previews\ Sep 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

FIFA Soccer 10 - PS3 - Preview 3

When you have a game that is as solid as the last releases in the FIFA franchise, what remains is to take the base and build – and that is what the EA Sports team did for the upcoming release of FIFA Soccer 10.

The game’s flow has not changed that much, nor has the wonderful commentary work, but instead EA has taken steps to make this game come alive in ways that mirror the sport in its real-life setting.

Attention has been paid to the management side of the ball, providing a deeper experience that is much more true to life.

The disk received for this preview had its share of glitches, but being that it is only a preview disk, those are non-consequential.

Ok, let’s delve into what makes FIFA 10 a different beast from its predecessors. First of all, the manager mode has been revamped to make this game a lot more life-like, and that includes more than 50 improvements to key areas. No longer can you randomly transfer players about; this is not based on club finances, prestige, and player compatibility. Match results will be based on team and player strengths and weaknesses and players develop more realistically, based on age and environment. If you play for a low-level MLS team, you are likely not to improve as fast as if you played on a higher profile European team.

The big new element, which bleeds over from manager mode to gameplay, is the set pieces. Players can now design set pieces, assign them to a d-pad trigger and then select the kicker easily. You can also lay off short passes if the defense has managed to sniff out your design and in the sake of possession you deem it necessary to pass underneath and reset your offensive run. The d-pad can also be used to adjust your team mentality. You may wish to go into a more defensive set with a one or two goal lead late in the game, or if you are down by a goal, you may want your team to push and get more aggressive minded (offensive).

Gameplay improvements include 360-degree dribbling, which impacts skilled dribbling abilities. Your attacker can face up to a defender and using lateral ball-handling skills, leave them wondering where you went and where their jock is? Ball-control skills have been improved and the AI is overall much better. If you are trying to send through a ball to a striker and another player goes in motion and glides through the passing lane, they will no longer lock onto the pass that was not intended for them.

And while on the topic of AI, one of the hardest things to team young players (in real life) is reading the game. If a defender goes on a run, players tend to stand and watch and not adjust to fill defensive gaps vacated by the player. That used to be paralleled in FIFA but no longer. Space is occupied defensively and runs are made away from defensive players and not into the teeth of the defense.  

Graphically, FIFA looks very similar to last year’s game, with solid animations, collision paths and skill moves that are very impressive to both trigger and watch.

Slated for release in mid-October, FIFA Soccer 10 has made significant improvements to the gameplay elements that are certain to resonant well with fans of the series.

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