|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
Soccer is a very complex sport to adapt to a handheld gaming console. There's a hundred different things to map to the controls, and even the consoles rely on complex control schemes to pull it all together. So immediately, the odds are stacked against FIFA 10. And yet, year after year EA gets better at it, and while it's still not perfect, this year EA has fine-tuned the formula even further, and the result is a fantastic soccer game on its own. But it's still not a definitive "must-own" experience. That said, those who bought FIFA 09 for the PSP should think twice about whether or not the new features introduced in FIFA 10 are worth buying a whole new game for.
There isn't really a big new feature into which fans can sink their teeth. This iteration in the series is mostly just fine-tuning to a formula that was already fairly polished. As a result, most of the changes herein are things that many players may never even notice. Some of the changes include better goalkeeper logic, finer dribbling control, more realistic player growth in manager mode, and better animation technology.
If those kinds of things excite you, then by all means run out immediately and buy this game, because you're going to be in heaven. FIFA 10 is certainly the most technically adept soccer game available on the system, but it's possible that the series has reached a plateau on this system.
One of my favorite inclusions is relatively small but a nice thought, nonetheless. Pre-game scouting reports show up during load screens and will give you a quick tutorial on what to expect from the team you're about to play. It will show you the team's star player and where he plays as well as key scoring and defending strategies that the team is likely to use. It's a nice thought that helps more casual football fans to get a finer understanding of the game.
There are certain issues that are inevitable when attempting to build a soccer game for the PSP. Narrow field view is assured due to the small screen, precise control is virtually impossible to map to the analog nub, and ball control options are always going to be limited because of the small number of accessible buttons on the PSP. In addition, EA has not addressed the long load times that plague this series' portable efforts. It can take up to four minutes just to get a single match loaded. And that's just if you want to quick start an exhibition match. It's even longer if you're loading a save file or restarting a season. On a system that's supposed to be designed for fifteen minute play sessions this amount of down time is an eternity, and it's something that EA desperately needs to work on.
Thankfully, these are some of the only issues that FIFA 10 has. Otherwise, the game plays very well. Perhaps most importantly, the AI is really quite fantastic. Enemy defenders play smart zonal defense during early parts of the game but also seem to actually change their style if they're losing or tied late in the game and will start to play more aggressively, pressing and attacking strikers.
Equally as fantastic are the graphics and animations, however, keep in mind these improvements are also iterative - there's no quantum leap here. The graphics are better than the last game, featuring clearer textures and an all-new animation system, but it's nothing to write home about.