2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review for Xbox 360

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Review for Xbox 360

Getting off Easy with a Booking

I’m a soccer nut. The World Cup, for me, is the pinnacle of sport on Earth. So naturally, when I found out I was getting a World Cup-specific FIFA to review, I was ecstatic. Heck, I had a great time with EURO 2008 from EA, so 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa had to be even better.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa screenshot

Unfortunately, it fails utterly. This is, plain and simple, a rushed, re-skinned cash-in that does nothing to move the franchise forward and even fails to bring more than a token amount of the magical atmosphere that surrounds the world’s most beloved sporting event. Thankfully, the game does feature the same excellent gameplay found in FIFA 10, but this is no reason to pass on that title in favor the World Cup-themed version. Unless you’ve got a lot of cash to throw around, you’ll be better served saving your money and creating a custom tourney in FIFA 10 that’s reminiscent of the World Cup structure.

When all is said and done, this game should have been a $15 or $20 DLC offering. At the very least, it could have retailed at a deeply discounted price. Alas, this is not the case. You’ll have to shell out full price to get your hands on this title, and I’m telling you, it’s a rip-off. The presentation is poor, many player likenesses are curiously awful, a multitude of bugs are present, the fanfare is essentially non-existent, and the cookie-cutter supporters are a joke. Moreover, the only mode that is fresh is the Story of Qualifying feature, the rest are essentially doppelgangers for modes found in FIFA 10 and other predecessors.

You can now play the fully licensed 2010 FIFA World Cup. But, as I mentioned previously, you might as well just create a custom tourney in your favorite soccer game because there isn’t enough presentation chops here to make this mode truly compelling; flashes to plotting managers, 2010 World Cup venue fly-ins, confetti-covered sidelines, and glimpses of face-painted and jester-capped fans are the only tastes of the World Cup you’ll get. To my utter surprise, there wasn’t even “the hypnotic drone of the South African vuvuzela” described in the manual.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa screenshot

Then there’s Captain Your Country, which is simply the Virtual Pro mode with the mundane twist that you’re controlling your created, imported, or real-life pro in order to earn the right to wear your country’s captain’s armband instead of rising through the ranks at your favorite club. Nothing really new there. (In case you haven’t played Virtual Pro in previous FIFA iterations, you’ll play through games as just one player, concentrating on positional play and making the most of your opportunities. While this is a neat concept, it doesn’t really work in soccer games because it is dull not having full control over all 11 players.)

Then there’s the Online FIFA World Cup feature, which allows you to compete against the world in a World Cup tourney structure. You’ll be asked to affiliate yourself with a specific country and then a specific team. The more games you win, the more points you’ll accrue for your chosen country in the Battle of Nations competition. After the real World Cup finishes, a winning nation will be declared the best FIFA gaming country in the world. While this is a cool feature now, after July 12th, once the champion is crowned, there will be no real reason to come back to it. Plus, we’ve seen this before, too.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa screenshot

The only truly unique mode in 2010 FIFA World Cup is the Story of Qualifying option. This allows you to play in a myriad of real-world scenarios that capture some of the best moments from World Cup Qualification. That means you’ll have to make a comeback in the waning minutes, hold on to a lead after going a man down, etc. Depending on how well you handle the situation presented in the scenario, you’ll be rewarded with points toward your FIFA gamer score for achieving certain predetermined objectives. As you complete these scenarios, you’ll eventually unlock events from the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Further, once the World Cup Finals commence, new events will become available, allowing you to take on the best new moments from the upcoming tournament.

As you can see, there really isn’t much new content to enjoy, let alone worth shelling out 60 clams for. Moreover, far fewer FIFA gamers will actually pick up this edition, so the level of online competition will necessarily be seriously hampered when compared to previous editions of FIFA. Both these complaints would have been acceptable had the presentation been outstanding. Disappointingly, everything has been rushed through development such that I can hardly believe it was EA Canada that developed this title.

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa screenshot

Perhaps most annoying, especially as a fan of US Soccer, is that many teams’ player pools are questionable and the likenesses are god-awful; Landon Donovan looks conspicuously weird (changed for the worse) and respected players like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard aren’t even customized. In my opinion, every player on every national selection that has made the World Cup Finals should be fully detailed. That’s the least they can do for our $60!

These issues aren’t as pronounced for top-tier squads such as Spain, England, and Brazil, but there are still several instances where curious squad selections and generic player likenesses are a problem. If poor attention to detail doesn’t bother you, sloppy coding will. Infrequent but persistent console freezing issues occur, out-of-match loading, saving, and menu transitions are choppy, and a menu glitch where a loading graphic persists in the lower-left corner just scream phoned-in development.

Also, the camera shots of supporters are appalling – the same four fans are shown with slightly different complexions, perhaps a new hairstyle or hat, and some face paint. It’s pathetic! A game about the World Cup needs to embrace the fanfare. I want to see hot Brazilian chicks dancing to a samba beat. How about some pasty Brits chanting a terrace song? Maybe, if it’s not too much to ask, we could get some stand-covering flags and shots of ultras going bonkers after a goal. As it stands, this game is essentially devoid of anything that makes the World Cup great; it has a decidedly vanilla, box-store quality that falls utterly short – perhaps Sep Blatter’s leadership and outlook for FIFA should shoulder some of the responsibility in this regard.

On a final note, other than the African-inspired soundtrack, the in-game sounds are stunningly poor. This is especially true of the commentating duo, which was obviously given just a handful of phrases to read off – there’s more to the game than just getting “stuck-in” on a tackle Clive! Even worse, the pronunciation of names outside of the world’s elite players is quite bad; it’s almost like listening to the crew at Sports Center struggling through a Champions League highlight reel, but with British accents. Not good at all!

It pains me to say it, but this game’s weak. This is essentially the movie tie-in of sports titles; about as interesting and worthwhile as games fashioned after the Olympics or the X-Games. There is no reason why this shouldn’t have been relegated to a premium add-on through the FIFA Store. If EA wanted to charge full price, then they needed to deliver a meaningful, lovingly-crafted experienced. Both the World Cup and loyal fans like myself deserve at least that much.

The in-game action looks fine and the stadiums are pretty, but many player likenesses are awful and the supporters and fanfare surrounding the tournament have been unconscionably neglected. 4.5 Control
It’s very easy to control this game whether you’re a FIFA veteran or newcomer to the franchise. 2.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music selection is admirable, but the generic fan chants and lame commentators stink it up. 3.0 Play Value
Fortunately, the excellent gameplay found in FIFA 10 remains unscathed. However, the cash-in vibe this title exudes from nearly all other facets queers the deal. 2.9 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Win the 2010 FIFA World Cup – Compete as one of 199 teams from qualification right through to a virtual reproduction of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final. Play in any of the 10 official stadiums that come to life with the pageantry and festivity of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup Online – The first-ever full and authentic 2010 FIFA World Cup online tournament. Compete as your favourite country against rivals in the group stage through the knockout rounds to be crowned 2010 FIFA World Cup champion. Navigate the Globe to locate top countries and opponents among all 199 participating nations.
  • Spectacular Presentation: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa comes to life in spectacular fashion with all the emotion and pageantry of the official tournament, including all 10 official licensed stadiums. Experience confetti cannons, streamers, giant banners, seat cards, flags and fireworks as if you were in South Africa.
  • Battle of the Nations – Represent your country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup online tournament against your rivals to win global supremacy. Earn individual and team points and prove your nation is the best. Every performance is rated, recorded and uploaded and your ratings all count towards player and nation leaderboards.
  • Home & Away Tactics- CPU mimics international football by creating strategic, defensive formations for weaker teams playing away from home. Plus, weaker teams raise their level of play on their home pitch.
  • Altitude Effects – Less air resistance at altitude means the ball travels faster and further. Plus, player will noticeably fatigue faster and their stamina challenged while playing in cities at higher elevations versus sea level.
  • Authentic Stadiums – Compete in all 10 official stadiums of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

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