The song above pretty much sums up my knowledge of football and my feelings towards it. I’ve never taken it seriously, except maybe for those rare few weeks every four years when I get hooked on the World Cup and fall back in love with the game, only to have my heart-broken again when the World Cup ends and it’s back to boring old league football where the same old stuff is happening all over again… Footballers cheating on their wives, racist chants, thuggish fans and Andy fucking Townsend. I can’t be doing with it….
Football games, however, are my weakness, my addiction. I find myself treating them like an RPG, levelling up my team, buying new players, training them and constantly trying different formations and line-ups until I get the perfect team. The management is just one aspect I like, most of the enjoyment is the actual gameplay and that feeling of winning.
Footy games, by which I mean the FIFA and Pro Evo franchises, have always gradually gotten better with every annual instalment. Better graphics, smoother gameplay, more realistic physics and better online capabilities. Over the last couple of years these improvements have come further than ever before. Where Pro Evo once held on to a 1-0 lead for most of the game, FIFA has managed to equalise AND get ahead within the last two years. FIFA 08 introduced a whole new style of play for a FIFA game. Emulating Pro Evo’s slower paced, more deliberate and tactical playing style. Then it started to add its own flourishes and speed up the gameplay. FIFA 09 was a major improvement, with FIFA 10 tweaking those improvements even further. One thing lacked, however, and that was the online play. I had my experience constantly ruined by people quitting if they were losing, meaning I never got to finish a game as the winner. I think with FIFA 09 and 10 I probably played around 30 games online, only managing to win AND finish one game. ONE GAME! I’m not particularly bad at it, but that’s ridiculous!
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa improves on this one aspect in the Online World Cup mode. If your opponent quits early then you automatically win and get 3 points or advance to the next round, depending on which stage of the competition you are playing at.
This improvement alone was enough to get me interested and pull me away from FIFA 10 to give it a shot, but once I started playing I noticed some very subtle differences to the gameplay that really did make quite a lot of difference. Firstly, the player control is improved and it’s quicker, smoother and more realistic. For example you can break away much quicker after turning a defender and tackling is a lot more organic with the jockey button held down. One other big change is that penalty taking has been completely revamped. You have a lot more control over the striker and the goalkeeper when taking a penalty. They also require a lot more skill than FIFA 10′s penalties with an accuracy meter swingometer-type-thingy.
Overall I’d say it’s a good step in the right direction and a great addition to the FIFA catalogue. If they use this as the groundwork for FIFA 11 then we should be in for possibly the best football game yet!
This game deserves 9 footy socks out of 10.
BALL, BALL, BALL!
FOOTY, FOOTY, FOOTY!
BALL, BALL, BALL!