Particularly when it's a game based on the massive event that is the World Cup. But EA's turned over a new leaf in recent years, taking a new found interest in the quality of the products they release. As such, the FIFA video games have gone from licensed mess, to market leader. So what does FIFA World Cup 2010 bring to the table to propel it past "cash-in" status?
Loading up the recently released demo for FIFA World Cup 2010, it's clear that this is an extension of last year's FIFA 10. The load screens, menus and presentation ooze Fifa 10, albeit with a jazzy African party theme to keep things relevant.
With 199 international teams to select from, nobody could accuse EA of limiting the party. This is a World Cup game everyone can get involved in, be you a lucky Spaniard or a luckless Irishman. It's up to you to change the fortunes of your nation. Who knows, maybe England won't get knocked out in a penalty shoot-out if we're at the helm?
FIFA World Cup 2010 looks great. It's nothing like the step-up you'd see between sequels in other genres, but the grass looks richer and the players more life-like than ever in this iteration. An added bonus is the representation of managers - who'll watch on from the side-lines barking orders.
There's a carnival-esque feel to FIFA World Cup 2010's presentation. The pitch gets littered with streamers as the match goes on, and crowd shots are more frequent. Camera cuts show the crowd kicking every ball as key events happen on pitch. The crowd's emotion add to the sense of occasion, which has long been lacking in sports games since the inception of the card-board cutout.
Gameplay wise, FIFA World Cup 2010's tweaks are a lot more subtle. FIFA 10 is widely regarded as the best football game ever made. It's kind of hard to improve on that, right? But FIFA World Cup 2010 makes some important changes. To start with, the game simply feels smoother. It's hard to exactly pin-point what's changed, but movement feels slicker and speedier. At times, FIFA 10 could be a little cumbersome, but that appears to have been eradicated here. The game plays like silk. Other noticeable improvements include vastly superior crossing and corners. Knocking in a useful corner used to be the bane of FIFA 10. Such plays seem much more useful here in FIFA World Cup 2010.
EA claim to have improved the goalkeeper and CPU AI, but those changes are going to take a longer hands-on to inspect. What's most important about FIFA World Cup 2010 is that the game compliments the feel of its parent event. There's an emphasis on fun and spectacle, rather than the sterile presentation of FIFA 10. Early impressions already show a marked - though subtle - improvement.
We'll have our decisive review soon.