I just suck bad, I keep getting buried 6 or 7 goals to none.

Last edited by Seika; 11-01-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:48 PM   #8
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I, like ikkir, have had none of the problems the reviewer had using the PS3 version.

Frankly, I haven't bought a soccer game in about 10 years and was too impressed by the demo to pass on this. I love this game.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:03 PM   #9
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Sounds like the PS3 version might be the one get. I was consider getting this only to help my understanding of the game and find out who I'm rooting for on US. Woo! O_o
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:15 PM   #10
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I like FIFA 10, but I really wish that the retail version was the same as the demo we got.
They changed a heck of a lot from the demo. I know there's a disclaimer saying that might happen, but IMO they took the best part out.

In the demo, you could actually score long range shots with reasonable consistency, and you could also use the controlled shot modifier to curl in placed shots from wide angles. In the retail release, we're back to the superhuman goalkeepers of FIFA 09, where you can only really score with controlled shots into the bottom corners or from crosses. They save absolutely everything else. You can hit the ball as hard as you like at the top corner and the keeper will save it nearly every single time.

I guess I'm just disappointed. FIFA 09 on XBL was plagued by people who sat 8 players back and just broke forward with 2 pacey players when your whole team had pushed up to try and make a breakthrough. Being able to score from long range would have made sitting back a risky tactic, as it is in real life.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want it to be too easy to score from range either, but it happens fairly regularly in real life (probably 10-15% of goals in the English Premiership are scored from outside the box), and I'd like to see it happen in the game from time to time. Maybe make it harder to actually get a shot on target with power from range, but make it so that when you do manage, there's a decent chance that it'll go in.

Given the choice between the version we have now, and the version that was in the demo, I'd take the latter every time.
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