FIFA Soccer 10 - 360 - Preview 3
Electronic Arts is having a brilliant year when it comes to their sports franchises. NCAA Football and Madden NFL Football both were steady improvements from their 2009 counterparts. Fight Night and Tiger Woods were accepted with welcoming arms by their fans with their new features such as Fight Night’s downloadable fighters and Tiger Woods’ new motion plus controls. On top of that, they successfully launched Grand Slam Tennis and EA Sports Active. Could their next two titles – NHL 10 and FIFA Soccer 10 – follow the similar pattern and keep the streak alive? Today, we’ll be discussing the latter as we recently received the latest preview build and took a gander at what EA has in store for soccer fans.
First off, let’s discuss the completely overhauled Manager Mode. In the past, EA has shied away from concentrating on the Manager Mode alone for improvements, so it’s been a long time coming for soccer fans to have a real dynasty mode within their FIFA video games on the next-generation consoles. This year alone sports 50 major improvements to help provide an authentic experience for gamers. Player transfers are more real than ever as big-named stars won’t simply sign with a Major League Soccer (MLS) team such as the L.A. Galaxy unless players can ante up their reputation and win multiple titles and cups to gain recognition.
To be frank, the soccer players aren’t in it just for the money – they now want: a chance to play, good teammates to play with, a respectable coach, and much more. In addition, players will have a more realistic true-to-life growth curves that are based on their mentality, physical growth and growth of their skills. Each of these three curves varies based on the player’s age – younger players will see their physical growth steadily grow while veterans see it rapidly decline when they reach their 30’s. So it’s essential for the gamers to understand each player’s full potential and utilize it before they get too old and no longer improve at the same rates as they could when they were just starting out.
In the end, there’s still much left to be desired in the Manager Mode. Gamers aren’t able to see a player’s statistical breakdown through a player card to get a quick read on how they are performing in their career or even in the season. The only chances that gamers have to compare and contrast stats are in the actual stat menu itself. Once the season is done, the stats are removed and players are left in doubt how the targeted player performed last season. In addition, there aren’t any faces on the actual player cards to become attached to these players and know what they look like. While the Manager Mode is a huge leap from last year’s iteration, it still has a long ways to go to be an all-around dynasty mode.
The all-new Virtual Pro mode is provided for gamers who enjoy customization of their own players. Creating a professional soccer player is aided by using the Photo Game Face feature that has been used in the past for Tiger Woods and Fight Night. Gamers are eligible to choose the team they want their player to join and use him in any of the offline modes such as Manager Mode itself. Players are also entitled to take their player online and compete in the EA Sports 10 vs. 10 Pro Club Championships where clubs join in one of the 11 regional leagues and compete to win trophies and become the best on the World Leaderboard.
The new gameplay tweaks, fixes and additions have helped create a much more accessible soccer title. The 360 degrees dribbling allows for finer dribbling control, though it’ll take veterans of the franchise to use the controls to their full advantage. It’s not foreseeable that a newcomer will pick up the controller and fully understand the in-depth controls EA has provided for FIFA Soccer 10. The computer AI has been improved and they, more often then not, have learned to trap, avoid passes not intended for them and are far more aggressive on the offense. Though, I still found it relatively easy to perform tackles on players and steal the ball right from underneath them on a majority of the difficulty levels. Also, while EA has reportedly improved the goalkeeper intelligence, I’d have to say that it was too easy to lure them out of their box when on a breakaway and score due to their positioning.
Once again, it must be said: FIFA Soccer 10 should help the franchise turn the corner and earn even more fans here in North America. FIFA Soccer 10 launches October 2 in Europe and October 20 in the US for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.