2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (Xbox 360, PS3) Preview
Posted by Ramon Aranda on 03.18.2010
Hands-on: Another World Cup means another WC game from EA, but what does this one do differently? Come inside and find out how things are shaping up!
It's about that time again!
During GDC last week, I had the chance to check out an EA Sports event which showed off some of their upcoming 2010 titles. Among them was 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Being a huge soccer fan and a mark for the World Cup in general, I made sure to stop by and check this one out first. In a nutshell, the game feels very much like FIFA 10 in terms of gameplay mechanics. In fact, the producers were quick to point out that it indeed uses the existing FIFA 10 engine so we should know that going in. Having played every World Cup iteration by EA I know what the game typically brings to the plate – a hopefully reproduction of what the tournament is all about, right down to the presentation to the emotions.
Though I've enjoyed each one, it seems that the game typically fizzles out after a few weeks and particularly after the tournament; so what makes this game so different? What can we expect from this one that we haven't seen before? Well let's find out shall we…
For starters, the game will offer up all 199 teams that attempted to qualify which is a staggering amount of national teams in comparison to previous WC games. So if your particular country didn't even make it to the second stage of qualifying, never fear; you can right the wrong and take them further than they've been before. Presentation-wise, the game, as expected is quite colorful and welcoming, which is what the development is hoping to accomplish. That concert-ish, carnival-ish atmosphere is all there – fireworks, flags, banners, cannons; the whole enchilada. Also the crowd is fully rendered so it seems a bit more believable as they show their support inside of all 10 authentic stadiums from the corresponding South African cities.
Obviously the game has its multiplayer and single player modes which include the ability to Captain your team with an existing player or one you've imported from FIFA 10 Virtual Pro. However, the real meat of the game will be its online tournament. For the first time ever, you can compete in the full tournament online; from the qualifying stages to the tournament itself. Upon hearing that I had some obvious concerns ranging from the amount of time you'll need to put in to go through a tournament to being matched up against other opponents. Seems like EA had that in mind from the get go so here's how it works. For starters, you won't be required to play the full tournament in one sit down. You can hypothetically play one or two qualifying games and come back later – whether it is in a few hours, a few days or a week. The game's server will be smart enough to let you continue where you left off. Also, say you played against Spain in the first round of the group stages. If you stop playing and come back the next day, you'll play game #2 in the group stage against another team. The server will know not to pit you against the same team twice if it doesn't make sense. That might mean however that going into the group stage for instance, you won't know who exactly is in your group until you play them which would be a little strange but at least you won't have to play through the entire group stage all at once. However, the team was a bit vague as to how the interface would work so you might get to see the group. We'll have to wait and see as it was not shown off. Either way, it's great to know you can play on your own schedule. As for your opponents, the server will also match you up against similarly skilled players so you won't show up as Brazil and get obliterated 20-1 by say, Australia (hypothetically speaking).
The online tournament should give the game plenty of legs as it pertains to keeping gamers coming back. In addition, we'll get 55 scenario-based challenges from past qualifiers and Finals games while a new live service will also update the game during the real tournament with scenarios from the 2010 World Cup, allowing you to relieve these moments or try to re-write them – sounds pretty awesome if you ask me.
It was confirmed that we can expect some downloadable content while free roster updates will occur before the World Cup begins, and during the tournament but not afterward.
Sounds like things are coming along quite nicely and while the online server sounds pretty intelligent, we'll have to wait until the game's April 27 release (in North America) to really put it to the test. Things sound very promising so here's hoping they can pull it off.
Europe and Asia will get the game on April 30 and the game will also be available on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Portable (with different features). Meanwhile, you can enjoy the game's first teaser trailer: