While the Wii has yet to host a great sports title, last year’s PES was a step in the right direction. The control scheme in that game actually made the Wii Remote more than just a gimmick, as it made use of the controller’s IR camera to help with runs, passing, and possession play. The result was a surprisingly compelling bit of footie. It seems EA SPORTS was not happy about playing second fiddle to Konami’s offering, because FIFA Soccer 10 on Wii is the best of such titles to hit the console. While this year’s FIFA still doesn’t take advantage of the motion controls in a convincing way, the quality arcade-style football, varied game modes, and broad online support make this a game worth playing and sets the bar quite high.
If you are a soccer fanatic, without question you’ll be better served by picking up FIFA Soccer 10 for the Xbox 360 or PS3. Nevertheless, if you’re stuck with just one console, this year’s FIFA on Wii does the game justice. That being said, know that what you’ll get is an arcade-sim hybrid; shots are accentuated by slo-mo camera work and even speed trails. Still, it’s pretty easy to knock the ball about the pitch regardless of control scheme (more on that in a second), and scored goals aren’t too over-the-top yet still seem epic and satisfying.
FIFA Soccer 10 on Wii lets players play with three different control schemes: All Play (just the Wii Remote), Advanced Play (Wii Remote and Nunchuk), and Classic (Classic Controller). All three of these control types are implemented quite well in that they more or less accomplish what they set out to do. For example, playing with just the Wii Remote makes the game ultra-simplistic, allowing practically anyone to get in on a game and enjoy it. Of course, this method is only recommended for youngsters and extremely casual gamers, but it manages to make the game accessible.
The Advanced Play option adds the Nunchuk, which makes the game far more complex. In this mode, you can now execute lofted balls through to space, make your own runs via the analog stick, call a second defender to double team, etc. However, this set up is still very arcadey, as shots are still executed by shaking the Wii Remote. Also, the controls suffer from the Nunchuk’s floating analog stick – controlling games with one hand suspended is never as precise as holding a controller with two hands.
Thankfully, compatibility with the Classic Controller is also available. This really affords competitive players the opportunity to play the game in a more sim-like fashion. On the other hand, the spongy sticks and buttons of the Classic Controller simply cannot compare to the utterly exact controls found on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Regardless, you can still manage to play the game quite competently. Overall, FIFA Soccer 10 does a good job of creating engaging experiences via unique control schemes for any level of gaming skill.
FIFA Soccer 10 for Wii allows players to participate in four game modes. You can jump right in and play, lead a club to victory in Battle for Glory, set up seasons and cup championships via Tournament, or even head online to play against friends and random players. Battle for Glory is the Wii’s analog to Manager Mode on the big systems. While the outstanding level of depth found in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions simply is not available here, you can still enter the transfer market, organize your team, and play for your favorite league’s silverware. Also, before the start of the game, you can choose between a few in-game goals set for your club. If you are able to meet the criteria, you’ll be awarded with bonus points that modify the overall quality of your team. You can think of these extra points as being representative of your team’s current form.
Interestingly, a single heading called Tournament encompasses the rest of the local game modes. Within Tournament you can choose to play through an entire season and take control of the fate of 1-20 different teams, or you can play through league-specific cups. If you tire of playing alone and have no one else around, FIFA Soccer 10 lets you head online. Naturally, you can play against friends who also own the game, but the EA servers will let you hook up with unknown gamers to play competitively, too. If you do have a buddy next to you, you can head online and play in 2 vs. 2 matches. You can even set up online tournaments. Online play this year is very complete.
What’s more, I really enjoyed the incredibly easy-to-use online interface. Setting up your online persona is a snap, and from then on you will have your stats tracked on the leaderboard. Statistics such goals for and against, lifetime results, your personal rank, the average rank of your competition, current win streaks and longest win streaks, as well as connection drops are all featured. The leaderboard is very complete, adding a nice competitive edge to the game. There’s even a leaderboard that tracks the overall skill of various countries – making healthy competition an international affair. Outside of the play options and leaderboards, the online play is technically very proficient. If you are hooked up with players with great connections, you’ll have a virtually lag-free experience. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Wii owners in the world that simply don’t have very good broadband service. Nevertheless, finding games and connecting to players is never an issue.
Naturally, graphics pale in comparison on Wii. However, what’s on offer is quite attractive. Players have a stylized, somewhat cartoonish look about them, but are still well-rendered. The bright green pitch helps the players to pop, and the action is nicely captured by the camera angles. Also, the fast-paced action never seems to dip due framerate issues. Disappointingly, stadium atmosphere is only decent – crowds are pixelated blurs and the stadiums often suffer from lots of jaggies. Sound is somewhat of a mixed bag, as well. While Clive Tilsley and Andy Grey do a great job commentating, the ambient effects aren’t particularly crisp and the occasional sound bites that emanate from the Wii Remote are very garbled.
FIFA Soccer 10 for Wii is not in the same league as the footie experience found on the other consoles, but there is still an enjoyable and surprisingly deep arcade-sim hybrid to be uncovered. I liked how accessible and accommodating the various control schemes made the game for anyone (including core players). Additionally, the deep, well-implemented online offering gives this title some legs. If you are limited to just one console, or you plan on playing with youngsters, FIFA Soccer 10 for Wii is a quality game that does just enough to satisfy the majority of players’ soccer lust.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.5 Graphics
The new, stylized player art is a good choice. However, crowds and stadiums suffer from classic Wii foibles. 3.8 Control
Three different control setups make the game accessible and compelling for any skill level. Of course, none of the options can compare to the precision found on other consoles. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The commentary is topnotch, but the ambient sounds and Wii Remote utterances are poor. 3.8
The varied modes and deep online offering really bolster the title. Also, gameplay is quite fun, just don’t expect to play the game for marathon sessions.
3.7 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.